Support for Basking Shark Tourism in Donegal, Ireland



Gray, Chelsea

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Basking sharks visit Ireland during the spring and summer season, but are not currently featured heavily in advertising material, much of which often highlights coastal wildlife. Comparatively, basking shark tourism is well established in Scotland. No studies have been done to determine support or opposition to basking shark conservation or interest in basking shark tourism in Ireland. In order to determine this, 173 residents and visitors to Buncrana, Ireland, were surveyed in the summer of 2018. Respondents were asked knowledge questions about basking sharks, were asked to rank their interest in basking shark tourism and their belief that others would pay to view basking sharks, along with support for shark conservation. A Pearson's Chi Square was run on the questions, in order to determine significant correlations between support for conservation, interest in shark tourism, and belief in others' interest in shark tourism. Results indicate that knowledge of basking sharks is low, however, support for basking shark conservation and interest in basking shark tourism is high. Furthermore, individuals who support conservation were significantly more likely to believe that others would pay to view basking sharks. This study indicates that there may be a strong, if untapped, tourism market for basking shark viewing in Donegal.



Basking shark, Tourism, Ireland, Shark tourism, Ecotourism