International Handbook on Ecotourism
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International Handbook on Ecotourism

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.
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Chapter 6: Ecotourism and global environmental change

C. Michael Hall


The majority of ecotourism research tends to occur at a local or destination scale (Hall, 2007). Because of this there is often a failure to appreciate the wider impacts of ecotourism. For example, in the case of long-distance tourism more than 90 per cent of atypical journey’s contribution to climate change comes from the transport component and particularly aviation (Gössling, 2000) in getting to and from the destination or the study site in which tourists are intercepted by researchers (Hall, 2007). Therefore, by only studying what happens at a destination or a specific site rather than over an entire trip there is potential to grossly underestimate the environmental, and other, consumptive impacts of tourism (Gössling, 2002; Gössling & Hall, 2006a, 2006b; Gössling, Borgström-Hansson, Hörstmeier & Saggel, 2002; Høyer, 2000). Of course, in some situations narrowly setting the boundaries for the environmental impacts of tourism may have benefits for the promotion of the environmental credentials of some destinations or attractions. However, such a situation may also provide a serious challenge to the environmental credentials of ecotourism. As Gössling et al. (2002, pp. 199–211) argued, ‘even ecotourism projects often seem to ignore the global environmental aspects of travel.

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