Recreational angling is a leisure activity that allows people to be in contact with nature, friends and family. This popular hobby gives people the opportunity to relax and to spend quality time with relatives while enjoying the surrounding environment. Many passionate anglers travel to remote destinations or foreign countries to enjoy pristine nature or more diverse catching opportunities.
In this sense, angling constitutes a high-value and sustainable touristic activity especially for rural and remote areas that can only rely on few other sources of income. Anglers contribute to the local economy by spending in shops, hotels, restaurants and support the local job market by buying tackle, renting boats and equipment or by using the services provide by fishing guides and charter companies.
The importance of recreational angling tourism is acknowledged in many countries. A study on angling tourism in Ireland, for example, found out that 150,000 people travelled to Ireland in 2012 and spent around €280 million1, to enjoy a fishing experience in the country.
Recreational angling tourism has a big development potential in most countries and new technologies can provide a substantial push to the sector. As an example, the website Fishtripr, which was presented to the EAA during its 2019 general assembly, created an online marketplace to put local fishing guides directly in contact with ecologically-minded anglers worldwide in order to facilitate the organisation of fishing trips and expeditions. Through its activities, Fishtripr aims to promote conscious angling and support sustainable local business.
Angling tourism can play a key role in the sustainable development of coastal, rural and remote areas supporting jobs and economic growth. More data is needed to assess its underexploited potential while national and regional tourism strategies should fully include recreational angling to diversify their tourism offer and attract more anglers.