Duan, P.; Cao, Y.; Wang, Y., and Yin, P., 2022. Bibliometric analysis of coastal and marine tourism research from 1990 to 2020. Journal of Coastal Research, 38(1), 229–240. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Coastal and marine tourism (CMT) has become a growing and important subsector of the tourism industry in recent years. To identify the state of and trends in the field, a bibliometric analysis of CMT was conducted to evaluate global productivity over the past 31 years (1990–2020). All relevant publications in the analysis were extracted from the Web of Science Core Collection database. As a result, the review found that the identified 6190 documents showed an upward trend during this time period. The most productive and influential countries, institutions, and authors were also identified in this analysis, and the distribution of subject categories and journals was analyzed. VOSviewer was used to analyze the coauthorships among countries, institutions, and authors. Based on an analysis of the high-frequency keyword co-occurrence network, four major CMT research topics were identified: (1) the sustainable development of CMT, (2) the impact of CMT on destinations, (3) CMT management and conservation, and (4) the impact of climate change on CMT. This analysis can help reveal and determine the research focus and trends in the CMT field.
Tourism is an important sector for all countries, especially in many coastal and marine regions. As one of the largest economic segments of the marine sector, coastal and marine tourism (CMT) is a growing and increasingly important component of the wider tourism industry (Orams and Lück, 2014). According to a report about world tourism economy trends released by the World Tourism Cities Federation (2020), the top 20 countries, as ranked by total tourism revenue, include 18 coastal countries. These countries account for nearly 70% of all tourism revenues worldwide. The clear trends in CMT are growth in a wide range of activities and an increase in the geographical spread and popularity of this segment of tourism.
There are numerous definitions of CMT. Orams (1999) was the first to define marine tourism as “recreational activities that involve travel away from ones place of residence and which have as their host or focus the marine environment (where the marine environment is defined as those waters which are saline and tide affected).” Nulty et al. (2007) define marine tourism as “the sector of the tourism industry that is based on tourists and visitors taking part in active and passive leisure and holidays pursuits or journeys on (or in) coastal waters, their shorelines and their immediate hinterlands.” As argued by Hall (2001), coastal tourism is closely linked to marine tourism, embracing the full range of leisure and recreationally oriented activities that occur in the coastal zone and offshore coastal waters. Such activities involve coastal development (e.g., accommodations, restaurants, the food industry, and second homes) and infrastructure (e.g., retail businesses, marinas, and activity suppliers). ECORYS (2013) notes that, “coastal tourism refers to land-based tourism activities including swimming, surfing, sunbathing and other coastal recreation activities taking place on the coast for which the proximity to the sea is a condition including also their respective services. Marine tourism comprises sea-based activities such as boating, yachting, cruising nautical sports as well as their land-based services and infrastructures.” The International Coastal and Marine Tourism Society states, “CMT includes those recreational activities which involve travel away from one's place of residence which have as their host or focus the marine environment and/or the coastal zone” (Dimitrovski et al., 2021).
In recent years, the European Commission implemented several strategies in the area of CMT (European Commission, 2014), and South Africa's CMT strategy development is in full swing. The rapid growth of CMT has drawn great interest from researchers. Miller (1993) expounded upon and provided evidence of the rise of CMT. Thiele, Pollnac, and Christie (2005) investigated the relationship between coastal tourism and integrated coastal management sustainability in the central Visayas region of the Philippines. Gu and Wong (2008) assessed the evolution of marine activities, including coastal tourism. Chen, Ku, and Ying (2012) applied process management and an object-oriented tool to analyze the processes of marine tourism. Biggs et al. (2015) examined how socioeconomic and governance contexts influence the resilience of coral reef tourism enterprises in three settings. Papageorgiou (2016) highlighted the significant role of marine spatial planning in organizing and planning CMT activities. Liu and Cao (2018) proposed a new analytical model to analyze the effect of marine tourism on the economy in coastal areas. Moreno and Amelung (2009) reviewed the importance of coastal and marine environments for recreation and studied the relationship between climate change and CMT.
