Table of Contents

International Handbook on Ecotourism

International Handbook on Ecotourism

Elgar original reference

Edited by Roy Ballantyne and Jan Packer

This Handbook brings together contributions from over forty international experts in the field of ecotourism. It provides a critical review and discussion of current issues and concepts – it challenges readers to consider the boundaries of what ecotourism is, and could be. The Handbook provides practical information regarding the business of ecotourism; insights into ecotourist behaviour and visitor experiences; and reflections on the practice of ecotourism in a range of different contexts.

Chapter 26: Current themes and issues in ecotour guiding

Rosemary Black and Betty Weiler

Subjects: development studies, tourism, environment, ecological economics, environmental sociology, tourism, geography, tourism


While the early twentieth century saw the coining of the term ‘nature guiding’ by American guide Enos Mills (1920), the term ‘eco tour guiding’ is a more recent addition to the ecotourism lexicon (Manidis Roberts Consultants, 1994). Eco tour guides work at destinations in both developing and developed countries, and in diverse contexts and environments such as national and state parks, visitor attractions, resorts and eco-lodges, interpretive centres, nature reserves, museums, heritage sites, waterways, marine environments and zoos and aquaria. They can be employed by tourism destination organizations, nature, adventure and cultural tour operators, accommodation providers, tourism attractions, land and marine management agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions or be self-employed. Not surprisingly, then, the roles and contributions of guides to ecotourism can vary widely. That said ,eco tour guides are now acknowledged by many as guides with specialized knowledge and skills (Black, 2002), and are frequently described as being ‘pivotal’ to the success of ecotourism (Ham & Weiler, 2003; Page & Dowling, 2002; Weiler & Ham, 2001; Weiler & Kim, 2011).

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