Tourism and the natural environment: Marine and ecotourism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


It is widely accepted within the tourism and environmental science literature that tourism activities are dependent upon the concept of attractivity: Without this element in a given context, it is unlikely that tourist visitation will occur. Although the concept of attractivity has not been studied in its own right to understand the motivation, behaviour and response of tourists from different cultural backgrounds, most visitors have rated natural environments highly in simple surveys of what they like about particular places. Although a substantial literature exists on the complexity of developing scales, adjectives and measures to assess landscape attractiveness for tourists (see Hall and Page, 1999, for a review), the natural environment has emerged as a particular focus for tourism research. Although Hall and Page (1999) point to the artificial division of the use of natural environments into tourist and recreationalist activities, in practice, use of the same resource base often blurs the distinction between these groups with different motives, behavioural traits and the demand they place on the resource. To understand the natural environment as a tourist resource, one needs to recognise the continuum of the resource base from the urban, man-made environment through to the urban-fringe, rural areas to wilderness areas. In addition, one should also not overlook the significance of specific tourism attributes which can run through the continnum of resources, such as rivers and waterways, marine and coastal areas that also comprise district environments. While specific models of the resource-base for tourism and recreation have been used since the 1950s and 1960s (see Pigram, 1983; Hall and Page, 1999, for a review), the paradigm guiding research on the natural environment has undergone profound changes over the last decade. It has moved from a primary focus on the resource-base, use and problems ofmonitor: Lgand evaluating impacts to a new conceptualisation ofdifferent tourist typologies and their differential impact on the environment. In particular, new philosophical stances have developed to show how tourist use of the natural environment may be beneficial for wildlife conservation and preservation, rather than simply condemning tourism for its negative environmental impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTourism Management
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781136002823
ISBN (Print)0080435890, 9780080435893
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2000


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