Towards responsible tourism for cetaceans

Key Goals

  1. WHS applicants and candidate sites showcased
  2. WHS criteria and process improved
  3. Tentative list of WHS identified for Africa
  4. Help and advice for prospective sites


Wednesday 28 June

Welcome to the 2nd Whale Heritage Sites Summit!

Keynote speaker: Whales and whale heritage in South Africa. TBA


SYMPOSIUM 1: Sites, experiences, and progress

Chair: Natalie Barefoot, CetLaw, USA

Symposium 1 Morning Session


  • Presentation session: initial applicants and candidate sites reveal what makes them special
  • Case Study from a leading Whale Heritage Site applicant:

1) Why they applied?

2) How they have benefitted

3) What does the future hold?

4) How we quantify their success

5) How it will affect their visitor economy

6) Tangible benefits for cetaceans



Symposium 1 Afternoon Session

WHS in Africa

  • Summary of tentative sites
  • Short talks revealing cultural heritage, events, research, conservation, and responsible whale watching initiatives in Africa
  • Workshop
    • Is the WHS criteria appropriate in an African context?
    • Consider areas for improvement


Summit plenary

  • Summary and feedback


Thursday 29 June

Keynote speaker: TBA


SYMPOSIUM 2: Moving forward and providing advice

Chair: TBA

Morning Session



Workshop activities will focus on information gathered through a feedback process with candidate sites, accredited sites, initial applicants, and the WHS management committees. Should places that only meet some of the criteria for Whale Heritage Sites still be able to apply for an appropriate designation (for example, as responsible whale watching sites)? Should WHS be broken down into sites of regional, as well as global significance? How might Whale Heritage Trails fit into the Whale Heritage Sites programme? This session will take a look at the opportunities to expand the WHS programme to include communities linked to cetaceans across the world, and discuss how we might use the initiative to further protect cetaceans and associated communities that rely on the sea.


  • Criteria review
  • Focus on indigenous communities
  • Flexibility of the candidacy process
  • Marine (natural) vs terrestrial (cultural) sites


Afternoon session


  • Help and advice
  • Best practice and cross-pollination
  • Audit process and training update
  • Announcement on the host of the 2019 WWC and WHSS
  • Close




Further speakers will be announced shortly


Natalie Barefoot, Cetacean Law, USA

Sophie Bachet Granados, Blue Flag eco-label, Denmark

Luena Fernandes, Humpback Whale Institute, Brazil

Jo Hendrickx, Global Spirit, UK

Hayley Lynagh, Global Spirit, UK

Roy Mulder, Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society, Canada

Ian Rowlands, Incredible Oceans and WhaleFest, UK (TBC)

Alexander Sanchez, Cetacean Rescue Technician, Spain (TBC)

David Schofield, National Oceanic and Atmospheric  Administration, USA

Jared Towers, North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association, Canada