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Beneath the lens: Exploring the impacts of underwater photographers in marine-based tourism

Ma, Anson T.H., Cheung, Lewis ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1619-0473, Lui, Ching Yee, Chow, Alice S.Y., Zhang, Ke, Lam, Theresa W.L. and Fok, Lincoln (2024) Beneath the lens: Exploring the impacts of underwater photographers in marine-based tourism. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 47. p. 100796.

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As scuba diving proliferates in popularity as a nature-based recreational activity, the associated benefits and impacts are correspondingly emerging. Previous studies showed that underwater photographers are potentially the more impactful group of scuba divers. To further explore the impacts and behaviour of underwater photographers, this study attempted to predict their impacts through three photography-related variables, including species of interest, photography habit, and photography commitment through a case study in Hong Kong. A scuba diver survey was performed in summer 2021 to assess the impacts of divers, a follow-up questionnaire survey was delivered, and a total of 106 samples were collected. Findings showed that underwater photographers caused more negative impacts than ordinary scuba divers. Among underwater photographers, individuals more interested in conspicuous and actively moving species have more frequent contact with marine organisms. In contrast, those more interested in cryptic and sedentary species were more likely to cause intentional contact. Underwater photographers with greater commitment also showed more frequent and more intentional connections. Implications were drawn regarding underwater photographers' behaviors, and relevant suggestions were recommended to address the potential concerns.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jort.2024.100796
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/10285

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