Ecotourism Development in the Indian Ocean Region: The Case for Shared Learning

Document Type

Book Chapter


Ashgate Publishing


Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure




Dowling, R. K., & Wood, J. C. (2003). Ecotourism Development in the Indian Ocean Region: The Case for Shared Learning. In R.N. Ghosh, M.A.B. Siddique & R. Gabbay (Eds.), Tourism and Economic Development: Case Studies from the Indian Ocean Region (pp. 42-62). Aldershot, United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing. Available here.


This chapter reports on general trends in ecotourism, including the findings of the World Ecotour 1997 conference. The explosive growth of ecotourism at a national level is illustrated through brief case studies of three Indian Ocean countries: Australia, the Maldives, and Kenya. It is suggested that these nations represent individually different, but collectively comprehensive, examples for others in the region. Useful strategies outlined include those for ecotourism planning, development, and operations. It is argued that the Indian Ocean region has enormous potential for ecotourism development but that the key to future advancement is to learn from the shared experiences of countries already mature in their development of sustainable tourism practices. Finally, it is advocated that the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization, together with universities such as Edith Cowan, are able to provide this knowledge and expertise.