As no studies attempted to quantitatively evaluate the CMT literature, a systematic review could help researchers, scholars, administrators, and practitioners in the CMT industry effectively understand the status of the development of and trends in such a vital field. The bibliometric approach is frequently used in quantitative analyses of the academic literature (Chen et al., 2016). In recent years, this method has been applied to analyze tourism literature, covering topics such as ecotourism, sports tourism, pro-poor tourism, smart tourism, sustainable tourism, and tourism geographies (Jiménez-García et al., 2020; Johnson and Samakovlis, 2019; Merigó et al., 2019; Ruhanen et al., 2015; Serrano, Sianes, and Ariza-Montes, 2019; Shasha et al., 2020; Yu, Wang, and Marcouiller, 2019). Notably, research outputs in the CMT field have rapidly increased over the last few years. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a review via a bibliometric analysis.
This study uses data obtained from the Web of Science to provide an overview of CMT research and to reveal its development from 1990 to 2020. A series of analyses are conducted to identify the characteristics of various document types, the temporal distribution of publications, the most productive countries and organizations, the most influential journals and authors, frequently appearing keywords, hot topics, and research trends.
This section describes the method of the bibliometric analysis, the VOSviewer software tool, and the data collection method.
Introduced by Pritchard (1969), bibliometric analysis is a mathematical and statistical approach used to study scientific production and identify current research topics in a specific area (Duan, Wang, and Yin, 2020; Md Khudzari et al., 2018; Zou, Yue, and Vu, 2018). In this review, the bibliometric analysis focuses mainly on literature output. Through a statistical analysis of the literature, namely, title, year, country, institution, author, and keywords, the research progress in this field can be summarized from a macro perspective. This analysis helps reveal the hot discussion topics, identify research gaps, and prompt further development in this field. Such an analysis also helps scholars and researchers learn about peer research and identify potential collaborators to broaden the scope of investigations.
The frequency analyses of the countries, institutions, journals, and authors of the selected literature were conducted with BibExcel, which can directly read data downloaded from the Web of Science (Zheng et al., 2015). BibExcel was invented by Persson and is an open-source software used for bibliometric analyses that can manage and analyze data flexibly (Tian et al., 2018). The main functions of BibExcel include frequency analysis, citation analysis, bibliography coupling, and cluster analysis. The final data generated by BibExcel can be exported to Microsoft Excel.
In this study, VOSviewer software was used to construct a series of coauthorship and co-occurrence networks. VOSviewer, which was developed by Van Eck and Waltman (2010), is a free-to-use software used to generate and visualize bibliometric networks. For instance, these networks may consist of journals, researchers, or individual publications and can be constructed based on cocitations, bibliographic coupling, or coauthorship relations. VOSviewer can also be used for text mining, which assists in the construction and visualization of co-occurrence networks of important terms extracted from a body of scientific literature.
In 1990, the inaugural Congress on CMT was held in Honolulu, Hawaii (Orams, 1997). Subsequently, scholars have begun to focus specifically on this rapidly growing sector of the tourism industry. Therefore, the timespan considered in this study is from 1990 to 2020. The Web of Science Core Collection, a multidisciplinary database compiled by Thomson Reuters and the leading source of data used in bibliometric analyses, was used for this analysis (Birch and Reyes, 2018; Lis, Sudolska, and Tomanek, 2020). The title, authors, institutions, abstract, keywords, country, and journal of each document were extracted from this database. A search was conducted on 16 March 2021 using the following constructs: “coastal tourism” or “marine tourism” or “ocean tourism” or “island tourism.” Overall, 6190 records met the inclusion criteria.
This section presents the document types and temporal distribution of the publications, the most productive and influential countries/institutions/authors, the subject categories and main source journals, the coauthorship network of productive countries/institutions/authors, and the co-occurrence network analysis of keywords.
Document Types and Temporal Distribution of the Publications
All documents concerning CMT were categorized into eight types: articles, proceedings papers, reviews, editorial materials, book reviews, book chapters, corrections, and news items. Of these documents, 4088 were articles, accounting for 77.42% of all publications, followed by proceedings papers (16.41%) and reviews (3.86%). The other five categories represented less than 3% of the publications.
The distribution of annual publications can reflect the development speed and progress of research and is a key indicator used to evaluate the concentration and exciting periods of research in relevant fields. Figure 1 shows the distribution of all publications concerning CMT from 1990 to 2020. Overall, there was exponential growth in the number of publications concerning CMT during this period. Based on the number of published articles, CMT research can be divided into three stages. The first stage is from 1990 to 2000, when there were fewer than 50 annual publications. The second stage is from 2001 to 2008, when annual publications fluctuated near 100 papers. The third stage is from 2009 to 2020, when the number of documents started to significantly increase.
