Rainforest tourism: a systematic review of established knowledge and gaps in research

Publication Name

Tourism Recreation Research


Rainforests provide exceptional spaces for nature-based tourism activities attracting large numbers of visitors. Simultaneously, tourism activities may create environmental, social and economic impacts that require management in order to conserve sensitive rainforest environments. Rainforest tourism constitutes a travel sector that receives growing interest worldwide. This study presents a timely review of current knowledge and research gaps in a new conceptual model to give recommendations for a future research agenda. Through a systematic quantitative review, the study identified 48 peer-reviewed journal articles addressing conservation and management topics (33), followed by visitor-related research (23), impacts (10), and finally community and stakeholder research (3) of rainforest tourism, published between 1975 and 2019. The majority of research focused on management issues relating to policy development, planning, education and conservation measures. A strong geographic bias was noted with very limited research available for rainforest regions in Africa and Asia. Future research should be concerned with expanding and linking rainforest research across countries, and filling knowledge gaps around visitor monitoring, specific impacts and causes, and the complexity of community and stakeholder involvement in managing impacts. Protocols may need to be established to facilitate the design and delivery of standardised research approaches across the globe.

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