Tourism

Corals attract a lot of tourism from around the world due to their colourful appearance and the diverse array of organisms that live within the reef. It has been found that reefs have a net worth of $3,008 ha-1yr-1and because of this, tourism could be considered the greatest source of income that coral reefs bring in (Costanza et al., 1997).

Figure, 7. Image of mother of pearl pendants sold as souvenirs. Courtesy of dustinpsmith at flickr.

Figure, 7. Image of mother of pearl pendants sold as souvenirs. Courtesy of dustinpsmith at flickr.

The mollusc species, mother-of-pearl shells and the giant clam are harvested to make into jewellery and sell as souvenirs, this can be seen in figure 7. In 1978, over 5,000 tons of mother-of-pearl were collected to trade. In 1988 over 1,500 tons of corals were imported to the US for souvenirs (Wells and Hannah, 1992).

Not only are coral reefs bringing in a lot of money from tourism, they are also creating many job opportunities for people in the area. For example, in the Caribbean, tourism profits reached US$ 8,900,000,000 and provided jobs for over 350,000 people (Dixon et al., 1993). This shows that coral reefs provide an important role to humans and the conservation of these incredible ecosystems should be supported greatly in order to continue benefitting from these miraculous habitats.

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