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TOU2008 Ecotourism

Semester 1, 2011 On-campus Springfield
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business
School or Department : School of Management and Marketing

Contents on this page


Examiner: Narelle Beaumont
Moderator: Frances Cassidy

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>.


The use of natural areas for tourism activity is widely promoted by government, industry and the community. It is critical that such use is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. To this end, ecotourism has developed to become an important specialist component of the tourism industry. To qualify as ecotourism, a tourism operation must be nature-based, provide environmental education or interpretation, and be sustainable. A high level of management competence and knowledge is necessary to achieve the aims of sustainability for all stakeholders and the environment.


This course addresses the nature and growth of ecotourism as a specialist segment of the tourism industry. The focus throughout the course is on sustainability, which is one of three core criteria that identify ecotourism, and policies and practices to ensure sustainability. It also examines the other core criteria - the range of natural environments in which ecotourism operates, and interpretation (or environmental education) and its role in ecotourism and visitor management. The course covers other key issues such as market segments, positive and negative impacts, quality control processes, ethics, and other stakeholders that influence or are involved with ecotourism including indigenous communities. An overview of global ecotourism is included, and case studies of specific places are used to illustrate the main points throughout the course. Students will analyse a real life ecotourism venture as part of their assessment.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate academic and professional skills by understanding the theories, concepts and principles of ecotourism and evaluating and applying them in case study situations
  2. demonstrate cultural literacy skills by appreciating the global context of ecotourism and the need for ethical considerations
  3. demonstrate the ability to solve problems by conducting a comprehensive analysis and assessment of an ecotourism product
  4. identify and differentiate ecotourism markets and environments
  5. analyse, evaluate and apply policies, practices and management strategies in ecotourism designed to ensure sustainability
  6. demonstrate ethical research and enquiry skills by analysing the relationship between ecotourism and various stakeholders, including indigenous communities
  7. demonstrate effective research and information literacy skills by gathering relevant information from a range of credible sources to develop logical, well-structured arguments
  8. demonstrate effective written communication skills by presenting material in correct format with appropriate use of the Harvard referencing style and correct spelling, punctuation and grammar to an appropriate professional standard
  9. demonstrate the ability to prepare effective oral presentations including the development of visual aids to an appropriate professional standard.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction and definitions 10.00
2. Paradigms, orientations and values 10.00
3. Describing and segmenting the ecotourism market 10.00
4. Environments 1: Parks and protected areas 10.00
5. Environments 2: Private protected areas, modified areas, and distribution management 10.00
6. Impacts and critique 10.00
7. Visitor interpretation and management 10.00
8. Quality control and organisations 10.00
9. Dealing with external influences 5.00
10. Review of environments, activities and the involvement of indigenous people in ecotourism 5.00
11. Global overview 5.00
12. Ethics 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Summers, J & Smith, B 2010, Communication skills handbook, 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Queensland.
  • Weaver, D 2008, Ecotourism, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Queensland.
  • TOU2008 study package available from the USQ Bookshop.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Beaumont, N 1998, The meaning of ecotourism according to..Is there now consensus for defining this 'natural' phenomenon? an Australian perspective, Pacific Tourism Review, vol. 2, pp. 239-250.
  • Beaumont, N 2001, Ecotourism and the conservation ethic: recruiting the uninitiated or preaching to the converted?, vol. 9, pp. 317-341.
  • Beeton, S 1998, Ecotourism: a practical guide for rural communities, Landlinks Press, Collingwood, Victoria.
  • Buckley, R, Pickering, C & Weaver, DB (eds) 2003, Nature-based tourism, environment and land management, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, United Kingdom.
  • Bureau of Tourism Research, Occasional paper series, BTR, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
  • Diamantis, D 2004, Ecotourism: management and assessment, Thomson, London.
  • Duffy, R 2002, A trip too far: ecotourism politics and exploitation, Earthscan, Sterling, Virginia.
  • Fennell, D & Dowling, RK 2003, Ecotourism policy and planning, CABI Publishing, New York.
  • Fennell, D 2008, Ecotourism, 3rd edn, Routledge, London.
  • Gunn, C & Var, T 2002, Tourism planning, basics, concepts, cases, 4th edn, Routledge, New York.
  • Honey, M (ed.) 2002, Ecotourism and certification: setting standards in practice, Island Press, Washington, DC.
  • Knudson, DM, Cable, TT & Beck, L 2003, Interpretation of cultural and natural resources, 2nd edn, Venture Publishing, State College, Pennsylvania.
  • Page, S & Dowling, R 2001, Ecotourism, Prentice Hall, Harlow, Essex.
  • Weaver, DB (ed.) 2001, Encyclopedia of ecotourism, CABI, Wallingford, Connecticut.
  • Weiler, B & Ham, S 2001, Pounding hearts: tourism, wildlife and interpretation, Monash University, Caulfield, Victoria.
  • Ecotourism Australia
  • Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre
  • The International Ecotourism Society
  • United Nations Environment Programme

