The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people".
The Australian Commission on National Ecotourism Strategy defines it as "nature-based tourism that involves education and interpretation of the natural environment and is managed to be ecologically sustainable".
Neither definition tackles the issue of how claims to ecotourism are to be validated.
A review of ecotourism definitions in the literature suggests that definitions emphasize one of three considerations: consumer demand, operator capability or the sustainability of the natural capital that forms the attraction. A consumer demand model of ecotourism is based on the idea that the market should dictate the range of experiences offered to a visitor. Another approach is to focus on the capability of the tourism operator to adopt and meet a so-called "ecotourism" code of practice or voluntary industry certification program. A third model is based on the sustainability of the natural capital to be appreciated.
each of these models emphasizes a different aspect of so-called "ecotourism",
the first two models fall into a "weak" definition of sustainability
in which aspects of the natural capital can be substituted for other types
of capital. Only the third model represents a "strong" definition
A report on Ecotourism will be provided here in the near future.