[MARMAM] New Publication: Whales for Sale: A Content Analysis of American Whale-Watching Operators’ Websites

Reamer, Marcus mreamer at earth.miami.edu
Fri Nov 3 09:21:42 PDT 2023

Dear MarMam community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our latest article, available open access in the latest issue of Tourism in Marine Environments<https://www.ingentaconnect.com/contentone/cog/tme/2023/00000018/f0020003/art00005>.

Article Title: Whales for Sale: A Content Analysis of American Whale-Watching Operators’ Websites

Abstract: Digital media, particularly websites, have become a critical component of wildlife tourism experiences, especially during the pretour information-seeking stage. With a focus on whale watching, this study used a grounded theory approach to identify, categorize, and investigate the common themes, text, and images used on 178 whale-watching operator websites across six geographic regions in the US. The results of a content analysis suggest that operators who are predominantly small business owners focus their marketing strategies on elements of their tour offerings and operator characteristics to distinguish themselves from competitors rather than emphasizing the whales themselves, conservation actions, or educational opportunities, catering to a segment of entertainment-oriented rather than sustainability-oriented guests. Ecolabel-certified operators in the sample mentioned conservation and educational topics more, though the information provided could still use improvement. We discuss implications and opportunities for the continued study of media related to whale watching and other marine wildlife tourism activities.

Happy reading!

Marcus B. Reamer, MPS, MPA (he/him/his)
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science
ORCiD<https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4140-0989> | LinkedIn<http://linkedin.com/in/mreamer>
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