Shark-diving tourism provides important economic benefits to the Maldives. We examine the link between shark conservation actions and economic returns from diving tourism. A combined travel cost and contingent behaviour approach is used to estimate the dive trip demand under different management scenarios. Our results show that increasing shark populations could increase dive-trip demand by 15%, raising dive tourists’ welfare by US$58 million annually. This could result in annual economic benefits for the dive-tourism industry of >US$6 million. Conversely, in scenarios where shark populations decline, where dive tourists observe illegal fishing, or if dive operators lack engagement in shark conservation, dive trip demand could decrease by up to 56%. This decline causes economic losses of more than US$24 million annually to the dive tourism industry. These results highlight the dependence of the shark-diving industry on the creation and enforcement of appropriate management regimes for shark conservation.