Ecotourism Capital as an Enabler of Positive Change in Tourism Sustainability




knowledge management, ecotourism, social media, ecotourism capital, ecotourism knowledge, green trust


Despite a global commitment to minimise the impact of tourism on the environment and maximise its benefits for local communities, the pressure of tourism on natural resources is still increasing. In this context, ecotourism becomes key to safeguarding the integrity of the ecosystem while producing economic benefits that can ultimately encourage the conservation of the environment. However, despite its benefits, there is still a need to develop the market presence of ecotourism strategies and initiatives. Thus, tourists' positive intention toward ecotourism and organisations that seek to meet the demand of the increasingly environmentally conscious market are key to the success of ecotourism initiatives. In the context of the information era, organisations may create a trustworthy relationship with ecotourists by providing them with accurate and engaging information on their environmental policies and actions. This relationship may result in the emergence of a critical intangible asset such as eco-tourism capital as tourists' decisions are based on image, perception and recommendations from social groups. For organisations to benefit from eco-tourism capital, they should use social media to generate opportunities for eco-tourists to experience and appreciate nature, respect local cultures, support local communities and minimise and mitigate their negative impact on the environment. Based on the above, the aim of this study is to explore, via a descriptive analysis of data collected from international ecotourists, how social media can be used to create eco-tourism capital. To that aim, we explore factors relating to ecotourism knowledge, green trust, and exposure to information on social media provided by ecotourism service providers.