Eco-tourism: An ally of nature conservation? Defining the rule and measuring the outcomes

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Nature and natural sites are key attractions for tourists in New Zealand. Continuing strong growth in both international and domestic tourism numbers is placing increasing pressure on many New Zealand nature-based tourism sites. Eco-tourism is sometimes promoted as the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. A rapidly growing number of businesses advertise their activities to tourists as 'eco-tourism' and eco-tourism is sometimes hailed as a pathway to avoid some of the negative consequences associated with mass tourism. However, the term suffers from ambiguity and it lacks ownership. There is doubt over the veracity of claims that eco-tourism, in all its forms, is sustainable. The Flock Hill 2002 workshop comprised representatives of the tourism industry, government policy agencies, conservation NOO's and researchers who debated the nature and role of eco-tourism in New Zealand.
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