The past, present and future benefits of the shark-diving industry in Semporna Malaysia

Research output: Book/ReportOther output

Abstract

Shark-diving tourism can create considerable benefits for local economies. We surveyed dive operators and dive tourists in the Semporna region to estimate the economic value of the shark diving industry and the willingness of dive tourists to pay a daily fee that could be used for shark and ray conservation measures. Additionally, we estimated the change in demand for dive holidays under the scenario that a shark and ray fishing ban was implemented in Sabah, the state in which the Semporna region lies.
We found the annual business revenue from shark diving for the dive tourism industry to be USD 6.4 million and a tax income of USD 3.6 million per year. Shark diving was associated with the generation of 796 jobs that yielded USD 2.8 million per year in salaries for employees.
We explored the potential for the demand for shark diving to change under scenarios of a continuation of current conditions (the status quo) and the creation of a shark and ray sanctuary in Sabah.
Given increases in shark and ray abundance, species diversity and the opportunity for shark diving experiences in the sanctuary scenario, we found there was likely to be a 20% increase in demand compared to the trip demand in the last five years. This increase could generate economic gains of over USD 2.4 million per year for the dive tourism industry and USD 11.1 million for the local tourism industry in the Semporna region.
However, should current conditions of the dive experience in Semporna be maintained (the status quo scenario), this could cause a decline in dive trip demand of 20%,with about a quarter of tourists not wishing to return to Semporna in the next five years. Under this scenario, the business revenue for the local dive tourism industry would decrease to a total of USD 17.19 million per year, whereas revenue for the local tourism industry would decrease to USD 44.24 million. Tax revenues would decrease to USD 9.73 million.
On average, tourists were willing to pay a daily fee of USD 9.5, which could generate a total of USD 2.7 million per year that would be available for the management and enforcement of a shark and ray sanctuary.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAustralian Institute of Marine Science
Commissioning bodyLEAP Spiral
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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