Furthermore, this review analyzed the publication of concepts related to this study (coastal tourism, marine tourism, ocean tourism, and island tourism). Based on this analysis, the importance of and scholars' attention to each concept can be identified. The growth of publications concerning coastal tourism, marine tourism, ocean tourism, and island tourism is similar to that of CMT publications. In terms of quantity, the number of papers related to coastal tourism and island tourism is more than that related to marine tourism and ocean tourism. The growth of the ocean tourism literature is relatively slow.
Hot Topics in CMT Research
The study period was divided into six stages, and the top 10 cited articles in each stage were studied to analyze the research topics. As shown in Figure 2, the research topics mainly focus on the following aspects: ecotourism, marine-protected area, marine flora and fauna, climate change, scuba diving, leisure tourism, environmental impact, watching tourism, loyalty, residents' identity, ecosystem services, and satisfaction. Marine flora and fauna have historically been an issue of concern among scholars in the study of CMT. In addition, the impact of CMT on the environment has been a constant topic from the third stage (2000–04) to the sixth stage (2015–20). Articles concerning marine-protected areas occupied an important position in 1990–94, 1995–99, 2000–04, and 2010–14. Topics related to climate change were highlighted in 1990–94, 1995–99, and 2005–09. There was only one article each on leisure tourism, watching tourism, scuba diving, loyalty, residents' identity, and satisfaction.
Productive Countries, Organizations, and Authors
In total, 162 countries contributed to CMT research. Figure 3 shows the geographical distribution of the top 20 most productive countries. The United States led all countries with 1011 papers, accounting for 16.33% of all publications. Spain published 733 papers (11.84%), and Australia published 700 (11.31%), ranking second and third, respectively. The United Kingdom (10.68%), China (8.63%), Italy (5.98%), and Canada (4.59%) were also among the most productive countries. The United States also had the largest number of citations, more than 23,565, ranking first in this measure.
Research papers on CMT studies were derived from 5421 institutions. The top 20 research institutions with the largest number of documents are listed in Table 1. The most productive institution was James Cook University in Australia, which led the others with 93 publications. The University of Queensland ranked second with 79 publications, and Griffith University ranked third with 72 publications. However, the University of Queensland ranked first in the number of citations, followed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, and James Cook University. Notably, universities and institutions in Australia and Spain were the main contributors to CMT studies.
Overall, 16,990 authors contributed to the 6190 retrieved publications. Among these authors, 14,245 authors (83.8%) published one document, and 2277 authors published two or three publications. In total, 468 authors published at least four publications. Table 2 displays a list of the top 20 most productive and significant authors contributing to the CMT field. The most prolific authors were “Williams, A.T.” and “Anfuso, G.,” both with 30 publications, followed by “Pranzini, E.” with 20 publications, “Dearden, P.” with 18 publications, and others. “Williams, A.T.” also led the list of total citations with 912. “Gossling, S.” and “Dearden, P.” ranked second and third with 851 and 779 total citations, respectively. Regarding the average number of citations in publications, “Gossling, S.” occupied the first position, followed by “Dearden, P.” and “Scott, D.” The authors were affiliated with ten countries as follows: Australia (five authors), Spain (four authors), Colombia (two authors), Canada (two authors), the United Kingdom (one author), the United States (one author), Italy (one author), South Africa (one author), Germany (one author), Norway (one author), and South Korea (one author).
Subject Categories and Main Source Journals
Each record obtained from the Web of Science includes the subject category of the source publication, which represents a particular research area (Yang et al., 2019). Based on the classification used by the Web of Science database, the CMT papers covered a total of 173 subject categories, of which 87 categories contained fewer than 10 documents. As shown in Figure 4, the number of articles in the top 10 subject categories displayed a trend of rising significance. “Environmental Sciences” was the most common subject category in the CMT field with 2083 publications, followed by “Environmental Studies” with 919 publications and “Hospitality Leisure Sport Tourism” with 903 publications. In addition, “Water Resources,” “Ecology,” “Marine Freshwater Biology,” “Oceanography,” “Geosciences Multidisciplinary,” “Green Sustainable Science Technology,” and “Biodiversity Conservation” were relevant subject categories.
