PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (9): 1201-1215.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.09.004

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Review of progress in international research on ecotourism and implications

Shuying ZHANG1,2,3(), Jiaming LIU1,2,*(), He ZHU1,2, Tao LI1,2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2018-03-07 Revised:2018-07-31 Online:2018-09-28 Published:2018-09-28
  • Contact: Jiaming LIU;


As a form of sustainable tourism, ecotourism has attracted a significant amount of attention from scholars. Based on the academic publications collected from the Web of Science Core Collection database, this study reviewed 546 selected documents, and analyzed corresponding key research areas and methodologies. This study also examined the multiple aspects of ecotourism in terms of connotations, stakeholders, tourist source markets, tourist destinations, impacts, and assessment. The results show that the characteristics of international research on ecotourism are application oriented, with distinctive resource features of research area and broad thematic coverage, interdisciplinary, and diverse perspectives. Six directions for future research in China have been proposed to improve and optimize ecotourism research taking into consideration international experiences, which include improving the theoretical framework of research, handling the relationship among different stakeholders properly, summarizing patterns of ecotourists' behaviors, extending research scales and management modes of destinations, emphasizing research on the effects of ecotourism, and optimizing evaluation methods.

Key words: ecotourism, stakeholders, tourists, tourism resource, tourism impact, CiteSpace