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Does Absence of Charismatic Species Impact the Ecotourism Potential of Central Mediterranean Islands?  156

                           Table 1: Distribution of stakeholders with whom interviews were held in the area of study.

           Eco-         Count/                                      Stakeholders
           destination  Percentage
                                     Affected     Resource     Academics    Government,    NGOs      Total
                                     locals      users                     agencies,                interviews
           Aegadian     Count            10           19           2           3            4           38
           Islands      Percentage     26.30%        50%         5.30%       7.90%        10.50%       100%
           Pelagian     Count            2            12           3           1            5           23
           Islands      Percentage     8.70%        52.20%       13%         4.30%        21.70%       100%
                        Count            3            12           5           8            3           31
                        Percentage     9.70%        38.70%      16.10%       25.80%       9.70%        100%
           Maltese      Count            4            22           9           28           16          79
           Islands      Percentage     5.06%        27.80%      11.39%       35.44%       20.30%       100%
                        Count            0            1            0           1            1            3
                        Percentage      0%          33.30%        0%         33.30%       33.30%       100%
                        Count            19           66          19           41           29          174
                        Percentage     10.90%       37.90%      10.90%       23.60%       16.70%       100%

           caretta) and birds on Lampedusa and deer and mou-  revisit the ecodestination. The high rate of satisfaction
           flons on Marettimo did leave a positive impact on the  can also be confirmed by the fact that out of the 66 eco-
           satisfaction of ecotourists.                       tourists who participated in the ecotour, 28 ecotourists
             On the other hand, disappointment expressed by eco-  participated in more than one ecotour and others revis-
           tourists did not refer to lack of wildlife sightings but to  ited the ecodestinations on their own convincing other
           other factors. The predominant reasons expressed by  friends to join them.
           those who felt that that the ecotour did not fulfil their  Even if absence of wildlife sightings were not con-
           expectations was related to the desire to immerse more  sidered as a limiting factor by ecotourists, charismatic
           in nature especially in Malta where the island has be-  species such as bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
           come very urbanised, long waiting times due for trans-  and turtles are used as target species to promote excur-
           port services and the constant need to use transport ser-  sions especially on the Pelagian Islands. Specific excur-
           vices especially on relatively bigger islands such as Pan-  sions which include diving are organised around the islet
           telleria and Malta. This was followed by the desire for  of Lampione to observe juvenile grey sharks (Carchar-
           more marine ecotourism activities such as snorkelling,  hinus griseus). Such excursions are often a success and
           which at times were impeded by the presence of jelly-  ecotourists do encounter marine megafauna due to the
           fish. It was argued that too much emphasis was made on  abundance of marine life. Specific excursions to islets
           botanical aspects and that more attention needs to be  such as Filfla are also organised to observe avifauna
           placed on the marine environment and related activit-  which are rare or have a limited distribution such as
           ies. Other reasons included that aspects of the tour such  the Mediterranean storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus)
           as accommodation did not reflect ecotourism principles  along with other marine targets such as dolphins. Shear-
           and that some islands such as Malta were too geared for  water boat trips are also organised along cliffs to observe
           mass tourism.                                      Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) ‘rafting’ on
             The majority of those who participated in the eco-  the water before returning to their nests.
           tours organised as part of the research had already par-  Excursions organised normally incorporate not only
           ticipated in other ecotours either as part of the research  target species but also visiting related venues or related
           or on their own initiative. The majority said that their  interpretation centres. For example in the case of Maret-
           expectations, as identified prior to the ecotour, had been  timo where the endangered monk seal (Monachus mon-
           fulfilled. Following the ecotour, the absolute majority of  achus) has been spotted after a long period of time a
           respondents said that they were willing to visit another  particular approach is adopted whereby the monk seal
           ecodestination for a holiday including a central Mediter-  observation centre and spots usually frequented by such
           ranean island. Furthermore, ecotourists said that they  species including coastal caves are visited. Meanwhile,
           would recommend the ecodestination they had visited  sightings are very rare and have been limited to scientific
           to their friends for their next holiday. Ecotourists also  studies. In the case of the Pelagian Islands, visits are
           expressed willingness to participate in future ecotours or  made to the rescue centres, nesting sites and trips are

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