Celestial ecotourism: new horizons in nature-based tourism
Celestial ecotourism is a neglected and hitherto unrecognised subsector that is dominated by the observation of nocturnal 'megacaela' (mega-skies). Observatories are the single largest component in terms of visitation, while aurora-viewing is the most articulated as a specialised commercial tourism (though not necessarily ecotourism) industry. Given the distance from featured attractions, sustainability is focused not on interaction but on context impacts and especially the need to preserve and restore the dark sky and unpolluted atmospheric conditions that foster charismatic megacaela. A logical emphasis on 'enhancement' sustainability is therefore apparent. Formal recognition and development of celestial ecotourism can be realised through the collaboration of ecotourism organisations with well-established and influential astronomy-related institutions pursuing relevant initiatives such as the creation of 'dark sky' reserves and the designation of 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy.
Journal of Ecotourism
Tourism Resource Appraisal