Should Cruise Ports Market Ecotourism? A Comparative Analysis of Passenger Spending Expectations within the Panama Canal Watershed

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Abstract

This study examined the expected spending patterns of cruise ship passengers as they debarked ships at ports within the Panama Canal Watershed. Results suggest that targeting marketing efforts toward ecotourism opportunities may increase long-term ecological and economic benefits to port communities and local businesses. Most respondents were interested in ecotourism-related activities in the Panama Canal Zone and nearby coastal areas. Furthermore, the ecotourism-related market segments expected to spend significantly more money in port than conventional tourists. The growing ecotourism market represents an important opportunity for the cruise industry to partner with local ecotourism operators, enhancing profitability while simultaneously supporting sustainable development. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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