[Coral-List] Coral reefs importance brainstorm

John Meaker kr4ah at empery.sssgroup.net
Sat Aug 16 21:32:34 EDT 2003

On Sun, 17 Aug 2003, Doug Fenner wrote:

> Good question.  Tell them cold hard money, cash and heaps of it.  I think I 
> read that the Florida Keys bring in 6 billion dollars a year in tourism 
> revenues.  That's billion with a B.

	I'm wondering where you are getting your figures.  Leeworthy and
Wiley[1] only attribute 1.2 billion to the entire tourism industry in the
Keys.  That figure includes everything from visitors who come for the reef
to those who visit for Fantasy Fest.  When you look at their figures, more
money (by far) is spent by tourists in the bars than on the reefs.  I 
suspect that in dive resort destinations that the numbers are the opposite 
and more money is spent on diving than entertainment.  

	Sure, there is a cross pollination and divers do go to the bars
and the party hearty crowd does visit the reef.  However, to say that
*all* of that 1.2 billion can be attributed to a healthy coral ecosystem
is as foolish as saying that it can *all* be attributed to Jimmy Buffett
and his promotion of the Keys lifestyle that *never* really did exist.

>      So why isn't the tourism industry putting some serious money into 
> finding out what's going wrong and fixing it?  Not just a couple dollars 
> here and a couple there.  Its their income that's on the line.   -Doug

	Perhaps because they don't really believe that tourism is
dependent on healthy reefs?  In areas where the people *do* believe that
tourism is dependent on a healthy ecosystem, the locals seem to be much
more involved in trying to preserve the reefs.

	Please don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that we need to do
something to preserve the ecosystem.  But I don't believe that using
figures that are so easily shot down do much to bolster our position.  
Preserving the ecosystem is much more important than the short term
economic gai of "this tourist season" and we need to stress that.  What's
that old cliche?  "The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the


[1]	Leeworthy, Vernon R. and Peter C. Wiley, 2002, "Profiles and
	Economic Contribution: General VIsitors to Monroe County, Florida
	2000 - 2001" published by NOAA, Washington, DC.

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