Lexique - Glossary

Ecotourism Glossary

Alternative tourism The common feature of ‘alternative tourism’ is the suggestion
of an attitude diametrically opposed to what is characteristically viewed
as mass tourism. Alternative tourism is often presented as existing in
fundamental opposition by attempting to minimize the perceived negative
environmental and socio-cultural impacts of people at leisure in the promotion
of radically different approaches to tourism. Examples include
ecotourism, green tourism, nature-oriented tourism, soft tourism, pro-poor
tourism and defensive tourism.

Anthropocentric Focuses on the human and the instrumental value of nature,
regards humans as the central fact of the universe and therefore interprets
everything in terms of humans and their values.

Areas of high conservation value Areas important at a regional or national level
for the conservation of native fauna, flora, natural features or systems or sites
of cultural significance.

Baseline study Assessment of the present situation in order to measure changes
in that environment over time.

Best practice Involves seeking excellence, keeping in touch with innovations,
avoiding waste and focussing on outcomes which are in the community
interest. It involves managing change and continual improvement and in this
way it encompasses all levels of an organization.

Biocentric Focuses on living things (different species and genetic variability) as
the central point to the development of value systems as opposed to anthropocentrism
which focuses on the human and the instrumental value of
nature. See also Ecocentric.

Biodiversity The variety of different species and genetic variability among individuals
within each species.

Biological diversity The variety of all life forms, the different plants, animals and
microorganisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems they form. It is
usually considered at three levels: genetic diversity, species diversity and
ecosystem diversity.

Bioregion A territory defined by a combination of biological, social and
geographic criteria rather than by geopolitical considerations; generally,
a system of related interconnected ecosystems.

Built environment A reference to buildings, dwellings, structures, utilities, roads
and services which enable people to live, work and play, circulate and
communicate and fulfil a wide range of functions. The built environment of
a place reveals its historical and spatial development, its past and present, and
something of its social structure and conflicts.

Carbon offset Any trading system designed to offset carbon emissions from one
activity (such as burning fossil fuels in manufacturing, driving or flying) with
another (such as installing more efficient technologies, planting carbonreducing
plants or establishing contracts with others not to partake in carbonreleasing
activities) (Dictionary of Sustainable Management, 2008).

Carrying capacity The level of visitor use an area can accommodate with high
levels of satisfaction for visitors and few impacts on resources. Carrying
capacity estimates are determined by many factors such as environmental,
social and managerial.

Climate change Refers to significant long-term changes in average weather
patterns for a particular region. Changes in climate are effected by myriad
factors including solar radiation, the earth’s orbit, ocean currents, tectonic
plates and volcanoes. In recent years the term climate change has been used in
conjunction with global warming, which scientists now agree is most likely
caused by human influences attributed to the increase in CO2 gases into the
atmosphere. See also Global warming.

Code of conduct Guidelines for appropriate social, cultural and environmentally
responsible behavior. Codes of conduct are in no way binding on the industry
or the individual.

Commodification The production of commodities for exchange via the market as
opposed to direct use by the producer. One form of commodified leisure today
can be seen in specific forms of tourism, where travel to far distant and
different places is marketed as ‘paradise gained’. Tourism becomes a ‘freely
chosen’ leisure activity to be consumed.

Community See Local community.

Community-based tourism (CBT) CBTis generally considered a privately offered
set of hospitality services (and features), extended to visitors, by individuals,
families or a local community. A key objective of CBT is to establish direct
personal/cultural exchange between host and guest in a balanced manner that
enables a mutual understanding, solidarity and equality for those involved.

Conservation The protection, maintenance, management, sustainable use,
restoration and enhancement of the natural environment (ANZECC Task
Force on Biological Diversity, 1993). The management of human use of the
biosphere so that it may yield the greatest sustainable benefit to present
generations while maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations
of future generations (National Conservation Strategy for Australia).

Conservationists People who believe that resources should be used, managed and
protected so that they will not be degraded and unnecessarily wasted and will
be available to present and future generations.

Constant attractions Attributes that are widespread or have an intangible quality
about them (e.g. good weather, safety, etc.).

Creative thinking The act of redefining an issue by looking at it from a new

Decentralization A conscious policy of locating or relocating some parts or the
whole of an organization in outlying regions away from metropolitan areas
with concomitant developments of infrastructure coupled with extensions of
existing residential areas or the establishment of new towns. The policy may
aim at the strengthening of specified regional administrative centres.

Deep ecology The belief that the earth’s resources should be sustained and
protected not just for human beings but also for other species. People who
believe in this philosophy tend to have a life-centered approach rather than
a human-centered approach to managing and sustaining the earth’s resources
by working with nature, not wasting resources unnecessarily and interfering
with non-human species to meet the needs of humans.

