Title: Trends and patterns of ecotourism research: practices and implications

Authors: Riyaz Alam; Diptimayee Nayak

Addresses: Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Azad Bhawan, Roorkee, Haridwar-247667, Uttarakhand, India ' Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Azad Bhawan, Roorkee, Haridwar-247667, Uttarakhand, India

Abstract: The present review seeks to exhibit the trends and patterns of ecotourism research, and identify the indicators of ecotourism sustainability in IUCN protected areas (PAs) by exploring growth and orientation of research articles, and conducting thematic analysis, using systematic review approach, PRISMA. The review reveals that there has been a persistent growth of ecotourism research worldwide since 1987, resulting from the increasing recognition of ecotourism potential for socio-cultural and economic development of local communities, and biodiversity conservation in PAs. Geographically, ecotourism research is found to be highly skewed towards the national parks in continents of Asia and Africa, depicting the existence of hedonic characteristics in terms of their major mega biodiversity hotspots. Realising these benefits and potentials of ecotourism, countries, particularly developing ones, are now embracing the ecotourism paradigm into sustainable development policies. Finally, the review recommends some implications for theoretical and practical knowledge, sustainable development policy and future research.

Keywords: biodiversity conservation; ecotourism; ecotourism sustainability indicators; IUCN PAs; local community development; preferred reporting items for a systematic review and meta-analysis; sustainable development policy; trends and patterns of ecotourism research.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTP.2020.112642

International Journal of Tourism Policy, 2020 Vol.10 No.4, pp.351 - 379

Received: 19 Aug 2020
Accepted: 08 Nov 2020

Published online: 15 Jan 2021 *

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