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Tourism is the world’s largest industry, and ecotourism is rapidly emerging as its fastest growing segment. As interest in nature travel increases, so does concern for conservation of the environment and the well-being of local peoples and cultures. Appalachia seems an ideal destination for ecotourists, with its rugged mountains, uniquely diverse forests, wild rivers, and lively arts culture. And ecotourism promises much for the region: protecting the environment while bringing income to disadvantaged communities. But can these promises be kept? Ecotourism in Appalachia examines both the potential and the threats that tourism holds for Central Appalachia. The authors draw lessons from destinations that have suffered from the “tourist trap syndrome,” including Nepal and Hawaii. They conclude that only carefully regulated and locally controlled tourism can play a positive role in Appalachia’s economic development.

Winner of the 2004 Harry Caudill Award (given by Bookworm & Silverfish) recognizing outstanding contributions to reporting Appalachian life and values.

"This well-written book contributes to the active debate about the sustainability of tourism/ecotourism and will serve well as assigned reading or a case study in advanced-level undergraduate or graduate courses in tourism, ecotourism, or regional planning and development fields. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"The authors of this important book not only provide a positive vision, they also supply a telling critique of tourism as it is promoted currently, and they do all this with a profound international consciousness and helpful comparisons from all over the world."—Appalachian Heritage

"The authors argue that tourism can help the economy and preserve the environment only when local communities control the development and government regulates business practices."—Idaho Falls (ID) Post Register , Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal , Lexington Her

"Suggests many ways in which real ecotourist activities can provide meaningful and enjoyable engagement with the natural world, while making vacations, for both travelers and host communities alike, the regenerative, enriching experiences they should have been all along."—Modern Mountain Magazine

"Encompassing history, economics and culture, and using examples of other tourism areas such as Hawaii and Alaska, Fritsch and Johannsen lay out a comprehensive . . . treatise of the importance of fostering green tourism."—Publishers Weekly

"An argument for taking advantage of the possibilities offered by tourism to invigorate the economy of Appalachia and preserve the unrivaled environment."—Berea College Appalachian Center Newsletter

"A useful book. . . . Its overall tone almost echoes that of a how-to book for tourism developers to promote sound tourism activities and for tourists to correct their tourism behavior and choices."—Appalachian Journal

"'Ecotourism' conjures exotic images of beautiful places in the world, but as this book forcefully points out, it also brings up a slew of questions about the preservation of nature and of culture, and the inherent conflicts between economic development and community rights. The book brings these questions home to the highlands of Appalachia. Beautifully written, filled with anecdotes and illustrations, Ecotourism in Appalachia engages the reader in a search for 'green tourism' in America’s own backyard. The book makes an important contribution to our understanding of tourism in Appalachia and beyond, and will be invaluable to people who study or practice tourism."—David Zurick, Eastern Kentucky University

"Thoughtful, packed with enthusiasm and ideas. It is refreshingly readable, genuinely useful work, and offes recommendations to shape ecotourism in the 21st century. . . . It is a fundamental first step for tourism planners, environmentalists, academics and policy makers."—P.P. Karan, University of Kentucky, editor of Japan in the Bluegrass

"An important contribution to tourism studies, largely because this is the first attempt to examine tourism development (past, present, and future) within the Central Appalachian region. The authors provide both positive and negative scenarios for future tourism development in the study area that are well reasoned and thought provoking."—Richard Alan Sambrook, Eastern Kentucky University

"Does not disappoint. The authors usefully maintain a tension between the salutary potentials of 'eco' and the damaging consequences of tourism, now the world’s largest industry. [It is] written in clear, accessible prose."—Journal of Appalachian Studies

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Ecotourism, Appalachian Mountains Region


Appalachian Studies | Tourism and Travel

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