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When watching replaces hunting: An analysis of customer participation and satisfaction with cetacean-watching in the Azores

Vieira, José, Santos, Carlos, Silva, Francisco, Lopes, Fernando
Ocean & coastal management 2018 v.160 pp. 86-92
Cetacea, coastal zone management, cultural differences, demography, education, gender, industry, issues and policy, nationalities and ethnic groups, profitability, whales, Azores
Although cetaceans, especially whales, were hunted in the Azores until the end of the third quarter of the twentieth century, this practice was forbidden (mainly for reasons of species conservation). As a sustainable alternative, cetacean-watching today plays a vital role within the touristic sector in the Azores. This study examines the role of visitors' demographic characteristics in participation and in satisfaction with cetacean-watching activities in this archipelago. The results indicate significant differences in participation by nationality, likely due to cultural differences. Furthermore, first-time visitors are more likely to participate than repeaters. Gender, education, and age do not have any effect on participation. However, satisfaction is related to nationality, education, and gender. We also find some evidence that overlooking sample selection issues may lead to distorted conclusions regarding the assessment of the level of satisfaction. The results may be important in assisting management and policy makers to increase specific groups' participation and satisfaction. Both elements will contribute to the profitability of this industry as an alternative to hunting.