“To swim fishlike, horizontally, was the logical method in a medium eight hundred times denser than air. To halt and hang attached to nothing, no lines or air pipe to the surface was a dream. At night I had often had visions of flying by extending my arms as wings. Now I flew without wings.” – Jacques Cousteau, 1953,”    Dr. Cater’s favorite quote

Carl Cater, marine tourism, eco-tourism, sustainable travel, sustainable dive business, ocean issues, over-fishingDr. Carl Cater is an authority on marine tourism. He has been following the trend away from the sun-sand-sea holiday experience toward one of experiencing the ocean. This experiential travel trend is translating into substantial growth for the areas of eco-tourism and adventure tourism. Carl Cater is an academic researcher studying sustainable travel and marine tourism as well as an avid dive and adventure travel consumer. He is co-author of Marine Tourism: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea which is based on a simple but important concept called stakeholder theory, and it is proving to be fundamental to sustainable dive business success.


“Stakeholder theory is about creating win-win partnerships”


Carl says “Stakeholder theory is about creating win-win partnerships that occur when a broader perspective is taken into consideration. Marine tourism stakeholders are those who have an interest in tourism and the resources tourism relies upon. Academics, governments, businesses, associations, and consumers are all stakeholders—as are the natural resources they rely upon. Stakeholder theory asks us to consider the perspectives of the other partners using these resources, and be aware of these other perspectives.”

“Stakeholder theory is fundamental to sustainability. You need to recognize who has an impact on your business and they may be outside your business. A lot of business people bump up against blocks to accomplishing their objectives because they have a narrow view of their business model and how their business operates. Very often these invisible blocks are actually a stakeholder that they have not taken into consideration in their business plan.”


“A dive operator, a local community, a fishing operation, they are all connected and impact each other.”


“When you consider this in the marine context, the concept of stakeholder theory becomes even more important because the ocean connects everything. A small dive operator, a local community, a fishing operation, they are all connected and impact each other. You don’t find this kind of interconnection quite so much on the terrestrial side. But the marine side, we all are affected and impact the environment in a very connected way. If we are trying to run a business using the ocean then we absolutely must recognize those other connections, and how we each connect to the ocean.”

Carl Cater is a Senior Lecturer in tourism at Aberystwyth University, Wales and his research centers on the experiential turn in tourism and the subsequent growth of special interest sectors, particularly adventure tourism and ecotourism. His research is of enormous help in understanding today’s important ocean issues like ocean pollution or over fishing and how making sustainable choices as a sustainable diver or sustainable traveler or owner of a sustainable business is critical.

He has undertaken field research, supervision and teaching worldwide, including Australia, China, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Tibet and Vanuatu. He has worked on projects for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, New South Wales Department of Education, the World Tourism and Travel Council, Gold Coast City Council, the Gold Coast Adventure Travel Group, Tourism Queensland and the Tourism Society.

Dr. Cater is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a qualified pilot, diver, lifesaver, mountain and tropical forest leader, and maintains an interest in both the practice and pursuit of sustainable outdoor tourism activity. He has written over twenty papers and book chapters, is co-author of Marine Ecotourism: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (CABI, 2007) and the Encyclopaedia of Sustainable Tourism (CABI, 2014), and is an editorial board member of Tourism Geographies, Journal of Ecotourism and Tourism in Marine Environments.

To learn more about Stakeholder Theory and its relationship to sustainable marine tourism hear all of Carl Cater’s interview at Blue Ocean Summit 2014: Dr. Carl Cater.


Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea


To read a book review on Carl Cater’s book Marine Tourism: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and to support the Blue Ocean community visit the Store and read reviews on all of our marine books and films.

Dr. Wallace Nichols is a scientist and ocean activist who has focused on how the public perceives and has responded to the ocean conservation message. He is not sure that the message has been getting across or eliciting the desired responses. Read his article “This is your mind on water: How Neuro-Science Research is showing that We’ve Been Wrong in the way we have been Spreading the Ocean Conservation Message” at: Ocean Profiles: Wallace Nichols.