Past, current, and future perspectives on eco-tourism: a bibliometric review between 2001 and 2018

Abstract

With increasing attentions on climate change, solid wastes, over-tourism, and improved environmental awareness worldwide, eco-tourism has been widely promoted worldwide. This requires that governmental agencies at different levels should prepare appropriate policies to facilitate eco-tourism and local communities should take necessary actions to preserve their natural resources, protect their environment, and support sustainable tourism. Academically, literatures on eco-tourism have increased faster with an annual growth rate of 10–30% during the recent years. Under such a circumstance, it is important to conduct a comprehensive review so that research progress on eco-tourism can be summarized and future research directions can be identified. Based on 1771 publications published during 2001–2018, a systematic method combining bibliometric analysis and network analysis is applied in this study to uncover the dynamic trends, academic collaboration, and research hotspots related with eco-tourism. Results show that the total number of relevant publications has gradually increased. Key journals include Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Annals of Tourism Research, Conservation Biology, and Biological Conservation. Authors from USA have the most publications and international co-authorships, while the most influential institution is the Chinese Academy of Science. Moreover, research keywords have been identified, including eco-tourism, management, biodiversity, national park, sustainability, and sustainable tourism. Research findings of this study provide valuable insights to further improve eco-tourism research so that this emerging research field can be proactively fostered.

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Funding

This study is financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (71810107001; 71690241) and the big data project funded by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU-2019UGBD-03).

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Shasha, Z.T., Geng, Y., Sun, Hp. et al. Past, current, and future perspectives on eco-tourism: a bibliometric review between 2001 and 2018. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 23514–23528 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08584-9

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Keywords

  • Eco-tourism
  • Green travel
  • Low-carbon tourism
  • Bibliometric review
  • Network analysis
  • Governance