Mass and Urban Ecotourism: New Manifestations of an Old Concept
Ecotourism emerged as a nature-based manifestation of alternative tourism, which is still regarded by some academics and practitioners as the most legitimate manifestation of this sector. While an analysis of the three core criteria of ecotourism points to the suitability of high order protected areas as ecotourism venues, modified spaces also have potential with regard to the latter, and may have distinct environmental advantages. Urban places, in particular, accommodate at least five types of ecotourism product, suggesting that urban ecotourism is a complex and high carrying capacity phenomenon that can be focused around the themes of restoration and enhancement, while diverting some visitation away from vulnerable natural areas. The idea of mass ecotourism also remains somewhat contentious in light of ecotourism's origins, yet like urban ecotourism is an increasingly recognized phenomenon that has the potential to produce positive environmental impacts because of its economies of scale and tendency to be confined into manageable restricted spaces. However, for these advantages to be realized, it is essential that mass ecotourism be implemented in conformance with a comprehensive model of ecotourism that emphasizes ecosystems-based attractions, transformational education, and sustainable management that enhances the environment at a global scale.
Tourism Recreation Research