COUNTRY: Estonia / Germany

Estonian Tourism Board and Enterprise Estonia

Research on good practices and supporting expertise for the aquarium as a visitor attraction



Estonian tourism policy is to increase the international competitiveness of Estonian tourism and to ensure sustainable economic growth by developing tourism services and the export of tourism services. Within this context, Enterprise Estonia launched a call for innovative family visitor attractions and also received, among others, an application to set up a sea aquarium as a new family visitor attraction. The leisure industry is a growing market worldwide, and so is the need for the design of innovative and attractive visitor attractions around the globe. Ocean sea aquariums represent one such visitor attraction and are being set up everywhere, mostly run by the entertainment industry. But the planning of this type of grand aquarium by large entertainment groups has led to protests and campaigns by local inhabitants and animal rights defenders, especially in Europe. Animal welfare in zoos and aquariums is a very sensitive topic and there are a set of standards and guidelines that need to be taken into consideration when setting up a new sea aquarium as a visitor attraction on European level and co-financed by European Union grants.

Project Aim

The aim of the project was to obtain a clear concept on the trends of leading European sea aquariums, the key criteria and cornerstones of sustainable operation and marketing practices and guidelines, and a clear understanding of the potential benefits and negative impacts involved in setting up a sea aquarium as a visitor attraction.

Services Provided

AGEG Tourism for Sustainability Consulting provided the following services:

  • Research on leading international trends for the sustainable design and operation of sea aquariums
  • Identification and assessment of positive and negative case studies on European level
  • Consultative reporting on the findings of the case studies
  • Illustrated guideline concept for the sustainable design and operation of sea aquariums as a visitor attraction, including:
    - Guidelines and operation standards
    - Recommendations for the planned sea aquarium in Estonia