Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, a Mexican consultant, introduced the term “ecotourism” in the mid-1980s. Ecotourism refers to travel in untouched and peaceful natural areas with the purpose of studying, appreciating, and enjoying outdoor activities, wildlife, and cultural aspects (Weaver, 2006). Unlike mass tourism, ecotourism aims to minimize environmental impacts while promoting a deep appreciation for nature. This essay will be divided into four parts: defining ecotourism, comparing and contrasting hard and soft approaches, analyzing two case studies that exemplify different approaches to ecotourism, and concluding with a summary of achievements as well as suggestions for future research opportunities.
The study aims to thoroughly analyze ecotourism using different approaches and explore its components. Additionally, it will examine two case studies within a broader critical framework to gain a deeper understanding of the concept. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a comprehensive demonstration that fully achieves its purpose.
There is a significant discussion among experts about ecotourism due to its rapid expansion, making it a highly controversial topic. Defining ecotourism accurately is challenging because of its complexity and interconnected approaches. Wood (cited in Weaver, 2006: 192) defines ecotourism as purposeful travel to understand the cultural aspects and history of the natural world. It involves protecting natural resources, providing economic benefits to local communities, and directly impacting those communities.