The term 'Nautical Tourism' is rapidly increasing in popularity, particularly in Europe and Central America much like what happened to the growth of the term 'Eco-Tourism' over the past 20 years. However, at present Nautical Tourism is relatively unknown in Australia.
Although there is no one definition of Nautical Tourism, I consider the definition adopted by the Mexico Ministry of Tourism as my favoured option. The definition is as follows:
'To define this segment it is important to realize that a tourism activity is not isolated or specific, but a conglomerate of many branches of a particular type of activity, of public administrations, infrastructure, and general complementary services.
Nautical Tourism must therefore be considered a tourist product, related with entertainment activities in contact with bodies of water, where many different nautical activities can take place, always with an ecological outlook and respect for nature. In addition to its being an important complimentary offer for a tourist destination, it is also a well defined product whose main characteristic to offer is the ocean'.
Nautical Tourism can include such activities as recreational boating, marinas, cruises, water sports, water based tourism such as marine wildlife tourism (marine parks), maritime history and education and associated land based components such as hotels/resorts, cafes/restaurants.
This form of sustainable tourism can create many new opportunities as well as bringing about a refocusing of existing mature tourism operations. It is also a way to revitalise coastal areas whose attractions have become outdated or stagnant.