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close this bookEcotourism and other Services Derived from Forests in the Asia- Pacific Region: Outlook to 2010. (FAO - Forestry, 1997)
close this folder3. ECOTOURISM
close this folder3.3 Overview of Tourism and Ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific Region
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View the documentTourism in the Region
View the documentFuture Growth in Tourism in the Region
View the documentEcotourism in the Region
View the documentPast and Future Ecotourism Growth in the Region


This section provides quantitative and qualitative information regarding tourism and ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific region. The statistical data are based on World Tourism Organization (WTO) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates. In addition, the WTO figures in particular generally are for international tourism and do not include domestic tourism, which often is quite substantial.

More importantly, readers should remember the inherent limitations of tourism and ecotourism statistics. There are a several problems associated with measuring tourist flows and resulting economic impacts (WTO 1997). One of these problems is the lack of a universal definition of tourism. Thus, the data presented here should be treated with caution.

Caution is even more important when one turns to ecotourism, as definitions of this activity are even less universal. There have been relatively few attempts to develop an operational definition of ecotourism, one that allows the number of ecotourists or their economic impacts to be measured. Therefore, there have been very few estimates of the importance of ecotourism, either in absolute terms or as a proportion of tourism generally. Moreover, for practical reasons, the estimates that have been made typically are based on definitions focused on the nature component, with little or no consideration of the sustainability component. Thus, estimates typically reflect nature tourism rather than ecotourism. In short, currently it is all but impossible to estimate with any accuracy the importance of ecotourism in the Asia-Pacific region.

Given these important caveats, the following information provides an indication of tourism and ecotourism in the region.