WIT Press

Whale watcher characteristics, expectation-satisfaction, and opinions about whale watching for private vs community-based companies in Bahía de Banderas, Mexico


Free (open access)


Volume 13 (2018), Issue 5



Page Range

790 - 804

Paper DOI



WIT Press


J.L. Cornejo-Ortega, R.M. Chavez-Dagostino & C.D. Malcolm


Whale watching has become a globally important ecotourism activity due to its economic and conservation potential. The predictable presence of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and consequent popularity of whale watching in Bahía de Banderas, near Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico, throughout the winter months has resulted in a successful private and community-based whale-watching industry in. While private whale watching companies are operated as commercial, larger scale businesses, community-based whale watching operates with less financial resources and experience in tourism affairs. How do these two different approaches meet the needs of tourists and contribute to conservation? This paper compares whale watching tourists’ satisfaction between private and community-based platforms. During 2013–2014, a questionnaire survey was administered to whale watching tourists aboard private (n=246) and community-based vessels (n=101) using the intercept method. Whale watchers from both types of companies reported high satisfaction in environmental education. There appeared to be a different demand for the two types of companies, as a greater pro- portion of Mexican nationals and those who had been whale watching previously chose to go whale watching on community-based vessels.


Ecotourism, private and community-based companies, satisfaction