Ecotourism often serves as an umbrella concept, and overlaps with other categories like nature-based tourism, geotourism, adventure tourism, or responsible tourism (Buckley 2009). For the United Nations the term “sustainable tourism” offers an even wider umbrella than “ecotourism,” but still the two terms are often interchanged because ecotourism’s popularity exploded after the advent of early sustainable development discourses (UNDSD 1992). By the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, with its culminating policy Agenda 21, ecotourism became an operative concept for achieving sustainability (UNDSD 1992). A symbol of this relationship is the 2002 UN Year of International Ecotourism (UNDESA 1998), which sounded many lofty goals of economic, environmental, and cultural sustainability, and even “contributing to the strengthening of world peace” (UNDESA 1998). Hence, the terminological use depends heavily upon context and conveyor, and it should be expected that definitions differ according to locales. “Ecotourism,” in other words, will have different meanings in places as distinct as India, Costa Rica, Australia, Chile, Kenya, and the Arctic Circle.

This essay may be found on page 86 of the printed volume.

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