In the academia there are more than enough definitions; since the term was born there have been significant discussions about its real meaning. Ecotourism is considered to be a branch of sustainable tourism and often identified as a more sustainable form of nature that comprises cultural and rural attributes as well.
The term was first coined by the environmentalist Ceballos-Lascurais in Mexico City, in1983, he defined tourism as: R Then came others as Fennell, in 1999 with even longer definitions. R
But, then TIES “the international ….’ came up with what you can call an universal (and way shorter definition). R – I like this one better.
Mainstream tourism is the predominant tourism that is practiced. R
*Definition of mainstream is: dominant, standard, average, popular, predominant.
The world “Alternative’ means: opposite, different, another. Therefore, alternative tourism is the contrary of ‘that’ which is negative about conventional tourism. It combines tourist services or/and products different in meanings of supply Examples: hiking, trekking, biking, snowshoeing, diving, rural tourism, ecotourism, volunteer t, ethnography t, etc. R
*Mass tourism is a form of tourism that involves thousand of people going to the same resort/place/venue often at the same time of the year. E.g. 3S, all inclusive, theme and water parks.
Ecotourism and nature It is important to know that R
Ecology is the study of the interaction of people with their environment, due to this, The eco… R Only by understanding the function of these systems and potential impacts of our actions we can manage our relationship with the environment.
R There are plenty of services/products in the market that claim to be green… but are they? Going green seem to be the latest trend but, how can we tell which one is and which one is not? –question ask students We well see more on that in later on….
Ecotourism is an effective vehicle for empowering local people:
Gives them pride towards their culture, Encourages conservation, Protects the environment Boots the economy It can be used as a tool to fight poverty
Some extra ecotourism definitions…
Exercise… For next class look at the websites and we will discussed in class as a group.
Week 1 - The Nature of Ecotourism
• What is ecotourism? The limits of definition
• Ecotourism: its relationship to mainstream
tourism and ‘alternative tourisms’.
• The philosophical basis of ecotourism: ecology
and human ecology.
• Problems and potentials: feeling good or
genuinely doing good through tourism.
• To understand what ecotourism is and how it
interacts with other with other sectors, including the
mainstream tourism industry.
• To examine and understand the problems associate
with ecotourism definitions and how this affects
estimates of is growth potential.
Ecotourism in Images:
‘Return to paradise’ syndrome.
Ecotourism in Images:
Mediating between modern
tourist requirements and the
Exercise and Discussion
– What does ecotourism mean to you? What do
you think of when you hear the term ecotourism?
Is it different from the images and words we have
– Do you have an image of the kind of person who
is an ecotourist? Are you an actual, or potential
ecotourist? What attracts/repels you in the idea?
environmentally responsible, enlightening travel
and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas in order to
enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural
features both past and present) that promotes conservation,
has low visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-
economic involvement of local populations”
“Ecotourism is a sustainable form of natural resource-based
tourism that focuses primarily on experiencing and learning
about nature, and which is ethically managed to be low-impact,
non-consumptive, and locally oriented (control, benefits, and
scale). It typically occurs in natural areas, and should contribute
to the conservation or preservation of such areas”.
(Fennell, D., 1999 p.43)
● Elements of definition:
– Responsible travel
– Natural areas and nature
– Conservation oriented
– Local community
The International Ecotourism
From principles to
inculcating a mindset
Components of Ecotourism
• The natural-based component
• Sustainability component
• Educational component
Exercise and Discussion
– How would you define ‘Ecotourism'? – write
down a short definition, make sure to include its
‘principles and components’.
Ecotourism and Mainstream Tourism
• Ecotourism is often seen as being in some kind of
‘opposition’ to mainstream tourism.
• It is not the only kind of tourism to be opposed to
• Several kind of tourism are seen as alternatives to
– Each has its own distinguishing feature, which
marks it out from the mainstream
• How do each of these forms of tourism mark themselves
out as different from mainstream
• Are there any problems with this mass vs alternative view
Features of Alternative Tourism
• Preservation and enhancement of resource based of
• Fostering and promotion of development of
destination sympathetic to local area and community.
• Minimize impacts on the environment.
• Dual emphasis on environmental and cultural
• Ecotourism ‘inherits’ each of these properties and
adds its own ‘natural world’ orientation.
Ecotourism and Nature
● Not all 'nature-based tourism' is ecotourism
● Activities of ecotourism in a natural setting:
– Are dependent on nature (e.g. watching wildlife)
– Are enhanced by nature (e.g. walking, camping)
– Use nature as a setting (e.g. zip wire rides, swimming)
● Ecotourism adds a conservationist, low-impact,
community-oriented, etc. dimension to nature-
based tourism (see next slide).
ecotourism to o
forms of touris
Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism
– Tourism developed and
maintained in an area so
that it is viable over an
indefinite period and does
not degrade or alter the
environment in such a way
that it inhibits development
or the well-being of other
activities and processes.
– An essential aim of
ecotourism (it may not
always succeed); but may
be true of other forms of
Ecotourism and Ecology
● The 'eco' in ecotourism relates to the science of
– Recognition that the natural environment (living and
non-living) forms a complex system (or set of
systems), whose elements are interdependent.
– Human interventions may disrupt the balance and
functioning of these systems.
Make a distinction between popular
images of ecology and ecology as
a disciplined science. It is important
that ecotourism practices are
based on sound evidence, rather
than a 'green' image.
Ecotourism and Ecology
● Ecology also recognises that human society is part
of the 'natural system'.
– Societies, cultures and ways of life may also be
disrupted by outside interventions – with knock-on
effects on the ecosystems in which they are
– Ecology also tries to understand traditional ways of
life and their contribution to the functioning of the
● This aspect is reflected is reflected in
ecotourism's concern with local communities and
their traditional ways of life.
Ecotourism: local communities and
ways of life.
Ecotourism: Summing Up
● It involves travel to relatively undisturbed or
protected natural areas.
● It is nature-based, and concerned with the flora,
fauna, geology and ecosystems of an area (and
with local communities).
● It is conservation-led, and is based on
environmental and cultural awareness. This may
involve direct involvement in local projects.
● It is educative (scientifically or culturally),
ecotourists seek to add to their understanding of
● As a group, we will explore a set of websites
offering ecotourism products.
● For each website and ecotourism product, we
will try to assess whether the product meets
the definitions of ecotourism we have
● We have 4 products to examine, 2 in Africa, 1
in Nepal and 1 in India.