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Although it may seem conceptually simple, ecotourism has suffered from the lack of a precise, widely accepted definition. The International Ecotourism Society has attempted to minimize this confusion with a short and simple definition of ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Many ecotourism scholars have instead argued that it is more important to focus on essential criteria to be met rather than trying to craft a universal definition. Most scholars agree that to be considered ecotourism, nature-based travel must meet at least four criteria:

  • Minimization of environmental impacts: through sensitive “green design” using locally available materials; energy conservation and use of renewable energy; reduction, recycling, and proper disposal of wastes; and regulation of visitor ...
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