Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Tourism

pp 405-406


Green tourism

  • Pedro PintassilgoAffiliated withFaculty of Economics and Research Center for Organizational and Spatial Dynamics, University of Algarve Email author 

The concept of green tourism has evolved over time and is presently used with different meanings. The original one, spread during the 1980s, stands for small-scale tourism which involves visiting natural areas while minimizing environmental impacts. In this line, green tourism has been used interchangeably with such concepts as ecotourism, nature tourism, and rural tourism (Sung-kwon et al. 2003). Businesses have generally adopted a broader meaning for green tourism: any tourism activity operating in an environmentally friendly manner.

Recently, international organizations have defined the notion in line with the concept of sustainable tourism, which also considers other dimensions than environmental protection. In fact, for the World Tourism Organization, green tourism consists of “tourism activities that can be maintained, or sustained, indefinitely in their social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts” (UNWTO 2012: 1). For the United Nations Environment Programme, green tour ...

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