Ecotourism, the idea that nature based tourism could contribute social and environmental benefits, burst into public consciousness in the late 1980s and became virtually a phenomenon in the 1990s. In many countries, it became a substantial focus of debate, generating numerous conferences, new courses and challenging policy development at all levels of government, the tourist industry and the environment movement.

It is not too difficult to explain the extraordinary rise of interest. The publication of the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, in 1987 by the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development was the catalyst which saw a major world-wide rise in environmental consciousness. It focused on the greatest dilemma of ...

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