Akaroa and the Hector's Dolphin
Akaroa is located 90 minutes drive from Christchurch, and is situated at French Bay on the shores of Akaroa Harbour. Akaroa’s physical setting is largely the result of the volcanic origins of Banks Peninsula and the subsequent erosion processes that have acted on the landscape.
One of the main tourist attractions in Akaroa is the viewing of, and swimming with the Hector’s Dolphin. This attraction is the result of interactions between natural, cultural and economic elements of the tourism process.
- The natural elements include the volcanic origins of Banks Peninsula and the subsequent erosion processes that formed the semi-eroded crater that is today Akaroa Harbour.
- The cultural elements include the stereotypical family beach that is a significant New Zealand European cultural element. Another cultural element is the popularity of ecotourism experiences, especially with European tourists.
- Economic elements interacted with the natural and cultural elements during the government - led restructuring of the public sector in the in the mid - 1980s, which led to significant unemployment among the Akaroa population, especially within primary industry (fishing and farming). Tourism has since filled the gap left by restructuring to become a significant generator of employment in Akaroa. This interaction with the natural and wildlife is an example of ecotourism development.
Shone, M.C., Simmons, D.G. and Fairweather, J.R. (2003). Community Perceptions of Tourism in Christchurch and Akaroa. Tourism Recreation Research and Education Centre (TRREC), Lincoln University, Report No. 34.
- Research the definition of Ecotourism.
- Find five examples of ecotourism from other parts of New Zealand. How so they meet your criteria of ecotourism?
- What are the advantages of ecotourism and what problems does this type of tourism pose?
- What are the main geographic ideas applying to ecotourism? Give reasons for your answer.