Regional Sustainability


Ecotourism projects are mostly implemented in naturally fragile ecosystems as a savior of nature, culture, and indigenous people. This paper aims to make quantitative study of ecotourism in protected areas by using bibliometric analysis. VOSviewer, a popular bibliometric software, was used to analyze as many as 1182 research articles published from 2002 to 2020. Those articles were collected from the Scopus database. The study measured three distinct types of bibliometric indicators (quantity, quality, and structural indicators) to analyze the published articles scientifically. The analysis uncovers ecotourism research in protected areas as an emerging and predominant field of research with a sound growth in annual publications and citations. Importantly, the majority of ecotourism research articles are published in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and China. Nevertheless, ecotourism as a relevant research theme of is getting due importance in African and Asian countries for two key reasons: (1) wildlife and tribal populations, and (2) uncontaminated ecology and environment of ecotourism sites. Further, the main research themes of articles in the field of ecotourism in protected areas are broadly focused on conservation, visitor management, and community. Our findings reveal that controversial issues surrounding ecotourism and its relationship to protected areas, dominated by human-wildlife conflict, gender, and climate change, are attracting the attention of researchers worldwide.

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