Eco-Tourism Term Paper


Today due attention is paid to sustainable development in any field of human activity. Tourism industry is no exception. The three cases studies that will be discussed in this paper show that sustainable development of eco-tourism is an issue of concern for the Mediterranean islands. Practically each island state places emphasis on the growth of eco-tourism as an alternative to traditional mass tourism. The term eco-tourism can be defined as “tourism that occurs in a natural setting, is educative and is managed in a sustainable manner” (Beeton 13). Because of the fragile economies and infrastructures developed in the Mediterranean islands, there is a need to improve tourism marketing and management strategies. According to researchers, sustainable tourism depends on the mix of products, services and the environment under both private and public management (Bardolet 209). In the case study “Tourism development and sustainability in the Greek Archipelagos,” Buhalis and Diamantis state that the region has adopted enhanced sustainable-oriented practices.  In the case study “The path toward sustainability in the Balearic Islands,” Bardolet suggests that the Balearic archipelago has become the European mass tourism destination and has massive opportunities for the successful development of eco-tourism (193).  In the case study “Raising the stakes: implications of upmarket tourism policies in Cyprus & Malta,” Ioannides and Holcomb believe that the benefits of sustainable growth of tourism industry in the region provided to local communities include the growing demand for workforce, considerable profits, reduction of dependency on other industries and many other economic and social factors. Actually, all three case studies can be used for the analysis of the key factors that influence sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean islands, as well as the growth of eco-tourism in the selected areas.

The major goal of this paper is to analyze and discuss the current sustainable and eco-tourism practices in the selected areas in the Mediterranean (Greece, the Balearic Islands, Cyprus and Malta), as well as assess the environmental trends that are found in tourism industry in these regions.

Overview of the selected case studies (the Greek Archipelagos, the Balearic Islands and Cyprus & Malta)

The case studies selected for the analysis include the articles, discussing the successes and failures of tourism development and sustainability in the following regions of Mediterranean Islands: the Greek Archipelagos, the Balearic Islands and Cyprus & Malta. According to researchers, “Mediterranean islands exemplify well the interactions between tourism, heritage and culture on islands” (Royle 225). Eco-tourism requires the application of the proper marketing initiatives to address the problems that affect the island’s natural environment.

In Greece, eco-tourism is an important contributor to the national economy; therefore, due attention is paid to the natural environment, including marine and coastal environment of the region. According to researchers, “although the islands have unique heritage and environmental resources, their marketing and planning deficiencies mean they depend heavily upon mass tourism for their clientele” (Buhalis & Diamantis 148). The adoption of environmental policies by the tourist operators, working in this destination, contributes to local improvements. According to researchers, “the National Tourism Organization should develop a comprehensive framework to guide and enforce tourism development and management towards the sustainability of local resources and the development of regional prosperity”(Buhalis & Diamantis 167).

In the Balearic Islands, the establishment of regional autonomy contributed to excessive use of strategies aimed at sustainable tourism development, ensuring that the destination is attractive to tourists, the ecology is not damaged and the proper political framework is established to assist the growth of tourism industry (Bardolet 204). In addition, in this region, the tourism product is focused on summer time, but does not foster its diversity for the winter time (Bardolet 196). According to researchers, “the main tourism regulations in the Balearics have adopted a common theme for sustainability” (Bardolet 197). This fact means that the Balearics are the leader in sustainable development practices in the Mediterranean islands, as due attention is paid to environment al protection and other factors that affect sustainable tourism.  Creation of national parks, limitation of construction of villas, the adoption of environmental pollution tax, eco-tax that should be paid by tourists are some of the well-known sustainability practices and initiatives that contribute to successful sustainable development of eco-tourism in the region (Bardolet 199).

Cyprus and Malta should be focused on cooperation with other island states in order to promote sustainable tourism, including environmental awareness. Recent studies show that the efforts aimed at improving these islands’ competitiveness as tourist destinations are unproductive as they “mirror the inability or unwillingness of policy makers to distinguish between sustainable tourism and the need to promote tourism within an overall balanced growth framework” (Ioannides & Holcomb 254). In Cyprus, there are many problems that prevent the growth of sustainable tourism, including improper sewage treatment facilities, lack of sidewalks, improper airport facilities, poor level of service in shops and hotels, poor maintenance of archeological sites and historic places (Ioannides & Holcomb 253). Undoubtedly, these failures prevent the growth of sustainable tourism in the region.

Lessons learned from case studied on the topic of eco-tourism

There are certain lessons learned from these cases studies on the topic of eco-tourism. There is a need for developing effective training programs to ensure that people who work in tourism industry are able to meet the needs of sustainable tourism. Training should be aimed at increase of environmental awareness and sustainable tourism growth.

Besides, it is necessary to understand that eco-tourism can be viewed as a new approach to sustainable development as it creates many quality tourism products and services that are not only environmentally and ecologically sustainable, but also economically viable and socially acceptable. In the above mentioned island states, governments have already made certain efforts to foster sustainable tourism development.  According to researchers, “sustainable tourism refers to a form of tourism in which the use of resources meets the needs of visitors, while preserving the environment for the enjoyment of the generations to come”(McCool & Bosak 184).

In addition, it is crucial to consider current trends in tourism, in order to attract a large number of visitors. In order to promote an area or island state located in the Mediterranean Basin as a quality destination, due attention should be paid to a number of factors, including the development of the opportunities for nature-based tourism, the use of the proper marketing strategies, education and learning practices, and to ensure the adherence to sustainable management principles.

