THE SUSTAINABILITY OF SURFING TOURISM AT REMOTE DESTINATIONS
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Surfing is an increasing component of the adventure tourism sector. Growth in surfing as a lifestyle, sporting activity and industry has generated a surge of exploration and intrusion by surfing tourism into remote and vulnerable destinations worldwide in the "search" for uncrowded waves at uncharted locations. Consequendy, there have been concerns at the impacts of surfing tourism on coastal, island and marine areas, often characterised by fragile environments and host communities, compounded the lack of management in isolated regions, and of the surfing tourism industry. The aim of this study was to examine surfing tourism in remote and sensitive destinations and evaluate its consequences and sustainability in relation to socio-cultural, economic and environmental parameters, and thereby, derive planning and management requirements for remote surfing destinations and the surfing tourism industry. A hybrid, multidisciplinary approach was employed based on twelve exploratory interviews, and empirical case study of three distinct remote surfing destinations: (a) Gnaraloo (Australia) - representative of unmanaged surfing tourism in a relatively pristine area; (b) Lagundi (Indonesia) which experienced rapid uncontrolled development resulting in significant environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts; and (c) Tavarua Island (Fiji) - generally regarded as a leading example of sustainable surfing tourism. Difficulties in managing surfing tourism in remote areas include the mobility of surf tourists and the isolated and vast distribution of destinations. Impacts can be reduced with appropriate management but an educational approach and a level of self-management by surf tourists and surf tour operators is required. With planning and management, community involvement in decision-making and the use of recreational cairying capacity as a management control for tourist numbers, surfing tourism can provide economic and soaal opportumties -without compromising sustainabihty objectives.
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