New study estimates manta ray tourism at $140 million

Manta ray tourism on Wetpixel

A study published in the Public Library of Science (PLOS) ONE journal has quantified the revenue that is accrued from tourism related activities associated with manta rays. In the 23 countries in which manta ray watching operations met the study’s criteria, direct revenue to dive operators from manta ray dives and snorkels is estimated at over US$73 million annually and direct economic impact, including associated tourism expenditures, at US$140 million annually.

The paper reached these figures using diver operator surveys, internet research and a review of available literature. The annual catch of mantas for the Chinese medicine trade is estimated to have no more than $5 million worth of value.