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Canadian Forest Service marketed the concept of an educational 'ecotour' along the Trans-Canada Highway


Academic article recognised potential existed for mutual benefit between tourism and the environment (Budowski).


Term first appeared in the English academic literature ('eco-tourism') (Romeril)


Ceballos-Lascurain provided an early definition


Jafari's Advocacy Platform

Jafari's Advocacy Platform

positive & uncritical attitude toward tourism; always benefits various regions of the world; emphasis on market-product equation vs. host communities

Late 1960s/1970s

Jafari's Cautionary Platform

Jafari's Cautionary Platform

Ideological challenge by the political left, and social sciences, over damaging social and cultural impacts; Emphasis on negative destination impacts (e.g. Butler's Destination Life Cycle); Tourism seen as potential danger to host communities; Threat to culture, leakage of economic benefits; "Management" perspective - tourism development should be controlled or avoided.

early 1980s

Jafari's Adaptancy platform

Jafari's Adaptancy platform

identifying alternative modes of tourism activity that are positive for host communities; alternative tourism (e.g. home stays); Ecotourism came about as response to need for environmental responsibility, not only social; AT presented as "good" tourism, mass tourism seen as "bad" tourism

1990s to present

Jafari's knowledge-based platform

Jafari's knowledge-based platform

Realization that alternative tourism can only really be a part of larger tourism industry, and need remains to address massive global context, not only localized problems; Ideologically neutral: all scales of tourism have positive and negative impacts; Inspired by emerging notions of sustainable development; Management decisions beginning to be based on sound knowledge obtained through application of reliable scientific methods; Challenges the dominant perception of ecotourism as only a small-scale type of AT that cannot cross over into mass tourism; Ecotourism sector can be either alternative or mass tourism.

Valentine's definition of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is nature-based tourism that is ecologically sustainable and is based on relatively undisturbed natural areas; is non-damaging and non-degrading; provides a direct contribution to the continued protection and management of protected areas used; and is subject to an adequate and appropriate management regime

Core criteria for Ecotourism

A form of tourism; Nature-based element or attraction; Educational or learning component; An imperative of sustainability

Form of Tourism

Purposive (leisure, business, visiting friends & family); spatial: international borders or beyond 80km from home; Temporal: usually at least 1 night stay (stayover) or excursions (not staying overnight)

Basis in Nature

Prefix 'eco' - meaning 'ecology' or 'ecosystem' or an element thereof as the basis for the activity

Basis in Nature with Associated Cultural Component

usually include a secondary role for related cultural attractions; desirable qualifier, since there is no such thing as a completely undisturbed environment; allows for the reality and complexity of the places, where nature and culture mix; Diversifies products of ecotourism


formal learning and highly structured interpretation to absorbing the natural environment on its own terms, or entertainment; Interpretation key to goals of learning, enjoyment, behavior change (off-site and on-site)

sustainable development

development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

In almost all definitions ecotourism should be 'sustainable' as part of which platform?

adaptancy platform

Sustainability as part of ecotourism definition

Develop economies, infrastructure, alleviate poverty (anthropocentric) while also conserving landscapes, species, environmental processes (biocentric); Give and take: Socio-cultural, Economic, and Environmental

Status-Quo Sustainability

ctive is to maintain or sustain the present state.
Passive ecotourism or areas with high environmental integrity; Minimum required to fulfill the sustainability criterion

Enhancive Sustainability

Objective to improve existing situation; Active ecotourism (e.g., participation in forestation & research projects); Preferred approach: help improve the socio-cultural, economic, and environmental situation

Problems with monitoring sustainability

No consensus on which indicators to use; no benchmark/threshold values; monitoring costs money; lack of scientific knowledge in very complex and unpredictable situations

why is it unrealistic to expect that a product must be sustainable in order to qualify as ecotourism?

Because of the difficulty in measuring sustainability and its long-term nature

How must we strive for in sustainability?

by employing best practices and available knowledge to monitor and reduce negative impacts while improving positive impacts

Textbook & Class Definition of Ecotourism

A form of tourism that fosters learning experiences and appreciation of the natural environment, or some element thereof, within its associated cultural context. It is managed in accordance with industry best practices to attain environmentally and socioculturally sustainable outcomes as well as financial viability.

6 terms ecotourism has co-evolved with

Nature-based Tourism; Adventure Tourism; Cultural Tourism; 3S Tourism; Alternative Tourism; Hybrids

Nature tourism

Any type of tourism that relies primarily on attractions involving the natural environment in a direct way.

What 3 activities are generally not considered ecotourism?

Most urban adventure, challenge courses, or very high-risk destinations

Why is ecotourism seldom equated with cultural tourism?

element is secondary, in cultural tourism it's the main focus


Differences are too subtle, or realities are such that making strict distinctions is unrealistic.

3S Tourism

form of NBT; Associated with large-scale and mass resort tourism; often complimentary w/ ecotourism (resorts supply tourists for eco attractions e.g. Mayan Riviera, or activities overlap e.g. scuba diving, snorkeling)

What did ecotourism have its origins with?

the paradigm of Alternative Tourism

What does the adaptancy platform view ecotourism and mass tourism as?

mutually exclusive

What do we have to do with the knowledge-based platform?

reassess the relationship between ecotourism and mass tourism

What is a false Dichotomy?

Consumptive and Non-consumptive

Can we really call ecotourism non-consumptive?


Is consumption always counter to learning and protecting environment?


Are non-consumptive activities really more sustainable, as we often assume?

Not necessarily

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