Explaining the characteristics of ecotourism tourism essay

This essay starts out by explaining the characteristics of ecotourism. The essay goes on to compare and contrast the differences between ecotourism and mass tourism. An ecotourist’s different experience from a sociology study point of view will be developed.

The Characteristics of ecotourism would be that it must be consistent with a positive environmental ethic; fostering preferred behavior as well as it must benefit the resource. This definition of ecotourism does not refer to any specific motivation but describes tourism with reference to the movement of people. This broad treatment of tourism allows the flexibility to develop a classification of ecotourism where the travel experience is motivated or modified by a deep ecological sensibility.

The term ecotourism has many meanings. Firstly, According to Weaver (2001) who claimed that ecotourism are take the environment or its feature as first consideration and attraction. It can refer to a genuine attempt at environmentally sustainable tourism. Secondly, they prefer first-hand experience with the natural environment. Therefore, ecotourists incorporate the activities of bird watching, natural photography, hiking and the like. Thirdly, it is present that a management may lead to a direct effort at the conservation aspect of natural environment.

Compared with mess tourism, ecotourism tends to be more sustainable, ecotourism are more than just sightseeing but to experience the nature. Furthermore, ecotourism is used in many different ways that not only refer to an activity which environmentally friendly but also somewhere it needed. Acott et al explained that the term ecotourism does not different between a group of people who want obtain a holiday for “ bird watching” (Acott et al, 1998. P. 238) chose aircraft to travel and luxury hotel to stay, expecting a westernized holiday experience and the environmental friendly travelers, back-packing, pursuing a minimal impact experience. Ecotourism can refer to a wide range of activities which may have different environmental impacts and attract people with different sets of values and motivations. Ecotourism which can be classified to “ deep ecotourism” and “ shallow ecotourism” based on a form of mass tourism and environmental tourism. An important aspect of this approach is the recognition that differences exist between the values held by potential ecotourists and the activities at ecotourism sites. People are not necessarily ecotourists just because they visit an ecotourism location. A consideration of the values, attitudes and behavior of people is fundamental when discussing genuine forms of environmental tourism or trying to identify potential ecotourists.


It is biocentrism rather than homocentric in philosophy, therefore, for whom an ecotourist will accept natural terms rather than significantly transforming the environment for personal convenience and satisfaction. A typical way to incorporate the attitude areas of ecotourists with an environmental assessment of the tourist activity is from what local peoples’ attitudes. This approach could have policy implications in terms of providing information for potential ecotourists as well as segmentation of ecotourist market. What is more, to stimulate discourse on the development of a genuinely deep form of environmental ecotourism that is consistent with concepts of sustainable development and sustainable living. Doxey(as cited in Fennell)claimed that the impacts of ecotourism in social aspect can be divided into four main stages which consider in the assessment of local philosophies. First is “ euphoria”, it refers to ecotourists are welcomed without many control of planning. Second is “ apathy”, which means planning is mainly concerned with the marketing of the tourism service. The third one which occurs at the period of the tourism industry has booming and saturation is happened. Ecotourists experienced “ annoyance” and plan to make some development. Finally, it becomes to “ antagonism”. Therefore, planning intend to provide some improvements and promote the tourism destination.


As a matter of fact, ecotourism tend to be more acceptable and popular in recent society. Ecotourists may concern with all sorts of social aspects in terms of transport, conservation, resource use as well as recreational activities and experience different from mass tourists. When ecotourists encounter the transport, they may concern with pollution from road and air travel. Meanwhile, the transport infrastructure on green field sites, wildlife habitat and the use of energy resources by air and road. In a general context, the local people are more likely to be ecotourists because they encounter and expand greater proportion of ecotourist.


Different cultural background may give rise to different experiences and reflections to ecotourists. Ecotourists will pursue a sustainable lifestyle regardless of their location, natural resource base and cultures. For instance, in some developed countries, ecotourist may at the centre of a polluted, congested city but decide to avoid motorised transport and walk, Therefore, the person is displaying the actions of an ecotourist without being in a designated ecotourist location. On the other hand, groups of people might want to visit ecotourist locations, for Example, according to Acott et. al, “ the Annapurna circuit” in Nepal (Acott et. al p. 240), many people still buy water in plastic bottles despite the efforts of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) to reverse this trend. It is because these kinds of bottles are not biodegradable. What is more, the example of the burgeoning trade in high-altitude tourism. Everest and the Matterhorn are in danger because of the climbers who are reach but without much experiences. Although some of these tourists might have a genuine environmental concern, this does seem more like a form of ego-tourism rather than ecotourism.

Ecotourism is a kind of natural based educational tour. With the wide spread awareness of doing things caring more about the environment, ecotourists like going to visit some natural attractions which will not harm the environment. Besides, they tend to be more likely than regular tourists to make use of locally owned accommodation and services then benefit the local economy. Ecotourism is more nature based than the leisure based mass tourism. But ecotourism and mass tourism have a close relationship between each other. Ecotourism can help make a sustainable principles and practices for mass tourism and help to increase public support. In the same way, mass tourism can provide a large clientele and revenue flow to the ecotourism (2001). From a social viewpoint, more and more people realize the importance of ecotourism. People who have higher education tend to expect basic facilities as long as they can enjoy the amazing nature. The ecotourism operators should take measures to attract more ecotourists in the future.

References Lists:

1. Weaver D. B.(2001). The encyclopedia of ecotourism. New York. CABI Publishing.

Fennell D. A. (2003). Ecotourism: an introduction.(2nd ed.). New York, Routledge.

2. Acott T. G., & Trobe H. L.,& Howard S. H(1998). An Evaluation of Deep Ecotourism and Shallow Ecotourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 6(3) 238-253. Retrived November. 12th 2010, from the informaworld database.

3. Goeldner, C. R. & Pithie, J. R. B. (2006). Tourism: principles, practices, philosophies (10th ed.). Canada: John Wiley and Sons, INC.

4. Ferrante, J. (2007). Sociology: A global perspective (7th ed.). USA: Thomson Higher Education.

5. Weaver, D. B. (2001). The encyclopedia of ecotourism. New York: CABI Publishing