All documents concerning CMT were published in 1727 different journals; however, approximately 94% of these journals published fewer than 10 articles. Table 3 shows the top 10 journals in terms of the number of publications. The Journal of Coastal Research ranked first by a large margin, i.e. 324 articles or 5.23% of all publications. Ocean and Coastal Management ranked second with 305 articles, accounting for 4.93%, whereas Sustainability ranked third with 170 articles, accounting for 2.75%. Ranking fourth and fifth, Marine Policy and Journal of Sustainable Tourism accounted for 2.34% and 2.26%, respectively. Eight journals were published in the United Kingdom. The remaining two journals were published in the United States and Switzerland. Ocean and Coastal Management had the highest h-index (40), and Tourism Management ranked second, with an h-index of 36. Based on the top 10 journals, the number of articles published by most journals has gradually increased since 2009. Figure 5 presents the distribution of documents by journal over time. The results indicate that the journals Journal of Coastal Research and Ocean and Coastal Management have a greater historical tradition of disseminating articles related to this topic. However, an increasing number of articles have been published in the journal Sustainability over the past 2 years (2019–20).
Coauthorship Network of Productive Countries, Institutions, and Authors
VOSviewer software was used to construct scientific maps of coauthorship networks across the most productive countries, institutions, and authors, which are presented in Figures 6–8. In these figures, each node represents a country, an institution, or an author. The size of the node represents the number of articles, and colors represent clusters of countries, institutions, and authors. The lines between the nodes indicate the strength of cooperation; the thicker the line, the stronger the cooperation.
As shown in Figure 6, the network consisted of 23 countries,all of which published at least 85 articles. The collaboration network is divided into four clusters. The red cluster contains the countries with the largest number of publications and includes the United States, Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and South Korea. The green cluster includes European countries, namely, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, The Netherlands, and Croatia. The blue cluster consists of Canada, Turkey, Sweden, South Africa, and New Zealand. The yellow cluster consists of the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and Brazil. In the network, the United States and Australia cooperated with all other countries. In addition, the United States has the highest total link strength (622), as illustrated in the center of the network. The strongest coauthorship was between the United States and the United Kingdom, with a link strength of 73.
As shown in the map, Figure 7 presents the six clusters of collaboration among prolific institutions with 34 or more publications. The red cluster contains five institutions: James Cook University, Murdoch University, and University of Waterloo are from Australia and the remaining two institutions are from New Zealand and Canada. The green cluster also consists of five institutions, which are organized around the University of Western Australia. The remaining four institutions are from Spain. The blue cluster is led by the Chinese of Academy of Sciences, and all four institutions are from different countries. The yellow cluster contains two Spanish institutions and one Australian institution, and the cluster is centered around Griffith University. The orange cluster has two institutions that are in Australia and Greece. The number of links and the link strength of the University of Queensland are nine and 28, respectively, and these values are the highest among all institutions. This result shows that the University of Queensland had the most collaborations with others in CMT research.
Figure 8 shows the collaboration network of authors with nine or more publications. Notably, authors who are not connected to other authors are also included in the network. As depicted in the map, four clusters are generated, each of which is composed of at least four authors. The red cluster is formed by five researchers from four different countries, namely, the United States (two), Spain (one), the United Kingdom (one), and Italy (one), and is led by Williams. The green cluster, which is led by Scott, also consists of five researchers. Two researchers are affiliated with the University of Waterloo (Canada), and the remaining three researchers are from Australia, Norway, and New Zealand. The blue and yellow clusters consist of four researchers and are led by Dearden and Jimenez, respectively. In the blue cluster, two authors are from the University of Victoria (Canada), and the remaining two authors are from the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (Philippines). In the yellow cluster, two researchers are affiliated with James Cook University (Australia), and the other two researchers work in different institutions in Spain. This analysis shows that cooperation among authors of documents concerning CMT is still weak in terms of the number of publications.
Co-occurrence Network Analysis of Keywords
Keywords can be used to identify hot topics and development directions in certain fields. The results of the co-occurrence network analysis of the keywords are presented in Figure 9, which illustrates the focus of documents published in the CMT field. In the map, each node represents a keyword, the size of the node indicates the number of occurrences of the keyword, and the thickness of the line between two nodes represents the degree of connection. In this analysis, 52 keywords with 85 or more occurrences were identified.
