After introducing the importance of the topic, we examine the economic impacts of wildlife tourism on income and employment as an indicator of the importance of this form of tourism. While such indicators can be important politically and to particular interest groups, they are shown to be an inadequate guide to the economic use and conservation of resources, including wildlife used in tourism. One reason for this (amongst others) is that total economic value must be taken into account in determining economic resource use and this is shown to be quite important in the case of wildlife species. Empirical procedures, such as use of the travel cost method and stated preference methods (for example, contingent valuation) are outlined and the way in which they can be used for determining the optimal economic allocation of land and other resources for wildlife tourism is explained. Economic implications and limitations of some empirical estimates of the importance of wildlife tourism are discussed. This leads on to a consideration of the purpose and usefulness of using economic instruments to manage wildlife tourism.