The Role of Tourism in the Ecosystem Services Framework

The Ecosystem Services Framework (ESF) is a powerful tool for understanding the relationship between nature and society, and tourism is an important expression of this. However, the scientific literature focusing on the relationship between tourism and the ESF is limited. Hence, there is a need to bring the tourism research community and the ESF together, not only as a cultural service but as an economic sector that consumes natural resources. This paper aims to do this by analyzing discourse on tourism in institutional reports produced by the ESF. Additionally, how the tourism research community has approached the ESF is analyzed by reviewing the literature that has used it and literature addressing nature-based tourism. The results suggest a “schizophrenic” approach to tourism, which is defined as either a cultural ES (nonmaterial) or as a nature-based industry (consumptive). Moreover, a disconnect has been found between tourism research and the ESF. The tourism research community may not feel comfortable with the inaccurate definition of tourism in the ESF and may prefer to use freer terms. However, the aforementioned community should integrate the ESF within their studies on natural resources. At the same time, the ESF should be more accurate in using tourism-related concepts ​
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