The Ecotourium Concept and Tourism-Conservation Symbiosis
The credibility of contemporary ecotourism is threatened by the global dominance of a model that minimally fulfils the three core criteria - nature-based attractions, learning opportunities, ecological and sociocultural sustainability - that characterise this sector. A more rigorous 'comprehensive' model is better capable of fulfilling ecotourism's potential to achieve sustainable outcomes, but only if this model embraces both the hard and soft dimensions of the sector. Based on the latter premise and informed by the principles of complexity, knowledge sharing and interdisciplinarity, we propose the development of an international network of protected areas 'ecotouriums' that is designed to stimulate positive socioeconomic change within local communities and maintain and improve the ecological health of protected areas. Cornerstone themes that enable the ecotourium concept are research and education, ecological health, community participation and development, and partnerships.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism