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TOU2008 Ecotourism

Semester 1, 2021 Online
Short Description: Ecotourism
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Business
Student contribution band : Band 4
ASCED code : 080323 - Tourism Management
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Shane Pegg

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. analyse, evaluate and apply policies, practices and management strategies in ecotourism designed to ensure sustainability;
  5. demonstrate ethical research and enquiry skills by analysing the relationship between ecotourism and various stakeholders, including indigenous communities;
  6. demonstrate effective research and information literacy skills by gathering relevant information from a range of credible sources to develop logical, well-structured arguments.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction, definitions, paradigms, orientations and values 20.00
2. Describing and segmenting the ecotourism market 10.00
  • Environments 1: parks and protected areas
  • Environments 2: private protected areas, modified areas and distribution management
4. Impacts and critique 10.00
5. Visitor interpretation and management 10.00
6. Quality control and organisations: dealing with external influences 15.00
7. Review of environments, activities and the involvement of indigenous people in ecotourism 5.00
8. Global overview and ethics 10.00

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. (

Weaver, D 2008, Ecotourism, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Queensland.

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.
Fennell, D & Dowling, RK 2003, Ecotourism policy and planning, CABI Publishing, New York.
Fennell, D 2020, Ecotourism, 5th edn, Routledge, London.
Higham, J (ed.) 2007, Critical issues in ecotourism: understanding a complex tourism phenomenon, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, England.
Hill, J & Gale, T (eds) 2009, Ecotourism and environmental sustainability: principles and practice, Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, England.
Weaver, DB (ed.) 2003, Encyclopaedia of ecotourism, CABI, Wallingford, Connecticut.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 65.00
Directed Study 39.00
Private Study 61.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT 11 Mar 2021 (see note 1)
ESSAY 30 30 22 Apr 2021
OPEN EXAM - ONLINE 40 40 End S1 (see note 2)

  1. Locate and read a minimum of two journal articles for your essay which are not for submission.
  2. This will be an online exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility 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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are: To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

    Requirements after S1, 2021:
    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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are: To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1, 2021:
    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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are: An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S1, 2021:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are:
    1. Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Normally Deferred and Supplementary Examinations are held in the next Examination period. In S1 2021 selected courses will pilot an early Deferred and Supplementary Examination period held within 30 business days of results release. The list of courses involved can be found at

  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. 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

Date printed 18 June 2021