Wildlife Tourism and the Gulf Coast Economy




Stokes, Shawn
Lowe, Marcy

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Datu Research, LLC


It is widely recognized that tourism plays a vital role in the Gulf Coast economy. Less commonly recognized is that tourism is largely a resource-based industry. It includes a subset we refer to in this study as “wildlife tourism,” which we define as two segments: 1) guide and outfitter businesses that directly serve wildlife watchers, recreational fishers and hunters, and 2) relevant lodging and dining establishments where these customers eat and sleep.

For this study, we interviewed a number of wildlife tourism business owners across the five Gulf states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas). Many guide and outfitting owners expressed that their business depends entirely on the health of the coastal environment. In the lodging industry, many respondents said they benefit substantially from the visitors drawn to the region each year by wildlife guides and outfitters. Several spoke of how important these businesses are to their success, conveying the vital importance of a robust wildlife guide and outfitter industry, and in turn, a healthy coastal environment, to their long-term vitality and growth.



Gulf coast, local economy, tourism, wildlife tourism