Moreover, the growth of eco-tourism could ensure economic benefits because eco-tourism practices are associated with sustainable development. This fact means that economic benefits of eco-tourism could affect ecological and socio-cultural development. If the island states are successful in establishing the proper frameworks for eco-tourism growth, the conservation of biodiversity and other practices are guaranteed. Each island state should realize that nature conservation is one of the major goals of eco-tourism. Besides, it is necessary to consider the benefits to local communities, such as enhanced employment opportunities, poverty alleviation, and maintenance of local traditions, crafts, and cultural events.

Similarities and differences between the case studies

Comparing these cases studies, it is possible to identify what is similar and different in terms of implementing the strategies aimed at sustainable tourism growth in the areas of the Mediterranean islands. It has been found that in Cyprus and Malta, programs to promote eco-tourism in remote parts of the islands were ineffective because of poor coordination efforts (Ioannides & Holcomb 251). There were considerable problems with the development and implementation of eco-tourism practices in Greece and the Balearic Islands as well.

Moreover, there are some similarities in the developing of the appropriate sustainability practices in the selected areas, including a wide range of policies, programs and practices of the private and public sectors involved in tourism industry certain environmental regulations aimed at reducing the negative effects of tourism-related activities on the natural environment (Buhalis & Diamantis 150). There is much evidence that the sustainability of tourism industry in the Mediterranean islands depends on the effectiveness of environmental policies.  In Greece, the Balearic Islands, Cyprus and Malta, there are government agencies and organizations that ensure planning, development and promotion of tourism industry, including eco-tourism activities. Certain agencies oversee hotels, restaurants, organized beaches, cultural events, casinos and other sites essential for tourism development. The implementation of national policies guarantees high quality of the tourism product in order to improve competitiveness in the global market. In Greece, governmental laws fail to advocate environmental awareness in a proper way because they do not ensure strict legislation for sustainable tourism (Buhalis & Diamantis 151). Most policies and practices are focused on the development of infrastructure to promote tourism and attract more visitors. 

Furthermore, in Greece, the Balearic Islands, Cyprus and Malta, the efforts made to ensure sustainable tourism development are inconsistent because of the failures in strategic planning and management practices. For each of these island states, sustainable tourism could become the major economic activity. The Balearic Islands is a tourism destination that has many successes in sustainable development of tourism. Due to the autonomy gained by the Balearic Islands from Spain, the government is focused on strategic planning in ensuring sustainable growth of tourism industry. According to researchers, “it is one of the first places in the European free market system where policy makers have tried to limit further growth in an economic sector such as tourism in order to safeguard scarce natural resources  and a limited area” (Bardolet 194). Hence, local communities have the appropriate share of the profits from tourism industry due to successful planning of sustainable operations.


Thus, it is necessary to conclude that the development of eco-tourism in the Mediterranean islands needs certain improvements to ensure sustainability. Although in recent years, much attention has been paid to the development and application of ecotourism practices in the Greek Archipelagos, the Balearic Islands and Cyprus and Malta, there is a need for improving strategic planning and adopting new sustainable development practices. Recent studies show that eco-tourism is one of the fastest growing areas of tourism in the Mediterranean islands.  The major goal of ecotourism in the Mediterranean islands is to maintain sustainability of tourism development, enhancing the local benefits from eco-tourism and the quality of management of eco-tourism development. Finally, it is very important to consider the effect of eco-tourism development on the natural environment, local economy and local communities. The island states are mostly coastal regions with exclusive natural landscape diversity and indigenous communities. Undoubtedly, eco-tourism practices that have been applied in these islands are inefficient as many tourists who visit the Mediterranean islands are engaged not only in eco-tourism, but also in other forms of tourism. In order to ensure sustainable growth of eco-tourism, there is a need for strict legislation, effective management practices, environmental protection and strategic planning.

Works Cited

Bardolet, Esteban. “The path toward sustainability in the Balearic Islands” in D. Ioannides, Y. Apostolopoulos & S. Sonmez (eds.) Mediterranean Islands and Sustainable Tourism Development: Practices, Management and Policies, London, Continuum, pp. 193-213. 2001.

Beeton, Sue. Ecotourism: A Practical Guide for Rural Communities. Landlinks Press, 1998.

Buhalis, Dimitrios & Diamantis, Dimitrios. “Tourism development and sustainability in the Greek Archipelagos” In: Ioannides, D., Apostolopoulos, G. and Sonmez, S., eds. Mediterranean Islands and Sustainable Tourism Development: practices, management and policies. London: Continuum, pp. 143-170. 2001

Ioannides, D & Holcomb, B. “Raising the stakes: implications of upmarket tourism policies in Cyprus & Malta” In: Ioannides, D., Apostolopoulos, G. and Sonmez, S., eds. Mediterranean Islands and Sustainable Tourism Development: practices, management and policies. London: Continuum, pp.234-258. 2001.

McCool, Stephen & Bosak, Keith. Reframing Sustainable Tourism. Springer, 2015.

Royle, Stephen A. “Tourism Changes on a Mediterranean Island: Experiences from Mallorca,” Island Studies Journal, 4. 2 (2009): 225-240.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 27, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 27, 2021]
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