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Directed Study 70.00
Private Study 40.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives assessed Graduate skill Level assessed Notes
ESSAY 20 20 28 Mar 2011 1,2,7,8,9 U3,U4,U7 2,2,2
PRODUCT ANALYSIS PART A 10 10 26 Apr 2011 1,3,4,7,8,9 U2,U3,U4 2,2,2 (see note 1)
PRODUCT ANALYSIS PART B 20 20 23 May 2011 1,2,3,5,6,7,8 U1,U10,U2,U3,U4,U7 2,2,2,2,2,2 (see note 2)
2-HOUR EXAMINATION 50 50 End S1 1,2,4,5,6,7,8 U1,U10,U3,U4,U7 2,2,2,2,2 (see note 3)

  1. Presentation.
  2. Report.
  3. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Graduate qualities and skills

Elements of the following USQ Graduate Skills are associated with the sucessful completion of this course.
Ethical research and enquiry (U1)Intermediate (Level 2)
Sustainable practice (U10)Intermediate (Level 2)
Problem solving (U2)Intermediate (Level 2)
Academic, professional and digital literacy (U3)Intermediate (Level 2)
Written and oral communication (U4)Intermediate (Level 2)
Cultural literacy (U7)Intermediate (Level 2)

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the examination for this course are (i) Writing materials: non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination; and (ii) Translation dictionaries: students whose first language is not English, may take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination room. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and, if found to contain annotations or markings that could give the candidate an unfair advantage, it may be removed from the candidate's possession until the appropriate disciplinary action is completed.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Assignments: (i) The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must submit the assignment to the USQ. (ii) Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within 24 hours if required by the examiner. (iii) The examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. Students may apply for an assignment extension either by contacting the examiner before the due date or by including application with the submitted assignment after the due date. Such applications should be in writing and include supporting documentary evidence. The authority for granting extensions rests with the relevant examiner. The extension policy for this course tries to be fair to all students who organise their work and family commitments to submit their assignments by the due date, and those few students who cannot do so through unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. If an assignment is late, up to one week's extension may be granted if a signed statement with supporting documentation is sent with the assignment proving that an unforeseen and an uncontrollable extenuating circumstance caused the delay, for example, unusual and unpredictable work or family commitments. If this statement and documentation does not show that unforeseen and uncontrollable extenuating circumstance were present for the days claimed, then the normal reduction in marks for a late assignment of 5% per day, will apply. Extensions beyond one week will not be allowed unless express permission is obtained from the examiner before the date that the assignment is due. (iv) Extensions beyond one week are extremely rare because model answers may start to be distributed to students after one week. The examiner shall consider all documentary evidence (including statement from a doctor, employer, counsellor or independent member of the commcoursey as appropriate) accompanying an application for extension and decide on the outcome. In the case of an application for extension for medical reasons, the documentation should include a statement from a doctor stating: the date the medical condition began or changed; how the condition affected the student's ability to study; when it became apparent that the student could not submit the assignment. In the case of an application for extension for family/personal reasons, the documentation should include a statement from a doctor, counsellor or independent member of the commcoursey stating: the date the student's personal circumstances began or changed; how the circumstances affected the student's ability to complete the assignment; when it became apparent that the student could not complete the assignment. In the case of an application for extension for employment-related reasons, the documentation should include a statement from the student's employer stating: the date the student's employment began or the conditions of employment changed; how this prevents the student from completing the assignment.

  2. Referencing in assignments: Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at <//>.

  3. Word count on assignments: Students must put the 'word count' for their assignment on the front page of the assignment. The word count is the number of words in the body of the assignment report and does not include the title, executive summary, list of references or appendices. To grade an assignment a marker does not need to read more words than the word limit of the assignment.

  4. Text books: It is the responsibility of the student to acquire a copy of the text book as soon as their enrolment in the course has been confirmed. Extensions will not be granted on the basis of the student not having a copy of the text, if the text is available from the USQ Bookshop.

  5. Course weightings: Course weightings of topics should not be interpreted as applying to the number of marks allocated to questions testing those topics in an examination paper.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access: Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <//>.