GRMD0401 Understanding Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism









Course Code GRMD0401  
Course Title Understanding Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism  
Class Date 18, 19, 20, 21, 24 and 25 July 2023

  • Local field trip to Hong Kong Wetland Park (13:00-17:30)
  • Exam on 27 July 2023 (11:00-12:30)

(26 July 2023 is reserved for class make-up in case there is any cancellation of classes due to bad weather or other unexpected factors.)

Class Time 1:00pm – 3:30pm
Class Location TBC  


Teacher Prof. CHAN Chung Shing

Assistant Professor
Department of Geography and Resource Management
The Chinese University of Hong Kong



Medium of Instruction Cantonese
Course Description This course will introduce ecotourism and sustainable tourism which are both important components of the tourism development nowadays, and is becoming relevant to most societies. It will develop and focus on a natural resource-based perspective incorporating resource and environmental management principles.


The first part of the course will cover the general introductory concepts and provide students with theoretical and historical background of the discipline. This will be followed by in-depth study of specific environmental settings and resource issues that will complement our understanding of ecotourism. Hong Kong is the main focus of discussion through examples or cases around the world are also provided throughout the course. Critical issues in ecotourism such as its multi-dimensional impacts, governance, planning, and resource and visitor management will also be covered. Lastly, students will be exposed to the relations of the phenomenon of ecotourism and the concept of sustainable tourism.





Course Content Introduction and theoretical background

  • Ecotourism and sustainable tourism: An introduction

Demand and supply of ecotourism

  • Who are the ecotouorists? Where are ecotourism environments?
  • Ecotourism in Hong Kong: Potential and limitations

Ecotourism planning and management

  • Impacts of ecotourism and the need for tourism planning and management

Conclusion: Ecotourism and sustainable tourism

Learning Outcomes This course will provide a broad intellectual perspective for students and enable them to develop a holistic understanding of environmental and resource management issues related to ecotourism and its connection with sustainability. Students will acquire basic knowledge of ecotourism development and its potential and can be capable of making judgement in response to critical issues on conservation and natural resource management.


Specifically, after successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic concepts of ecotourism and its relation with the overall tourism development and sustainability;
  • Acquire knowledge in operating and managing ecotourism activities; and
  • Develop an understanding and the skills and approaches necessary for interpreting natural and man-made resources for (eco)tourism

Learning activities:

  • Lecture series: This part provides the basic concepts, knowledge and theoretical basis for the analysis of specific issues and case studies
  • Field trip: This part exposes students to have an immersive experience in exploring the potential, or managing and operating ecotourism activities in different environmental settings. One local site will be selected for a field trip, which will be arranged in one of the normal lecture time.
  • Video sessions with class discussions: Students will watch selected videos and learn to identify critical issues and interpret real situations.
  • Final exam: These exercises test the understanding of students in major concepts and knowledge of ecotourism acquired from lectures, field trips and/or reference materials.
  • The course will be supported by BlackBoard, which is a platform for discussions, exchanges and sharing of information that is relevant to the teaching and learning process.
  • The medium of instruction in Cantonese; most of the course materials and all assignments are in English.
Recommended Reading(s) / Reference(s) References for individual lectures

Lecture 1

  • Wearing, S., & Neil, J. (2009). Ecotourism: Impacts, potentials and possibilities? Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. (Ch. 2)

Lecture 2

  • Fennell, D. A. (2014). Ecotourism. Florence, KY, UAS: Routledge. (Ch. 2)
  • Wight, P. A. (2001). Ecotourists: Not a homogeneous market segments. In D. B. Weaver (Ed.), The encyclopaedia of ecotourism (pp.37-62). Wallingford, US; New York: CABI Pub.

Lecture 3

Lecture 4

  • Newsome, D., Moore, S. A., & Dowling, R. K. (2013). Natural area tourism: Ecology, impacts and management. Bristol; Buffalo, NY: Channel View Publications. (Ch. 4 to 6)
  • Hall, C. M. (2008). Tourism planning: Policies, processes and relationships. Harlow, England: Pearson/Prentice Hall. (Ch. 1)

Lecture 5

(Additional references will be provided when necessary.)

Course Assessment One local field trip – one group field trip report (40%)

Final exam – multiple-choice questions and short questions (60%)

  The above course information is subject to change and approval.
  Last updated on 16 June 2023