Demarketing The term is used to emphasize that marketing may be used to
decrease as well as increase the number of satisfied customers. It is used to
decrease numbers so that an increase in clientele satisfaction can be
achieved, through preserving a higher quality experience.

Development The modification of the biosphere and the application of human,
financial, living and non-living resources to satisfy human needs and improve
the quality of human life (World Conservation Strategy). The application of
human, financial and physical resources to satisfy human needs and improve
the quality of life: inevitably development involves modification of the
biosphere and some aspects of development may detract from the quality of
life locally, regionally, nationally or globally.

Ecocentrism Focuses on the environment as the central point to the development
of value systems as opposed to anthropocentrism which focuses on the
human and the instrumental value of nature. See also Biocentric.

Ecologically sustainable development Using, conserving and enhancing the
community’s resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are
maintained and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be
increased (Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Groups, 1991).

Ecologically sustainable tourism An activity that fosters environmental and
cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.

Ecosystem A dynamic complex of plant, animal, fungal and microorganism
communities and the associated non-living environment interacting as an
ecological unit.

Ecotourism There is no general definition currently in circulation but any
conception of it must involve travel to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated
natural areas with the objective of studying, admiring and enjoying the
natural environment of that area. An important point is that the person who
practices ecotourism has the opportunity of immersing him or herself in
nature in a way that most people cannot enjoy in their routine, urban existences.
As there is no strict consensus on a specific definition of ecotourism it
had been suggested that it also is responsible travel that conserves natural
environments and sustains the well-being of local people.

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) A method of analysis which attempts
to predict the likely repercussions of a proposed major development upon the
social and physical environment of the surrounding area.

Endangered species Fauna and flora likely to become extinct due to direct
exploitation by humans, intrusion into highly specialized habitats, threats
from other species, interruption of the food chain, pollution or a combination
of such factors.

Endemic tourism Broadly defined as tourism which recognizes that each individual
locality or community has its special character, and that particular
character or identity may well constitute its major attractiveness to tourists.

Environment All aspects of the surroundings of human beings as individuals or
in social groups (Commonwealth Environmental Protection [OP] Amendment no. 12, 1967).

Environmental economics A recognized field of specialization in economic
science. Environmental economics examines the costs and benefits of pollution
control, and protection of the environment.

Environmental education A concept ranging from media coverage of environmental
issues to formal environmental education, its aims ranging from
raising awareness to formal training.

Environmentalists People who are primarily concerned with preventing pollution
and degradation of the air, water and soil. See Conservationists.

Ethics What we believe to be right or wrong behavior.

Ethic of ‘Nature’ Holds that non-human entities are of equal value with the
human species. It is broadly intrinsic and ecocentric.

Ethic of ‘Use’ This is the normative or dominant mode of how human beings
relate to nature: where nature is viewed predominantly as a set of resources
which humanity is free to employ for its own distinct ends. It is an instrumental
and anthropocentric view.

Global warming Refers to the increase in temperature of the earth’s lower
atmosphere and oceans in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In recent
years scientists all over the world have noticed a steady and slight increase in
temperatures of 0.6 degrees since 1900. The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change indicates that observed increases in globally averaged
temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to man-made
greenhouse gas concentrations. Scientists are predicting that if greenhouse
causing gases are not reduced then average worldwide temperatures could
increase by 5 C by 2100. Increases in global temperatures will cause sea
levels to rise and there will be an increase in severe weather events such as
droughts, floods and storms. This will dramatically affect agricultural yields,
lead to glacier retreats, species extinction and increase the range of diseases
such as malaria (Porteous, 2000).

Greenwashing A term that merges the concepts of green (environmentally sound)
and whitewashing (to conceal or gloss over wrongdoing). Greenwashing is any
form of marketing or public relations that links a corporate, political, religious
or non-profit organization to a positive association with environmental issues
for an unsustainable product, service or practice. In some cases, an organization
may truly offer a green product, service or practice. However, through
marketing and public relations, one is wrongly led to believe that this green
value system is ubiquitous throughout the entire organization (Dictionary of
Sustainable Management, 2008).

Infrastructure The buildings or permanent installations associated with a site.
Infrastructure for ecotourism is often developed in protected areas and usually
involves a scaled down or minimal approach to physical development and
change. Infrastructure such as boardwalks and viewing platforms can be used
by resource managers to provide for visitor access to ecotourism destinations,
while at the same time assisting the management of environmental impacts
and the physical protection of natural resources.

Institutional planning Planning by institutional agencies and public bodies not
central to the planning process, yet having significant implications for environmental
planning. One of the functions of the central planning agency is to
accommodate and coordinate proposals to enable the objectives of other
agencies to be reconciled with overall planning objectives.

Integrated planning Planning process which takes into account the social and
cultural priorities of host communities to shape tourism into a form appropriate
for each locality.

Intergenerational equity Refers to a concept that the present generation should
ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment are
maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.

