Whale watching is the practice of observing whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. Whales are watched most commonly for recreation but the activity can also serve scientific or educational purposes. A 2009 study, prepared for estimated that 13 million people went whale watching globally in 2008. Whale watching generated 2.1 billion per annul in tourism revenue worldwide, employing around 13,000 workers.The size and rapid growth of the industry has led to complex and continuing debates with the whaling industry about the best use of whales as a natural resource.Organized whale watching dates back to 1950 when the Carrillo National Monument in San Diego was declared a public venue for observing Gray Whales and the spectacle attracted 10,000 visitors in its first year. In 1955 the first water-based whale watching commenced in the same area, charging customers 1 per trip to view the whales at closer quarters. The industry spread throughout the western coast of the United States over the following decade.In 1971 the Montreal Zoological Society commenced the first commercial whale watching activity on the eastern side of North America, offering trips in the St. Lawrence River to view Fin and Beluga Whales.In 1984 Erich Host published the first comprehensive book on whale watching, The Whale Watcher's Handbook which Mark Car war dine called his number one "natural classic" book in BBC Wildlife Magazine.By 1985 more visitors watched whales from New England than California. The rapid growth in this area has been attributed to the relatively dense population of Humpback Whales whose acrobatic behavior such as breaching and tail-slapping thrilled observers and the close proximity of whale populations to the large cities there.Whale watching tourism has grown substantially since the mid 1980 The first worldwide survey of whale watching was conducted by Erich Host for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society in 1992. It was updated in 1995 and submitted by the UK government to the International Whaling Commission meetings as a demonstration of the value of living whales. In 1999 the commissioned Erich Host to expand the detail and coverage of the survey and this was published in 2001. In 2009 the survey was completed by a team of economists and this report estimated that in 2008. 13 million people went whale watching up from 9 million ten years earlier. Commercial whale watching operations were found in 119 countries. Direct revenue of whale watching trips was estimated at 72.7 million and indirect revenue of 113.1 million was spent by whale watchers in tourism-related businesses.
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