Over the last decades ecological tourism has become very popular all around the world. Ecotourism has emerged as a development tool, which aims to protect the natural area and cultural diversity by attracting the ecotourists and generating benefits for the local community without harming nature. Good interpretation services, cultural sensitivity and involvement with local community are three characteristics that differentiate ecotourism from other types of tourism. Ecotourism can bring many benefits, but if it is not organized properly, it can have very serious environmental consequences. Therefore evaluation of ecotourism product in a destination is important. It can help policy makers determine the quality of ecotourism product based on global standards. Therefore the purpose of this study was the evaluation of the current ecotourism product in Armenia, based on criteria identified by international ecotourism organizations, and researchers, using site-specific indicators.

In order to evaluate ecotourism operations in Armenia a survey was conducted with Armenian tour guides. Based on each ecotourism criterion a set of site-specific indicators were developed to be included in the questioner. Site-specific indicators included environmental impact, sensitivity of activities, group size attitudes of local people, guide training, opportunities to contribute, benefits to locals and location of ecotours. The outcome of the study suggests that tour agencies that conduct ecotours in Armenia only partially satisfy the set of ecotourism criteria utilized for this evaluation. For some indicators, the operations of the tour agencies are mostly satisfactory, such as group size, interaction between the residents and tourists, attitudes of local people, while indicators such as pre-departure information about ecosystems, and behavioral norms, efficiency of the guide training are only partially satisfactory.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ecotourism--Armenia (Republic)--Evaluation; Economic development--Armenia (Republic)

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Hospitality-Tourism Management (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Food, Hotel and Tourism Management (CAST)


James Jacobs Jr.

Advisor/Committee Member

Richard Lagiewski


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at G156.5.E26 Y44 2005


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