A comprehensive review of the role of Ecotourism in sustainable tourism development


  • Ahmad Salman University Sains Malaysia
  • Mastura Jaafar University Sains Malaysia
  • Diana Mohamad University Sains Malaysia


Sustainable tourism alone without ecotourism was facing difficulty in achieving environmental protection goals, awareness, socio-cultural protection, and economic development. Ecotourism can be seen as a tool to strengthen sustainable tourism because it emphasizes sustainable tourism principles. Thus, this paper aimed to understand the role of ecotourism in achieving sustainable tourism. To achieve this aim, the study shortlisted and reviewed 22 articles from peer-reviewed journals dated from 2005-2018 and analyzed journal articles related to ecotourism that focused on understanding the significance of ecotourism's role in supporting sustainable tourism development. Three main themes emerged after analyzing the articles, which were economic, environmental, and socio-culture. The proper implementation of ecotourism can help the destination economically, socially, and environmentally by creating more jobs, developing investment opportunities, protecting the culture, environment, and destination's natural resources. This paper identified three critical roles of ecotourism in achieving sustainable tourism and described its benefits as well. Moreover, with the help of this review, this study reduces the knowledge gap regarding the paucity of research on this topic, which is one of its major contributions.

Author Biographies

Ahmad Salman, University Sains Malaysia

Ahmad Salman is currently conducting PhD research in the field of tourism. The area of expertise includes sustainable tourism, ecotourism, project management and stakeholder management. He has many years of experience in teaching and conducting research and has also co-authored many journal articles.

Mastura Jaafar, University Sains Malaysia

She has numerous years of experience in the construction industry dealing with project estimation and costing, finance and project management, development proposals, and project evaluation. Her areas of research, publication, and supervision interests include strategic management in the construction, housing, and tourism industries, entrepreneurship, project management and procurement management. She was the recipient of the Emerald Literati Network ‘Highly Commended Award’ in 2007 and 2015. Her publications have featured in Tourism Management; International Journal of Hospitality Management; Habitat International and many more.

Diana Mohamad, University Sains Malaysia

Dr Diana Mohamad has numerous years of experience in the tourism and planning field. She is currently teaching tourism in University Sains Malaysia and her main research interest is in sustainable tourism development. She has well known research publications in many international journals and conferences. She is highly engaged and active in the field of tourism and planning.




How to Cite

Salman, A., Jaafar, M. and Mohamad, D. (2020) “A comprehensive review of the role of Ecotourism in sustainable tourism development”, e-Review of Tourism Research, 18(2), pp. 215–233. Available at: https://ertr-ojs-tamu.tdl.org/ertr/article/view/482 (Accessed: 20 April 2024).