The keywords are classified into four colored clusters. The red cluster, which has the largest number of items (19), focuses on the sustainable development of CMT. The following main keywords were identified: island, perception, sustainability, sustainable tourism, and model. The green cluster ranked second with 15 items related to the impact of CMT on destinations. The most common keywords used in this cluster were tourism, impact, behavior, patterns, pollution, and environment. The blue cluster, which contains 12 items, focuses on CMT management and conservation. Accordingly, the keyword management appeared the most frequently, with 798 occurrences, followed by conservation, community, and ecotourism. The smallest cluster (yellow), which has six items, focuses on the impact of climate change on CMT. The keywords in this cluster were climate change, resilience, vulnerability, framework, adaptation, and sea-level rise.
Table 4 lists the top 20 keywords in terms of occurrence. The keyword tourism (1336 times) had the highest frequency, the most links, and highest total link strength. The second most frequently used keyword was management (798 times). The keyword impact ranked third, and keywords conservation and climate change ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
The co-occurrence of the keywords over time is illustrated in Figure 10, which helps visualize the keyword trends over the study period (1990–2020). In the figure, each node represents a keyword, the size of the nodes represents the frequency of the keywords, and the distance between two keywords reflects their correlation. Finally, the color of the nodes represents the average publication year of the documents in which a keyword appears. Older keywords are shown in blue, whereas more recent keywords are shown in red. These keywords mostly appeared during the 2014–17 period. The keywords tourism, coastal tourism, coastal management, ecotourism, conservation, pollution, coral reef, and sustainable development are shown in blue and emerged between 2014 and 2015, indicating that most studies focused on the influence of CMT during the early stage. The keywords management, impact, island, sustainable tourism, behavior, sustainability, climate change, and sea-level rise emerged between 2015 and 2016 and are shown in green, indicating that most studies focused on sustainable development and the impact of climate change on CMT in the middle stage. The keywords adaptation, resilience, vulnerability, perception, satisfaction, and ecosystem services emerged between 2016 and 2017, indicating that most studies focused on the vulnerability of CMT destinations to climate change and their resilience over the last few years.
This bibliometric analysis provides a systematic evaluation of the CMT literature through a series of analyses of document types, publication trends, countries, organizations, authors, subject categories, source journals, and keywords. This analysis identified the distribution of global research; highlighted cooperation across countries, institutions, and authors; and identified the distribution of research hotspots.
CMT research was carried out as early as the 1990s but did not develop into a hot topic until the last 10 years, and the degree of attention has increased year by year. From 1990 to 2010, research concerning CMT was in the exploratory stage. From 2001 to 2008, the field gradually took shape, and a period of rapid growth occurred from 2009 to 2020. Due to continuous improvement in the status of marine tourism in the broader field of modern tourism, the number of publications in this field will continue to increase in the next few years.
In the history of CMT research, the evolution of topics has changed over time. From 1990 to 2020, scholars discussed the basic problems of CMT from the perspective of ecotourism, marine-protected areas, marine flora and fauna, climate change, scuba diving, leisure tourism, environmental impact, watching tourism, loyalty, residents' identity, ecosystem services, and satisfaction. The research focus on CMT has been quite volatile. Marine flora and fauna and the impact of CMT on the environment have received wide attention. Through research of hot topics, this review could help scholars identify the research frontiers and future development trends of CMT.
Based on the statistics of the main source countries, relevant research is mainly concentrated in the Americas (the United States, Canada, Brazil, etc.), Europe (Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, etc.), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), and Asia (China, Turkey, Indonesia, and Japan). The United States, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom are the main countries in terms of CMT publications. James Cook University, Griffith University, the University of Queensland, and the University of Western Australia, all from Australia, are the leading institutions of CMT research. The source countries of the top 20 high-yield authors are relatively scattered, but five are from Australia, illustrating that Australian researchers have considerable influence in the field of CMT.
