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Abstract

There is little doubt that marine turtles are a flagship species for wildlife tourism. In some cases, this has turned out to be liability for sea turtle conservation, but in other cases, where for example turtle-based ecotourism has been developed, it has made a positive contribution to turtle conservation. Examples of both cases are given. Particular attention is given to the development of turtle-based ecotourism at Mon Repos Beach near Bundaberg, Australia. This development is set in its historical context and its contribution to conservation is discussed. Headstart projects for sea turtles in Sri Lanka are a tourist attraction. While they are promoted as having positive conservation consequences and a survey indicates that visitors are on the whole convinced of this, their effects on turtle conservation is uncertain. The farming of sea turtles provides a basis for tourism and can contribute to turtle conservation in ways outlined. It is argued that insufficient attention has been given to legends, culture and history associated with sea turtles in the promotion of turtle-based tourism. This is supported by Australian evidence. Insufficient use has been made of the connections of indigenous Australians with sea turtles in turtle-based tourism. Beneficial scope exist for developing connections between man and turtles further than at present in promoting turtle-based tourism. This could add further to the role of turtle-based tourism in promoting turtle conservation.

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