Internalization of environmental costs Internalization of environmental costs
involves the creation of economic environments so that social and private
views of economic efficiency coincide. It is concerned with structures,
reporting mechanisms and tools to achieve this end.

Interpretation An educational activity which aims to reveal meanings and relationships
through the use of original objects, first-hand experience and
illustrative media, rather than simply by communicating factual information.

Intrinsic value Value that exists in its own right, for its own sake.

Land use zoning Land use zoning divides sections of land into areas based on
their sensitivity and conservation values.

Limits of acceptable change (LAC) A model used to help establish the maximum
‘damage’ level for a resource that society is prepared to accept as custodian of
resources for both present and future generations and to define the maximum
level of use consistent with that damage level (RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry
Information Paper no. 8, 1993).

Local community The concept of local community concerns a particularly
constituted set of social relationships based on something which the individuals
have in common – usually a common sense of identity (e.g. Marshall,
1994: 73–76).

Management plan The process of the coordination and preparation of a document
and the realization of a set of goals, within a protected area or local
community or organization that leads to some common directions.

Market demand How much of an economic good consumers are willing to buy at
a particular price.

Market supply How much of an economic good consumers are willing and able to
produce and sell at a particular price in a given period.

Mass tourism Mass tourism is generally seen as being an overarching term for
tourism that is undertaken by the majority of travelers. This thesis, in
exploring the specificity of a particular tourist experience in-depth, may
contribute toward an understanding of not only the significant divergences
and convergences that exist between both mass tourism and alternative
tourism, but also the subtle nuances that subtend these tourist experiences.
Therefore, it is not simply a matter of differentiating, in a binary fashion,
between a general category of mass tourism and the derivation of niche
elements within it. Semiotically, in its structural sense, the appellation of
‘alternative’ logically implies an antithesis. It arises as the contrary to that
which is seen as negative or detrimental about conventional tourism, so it is
always a semantic inversion, which is found at all levels of discourse. In the
domain of logic, an alternative is based on a dialectical paradigm that offers
only two possibilities. Two contemporaneous terms are placed in mutual
exclusion, with an ‘excluded middle’, that leaves a conclusion that is either
one or the other. Therefore the terminology of alternative and mass tourism is
mutually interdependent, each relying on a series of value-laden judgements
that themselves structure the definitional content of the terms.

Microsocial Macro- and microsocial are used in the context of sociology. The
former generally examines the wider structures, interdependent social institutions,
global and historical processes of social life, while the latter is more
concerned with action, interaction and the construction of meaning. It is
important, however, not to generalize too greatly as the relationship between
social system and social actor is not always clearly distinguished (e.g.
Marshall, 1994: 298).

Motivations The factors that determine a human’s reasons for doing something,
in the context of travel the reasons for someone to travel to a destination.

Multiple use Principle of managing public land such as a national forest so it is
used for a variety of purposes, such as timbering, mining, recreation, grazing,
wildlife preservation, and soil and water conservation.

Natural Existing in, or formed by nature, non-urban; also incorporates cultural

Performance standards Standards employed in environmental planning which
specify desired results and do not in themselves specify the methods by which
performance criteria should be met.

Philosophy The system of principles concerning all the conditions in which
humans live and which influence their behavior and development.

Precautionary principle Where there are threats of serious or irreversible
environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as
a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation. In
the application of the precautionary principle decisions should be guided by
careful evaluation to avoid serious or irreversible damage to the environment
and an assessment of the risk-weighted consequences of various options.

Pro-poor tourism A form of alternative tourism that attempts to reduce poverty
by using tourism in poor communities to generate local employment and
profits. Pro-poor tourism is not a specific product or sector of tourism, but an
approach to the industry. Its strategies aim to unlock opportunities for the
poor, whether for economic gain, other livelihood benefits, or participation in
decision-making (Asley et al., 2000).

Protected areas Defined in Article 2 of the International Convention on Biological
Diversity as a geographically defined area which is designated or
regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation. Protected area system
characteristics are adequacy – the ability of the reserve to maintain the
ecological viability and integrity of populations, species and communities;
comprehensiveness – the degree to which the full range of ecological
communities and their biological diversity are incorporated within reserves;
representativeness – the extent to which areas selected for inclusion in the
national reserve system are capable of reflecting the known biological diversity
and ecological patterns and processes of the ecological community or
ecosystem concerned.

Recreation opportunity spectrum (ROS) The basic assumption of ROS is that
a quality recreational experience is assured by providing a diverse range of
recreational opportunities, catering for various tastes and user group preferences.
The ROS focuses on the setting in which recreation occurs. A recreation
opportunity setting is the combination of physical, biological, social and
managerial conditions that give value to a place. ROS has been described as
a framework for presenting carrying capacities and managing recreational
impacts. The ROS provides a systematic framework for looking at the actual
distribution of opportunities and a procedure for assessing possible management

Social impact assessment (SIA) An assessment of the impact on people and
society of major development projects: social impact assessment is often
a weak point in environmental impact assessments. Social impacts are
defined as those changes in social relations between members of a community,
society or institution, resulting from external change.

