Transformation planning of ecotourism systems to invigorate responsible tourism

Yun Eui Choi, Minsun Doh, Samuel Park, Jinhyung Chon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2248
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 5


  • Governance
  • Natural resources
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Systems thinking
  • Tourism systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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