CMT research involves a wide range of subject categories, and the top subject categories are “Environmental Sciences,” “Environmental Studies,” “Hospitality Leisure Sport Tourism,” “Water Resources,” and “Ecology.” Articles concerning “Environmental Science” have an advantage, illustrating that CMT research is highly concentrated in the field of environmental science. The distribution of source journals reflects the knowledge accumulation and application direction of a certain field. The core journals focusing on CMT mainly concentrate on coastal research, tourism, sustainability, management, the economy, and the environment. To a certain extent, this result indicates that CMT research is an important subject of interdisciplinary research in tourism and other disciplines.
This research analyzed coauthorship among countries, institutions, and authors, which can reflect collaborative relationships. The United States is the center of the global research collaboration network focusing on ocean tourism. The vast research strength and financial support of the United States are two factors that render it a global collaboration center. Australia and Germany are subcenters in the international collaboration network of marine tourism research and focus on international collaboration. The University of Queensland in Australia is at the center of the institutional collaboration network, followed by James Cook University and the University of Western Australia. According to the search results, Australian institutions are very active in collaborative research concerning CMT. The results show five collaborative clusters of authors in CMT. Overall, however, research in this field is still dominated by individuals, and there is relatively little collaboration.
In this study, a keyword co-occurrence analysis was used to explore the distribution of topics and research fronts related to CMT. Research concerning CMT mainly focuses on the following four aspects: (1) the sustainable development of CMT, (2) the impact of CMT on destinations, (3) CMT management and conservation, and (4) the impact of climate change on CMT.
CMT management is usually an aspect of coastal zone management. However, because CMT involves many aspects, such as the environment, resources, and the economy, and involves many stakeholders, it is a great challenge for coastal area management to coordinate the relationship among various aspects (Wesley and Pforr, 2010). Ioppolo, Saija, and Salomone (2013) proposed that coastal resources, ecological tourism, and environmental protection should be overseen by regional integrated management. Anfuso et al. (2014) proposed a five-level classification method for coastal scenery and a framework in which different coastal areas are managed according to the characteristics of each level. de Juan, Gelcich, and Fernandez (2017) believed that stakeholder perceptions and preferences regarding ecosystem services should be integrated into coastal area management. Mestanza-Ramón et al. (2019) analyzed the integrated coastal zone management of mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands to meet the challenges in a changing tourism and economic context. CMT conservation is of great significance to the sustainable development of coastal ecological environments and tourism economies. Most studies related to CMT destination conservation report empirical research. Thur (2010) studied the protection of the marine tourism ecological environment and tourism resources from the perspective of the law. Hunt et al. (2013) presented an approach to analyze scuba diving tourism activities in SE Asia and emphasized the protection effect of this approach for studies focusing on the marine ecological environment.
CMT is environmentally dependent. However, as a result of activities by proponents and tourists, the environment is increasingly vulnerable. In this context, the concept of sustainable tourism has appeared in CMT, aiming to achieve sustainability over the last two decades (Agardy, 1993; Drius et al., 2019; Moscardo et al., 2001; Ong and Smith, 2014; Waligo, Clarke, and Hawkins, 2013). Sustainable tourism aims to meet the needs of tourists (e.g., infrastructures but also beauty and natural perceptions of recreational sites) while considering the local population needs, accommodation capacity, and environment (Simpson, 2008). Generally, sustainable tourism has been proposed to address several problems, such as ecological degradation, loss of cultural heritage, and economic dependence.
The impact of CMT on destinations is mainly manifested in various aspects, including society, economy, environment, and resources, among which there are positive effects and negative effects that cannot be avoided (Miller and Auyong, 1991; Stewart, 1993; Sun and Gao, 2012; Wong 1998). Scholars mostly focus on the negative effects of CMT. Most attention is given to the impacts of construction activities required for tourism development and tourist activities on the environment and resources, leading to a series of problems such as land pollution, air pollution, and the deterioration of water quality at the destination (Burak, Doğan, and Gazioğlu, 2004; Kurniawan et al., 2016; Liu, Zhang, and Fu, 2017; Wang and Liu, 2013). In recent years, due to an increase in marine wildlife tourism, an increasing number of scholars have begun to pay attention to the impact of CMT on marine wildlife (Avila-Foucat and Rodriguez-Robayo, 2018; Catlin and Jones, 2010; D'Lima et al., 2016; Hardiman and Burgin, 2010). The construction of tourist facilities, local pollution, and resource consumption may cause changes in the habitat of animals and plants. The prosperity gained through tourism has led to the sustained growth of populations in coastal areas. The existing sites and facilities can no longer meet the additional emerging needs. Especially during the peak season, these sites and facilities exceed the local reception capacity and exert tremendous pressure on the local society (Stanchev, Stancheva, and Young, 2015). Undoubtedly, CMT plays a direct role in promoting the economy of destinations. Many scholars believe that the development of CMT can create benefits for investors and practitioners of tourist destinations (Liu and Cao, 2018; Maria et al., 2017). However, Bojanic and Lo (2016) noted that overreliance on tourism may lead to the simplification of the industry.