Stewardship An approach to the care of nature through its dominance by humans
relying on predominantly economic value systems and the pre-eminence of
technology (backed up by enormous advances in scientific understanding).

Strategic planning A dynamic and issue-orientated process to help the individual/
organization to take control of significant and desirable potential
futures. Strategic planning is the process of deciding what the future of the
operation should be, and what strategies should be followed in order to make
that future happen.

Sustainable Able to be carried out without damaging the long-term health and
integrity of natural and cultural environments.

Sustainability This is advanced through the magical transmutation of the term
‘ecological sustainable development’ into ‘economically sustainable development’
through the substitution of the letter E in the acronym ‘ESD’. It is an
indication of the latitude with which the concept of sustainability can be
interpreted. Thus, the concept of sustainability is both contested and
deployed, often, for profoundly different reasons.

Sustainable design Environmentally and culturally sensitive building design,
where construction methods and materials have minimal impact on the

Sustainable development Defined by the World Commission on Environment
and Development (WCED) in 1987 as ‘development that meets the needs of
the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs’. Environmental protection and management is central to
sustainable development.

Sustainable yield The use of living resources at levels of harvesting and in ways
that allow those resources to supply products and services indefinitely.
SWOTanalysis SWOTis an assessment of the project/organization strengths and
weaknesses and an analysis of the opportunities and threats that exist in the
market place.

Technocentrism A belief system that supports the idea that the creation of new
products and processes will be able to improve our chances of survival,
comfort and quality of life before the depletion or destruction of renewable

Tourism Optimization Management Model (TOMM) This model builds on the
LAC system to incorporate a stronger political dimension and seeks to
monitor and manage tourism in a way that seeks optimum sustainable
performance, rather than maximum levels or carrying capacities. TOMM
involves identifying strategic imperatives (such as policies and emerging
issues), identifying community values, product characteristics, growth
patterns, market trends and opportunities, positioning and branding and
alternative scenarios for tourism in a region, while seeking optimum conditions,
indicators, acceptable ranges, monitoring techniques, benchmarks,
annual performance and predicted performance having done this it can
examine poor performance, and explore cause/effect relationships.

Tourism industry The collection of all collaborating firms and organizations
which perform specific activities directed at satisfying leisure, pleasure and
recreational needs (Stear et al., 1988: 1).

Tourists All visitors traveling for whatever purpose involving at least an overnight
stay 40 kilometers from their usual place of residence (World Tourism

User pays The principle that management and maintenance costs for individual
parts should be borne (either partially or fully) by those using them.

Utilitarian A focus on the usefulness of nature in terms of human values rather
than a focus on beauty or spirituality – practicality of nature’s use by humans
for material gain.

Visitor activity management process (VAMP) The visitor activity management
process relates to interpretation and visitor services. This framework involves
the development of activity profiles which connect activities with the
social and demographic characteristics of the participants, the activity
setting requirements and trends affecting the activity. The VAMP framework
is designed to operate in parallel with the natural resource management

Visitor impact management (VIM) The visitor impact management process
involves a combination of legislation/policy review and scientific problem
identification (both social and natural). The principles of VIM are to identify
unacceptable changes occurring as a result of visitor use and developing
management strategies to keep visitor impacts within acceptable levels while
integrating visitor impact management into existing agency planning, design
and management processes. It attempts to do this based on the best scientific
understanding and situational information available. While both LAC and
VIM frameworks rely on indicators and standards as a means of defining
impacts deemed unacceptable and place carrying capacities into a broader
managerial context. VIM, however, makes reference to planning and policy
and includes identifying the probable causes of impacts, whereas LAC places
more emphasis on defining opportunity classes.

Volunteer tourism Volunteer tourism emphasizes positive interactions between
tourists and local communities based on travelers visiting a destination and
taking part in some form of project that makes a positive difference to social,
economic and/or environmental conditions. Projects are commonly naturebased,
people-based or involve the restoration of buildings and artifacts.

Wilderness Land that, together with its plant and animal communities, is in
a state that has not been substantially modified by and is remote from the
influences of European settlement or is capable of being restored to such
a state, and is of sufficient size to make its maintenance in such a state
feasible. A wilderness area is a large, substantially unmodified natural area
(or capable of being restored to such a state). Such areas are managed to
protect or enhance this relatively natural state, and also to provide opportunities
for self-reliant recreation in a relatively unmodified natural

Zone of opportunity A geographic area that ideally encompasses an endemic core
resource, as well as particular resources/attractions.

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