Rapid growth in demand for tourist interactions with cetaceans in the wild constitutes a challenge to management. Short-term animal behaviour changes can have long-term biological consequences for individual animals and populations. This paper reviews the whale-watching management context, describing the interplay of the macro (global), meso (national/regional) and micro-level (local/site specific) policy, planning and management settings. Here, an integrated and adaptive management model based largely upon the delineation and monitoring of limits of acceptable change (LAC) parameters is proposed to address current shortcomings in the long-term sustainable management of whale-watching activities. Although no integrated management framework currently exists, a comprehensive management approach must be developed and applied in the interests of the long-term sustainable management of tourist interactions with cetaceans in the wild. The proposed management model highlights the importance of integrating multiple stakeholder perspectives in a way that is both research-informed and adaptive. Beyond tourist interactions with cetaceans, this management framework could be applied to a wide range of wildlife management contexts.