Report measures value of ecotourism to northern Vancouver Island
Northern Vancouver Island communities derive great economic benefit from the ocean ecosystems surrounding them, in part because of a wealth of recreation opportunities. Living Oceans recently completed a study of ecotourism businesses to find out how much a healthy ocean is worth to the local economy and help determine where Marine Protected Areas should be sited. We found that scuba diving, kayaking, and wildlife viewing in northern Vancouver Island could be worth $21-31 million per year to the local economy. These activities depend upon a healthy ocean and the presence of charismatic species like whales, orcas, sea lions and other charismatic species.
Protecting the values that ecotourism businesses, divers and kayakers depend upon can allow for long-term sustainability of this sector of the regional economy. Currently that is not the case. If we want sustainable growth in the ecotourism sector, we need to better protect the ocean upon which it depends. In other words, protecting coastal ecosystems with Marine Protected Areas makes good economic sense.