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Open AccessArticle

Transformation Planning of Ecotourism Systems to Invigorate Responsible Tourism

1
Department of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, 145 Anam-ro, Seongbukgu, Seoul 02841, Korea
2
Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Administration, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455, USA
3
Division of Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering, Korea University, 145 Anam-ro, Seongbukgu, Seoul 02841, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2248; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122248
Received: 31 October 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 2 December 2017 / Published: 5 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tourism Planning and Sustainable Development)
The purpose of this study is to introduce transformation plans that can stimulate responsible ecotourism by using systems thinking to solve ecotourism problems in Korea. Systems thinking is a research method used to understand the operating mechanisms of the variables that influence an entire system, in order to identify its problems. The four types of ecotourism systems are classified as follows: low-infrastructure and resident-initiated, high-infrastructure and resident-initiated, high-infrastructure and government-initiated and low-infrastructure and government-initiated. These systems vary based on the need for tourism facilities and the form of governance. Each type of system is analyzed using the systems thinking process (dynamic thinking, causal thinking, feedback thinking, strategic thinking) at representative ecotourism sites in Jeollanam-do and the following transformation plans are proposed to improve the responsibility at the tourism sites: First, local residents will develop a system to manage and operate ecotourism ventures and establish cooperative governance structures to strengthen the local capacity. Second, ecotourism operators will improve the quality of their educational and interpretative programs and tourist information platforms in order to raise awareness of the responsibilities of ecotourists. Third, ecotourism systems that are improved through ecotourists’ and tour operators' heightened senses of responsibility can sustain ecotourism independently. These transformation plans can be applied to policy proposals for revitalizing ecotourism, to guidelines for improving community resilience and to biological habitat protection plans. This study is meaningful in that it discusses the role of stakeholders in ecotourism planning and promoting responsible tourism and their role in utilizing and conserving natural resources accordingly. View Full-Text
Keywords: tourism systems; governance; sense of responsibility; natural resources; systems thinking tourism systems; governance; sense of responsibility; natural resources; systems thinking
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Choi, Y.E.; Doh, M.; Park, S.; Chon, J. Transformation Planning of Ecotourism Systems to Invigorate Responsible Tourism. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2248.

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