The impact of climate change on tourism has become a hot issue in international tourism research. CMT, which is a subcategory of tourism, has also been identified as a type of tourism that is highly vulnerable to climate change (Dogru et al., 2019). Due to the rise in the sea level, an increase in temperature, extreme events, and other issues, CMT is facing the threat of beach shrinkage, a shortening of the tourism season, and reduced security (Moreno and Becken, 2009; Scott, Simpson, and Sim, 2012; Seekamp, Jurjonas, and Bitsura-Meszaros, 2019). Climate change is changing the supply and demand of CMT, which has had a profound impact on the development process of CMT worldwide. A potential future research direction is analyzing how interdisciplinary research methods can be used to identify the various effects of climate change on CMT.
This bibliographic review of CMT research shows that scholars from different disciplines have studied this topic. Generally, the number is increasing, and the scope is expanding. First, most studies concerning CMT focus on practice and application, but few studies focus on basic theories, and a systematic theoretical system of CMT has not yet been established. Second, with the emergence of new forms of CMT, such as island tourism, cruise tourism, and port tourism, the research topics of scholars are also expanding, mainly involving coastal, offshore water surface, island, sea, deep sea, and other tourism activities. Third, scholars have begun to apply multidisciplinary research methods to study CMT, showing a diversified pattern of complementary qualitative analyses and quantitative research. Finally, the research content of CMT has been deepening, and the theme has changed from resource development and product evaluation to the impact of CMT, regional collaboration, and other fields.
Based on the analysis carried out in this review, several future research lines can be established. First, future studies should perfect the theoretical framework of CMT research, including clarifying a spectrum of concepts related to the CMT and scientifically explaining the basic theoretical issues. Second, future research should strengthen research investigating CMT culture, including the marine heritage landscape, marine festivals, and marine folk customs, and explore the development mode of cultural tourism. Third, future studies can pay more attention to the development and innovation of CMT products, focusing on experiential tourism projects. Scholars should focus more attention on development, marketing, tourists' perception, and safety of experiential tourism products. Moreover, international cooperation is strongly encouraged. By holding academic conferences, academic teams communicate with each other regarding the research status and trends of CMT.
To analyze the development of CMT research, a bibliometric analysis was carried out to evaluate the characteristics of and trends in the CMT area. Based on the Web of Science database, 6190 publications related to CMT were published from 1990 to 2020. The outcomes of the study showed that publications grew rapidly over the last 12 years (2009–20). The United States was the most prolific country with the largest number of publications. James Cook University dominated the research domain in terms of the number of publications. However, the University of Queensland held the top position among institutions for total citations. “Environmental Sciences” was the top subject category. The largest number of papers was published in the Journal of Coastal Research. “Williams A.T.” and “Anfuso, G.” were the most prolific authors in this field. The analysis of cooperation among institutions and authors showed that the international collaboration network is less expressive than collaboration between organizations or authors from the same country. Based on the analysis of the high-frequency keyword and term co-occurrence network, it is suggested that CMT studies mainly focus on the following aspects: (1) sustainable development of CMT, (2) the impact of CMT on destinations, (3) CMT management and conservation, and (4) the impact of climate change on CMT. In conclusion, CMT research is gradually moving toward the intersection of leisure tourism, environmental science, oceanography, ecology, and other disciplines. With the deepening of research, the emergence of an increasing number of topics will gradually improve the theoretical framework. In the future, CMT research should pay more attention to how marine tourism contributes to ecosystem protection and sustainability.
This research was funded by the Humanity and Social Sciences Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 19YJCZH229) and the Yantai City Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project (Grant No. 2020YTSK-102).