International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law 2023

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM, TRAVEL AND HOSPITALITY LAW Keywords: Legal framework, Geotourism, Cave tourism, Speleotourism, Ecotourism, Greece 1. CAVE TOURISM / SPELEOTOURISM During the past few decades, in the field of tourism, there has been frequent use of the terms sustainable tourism, alternative tourism, ecotourism, nature tourism, green tourism, thematic tourism, etc. The term “ecotourism” is unclear, confusion emerging mainly concerning its origin. Hvenegaard (1994) and Orams (1995) argue that the term was first used in late 1980s. Romeril (1985, p. 216) argued that the possibility of a symbiotic relationship between tourism and environmental protection was noted for the first time in 1976 by Budowski. Budowski, however, though he did refer to many of the characteristics of “ecotourism”, did not in fact use this term. Thompson (1995) considers that the first person to use the term ecotourism is Ceballos-Lasurain in early 1980s (Fennell, 2001, p. 58). Fennell (2001) argues that the term “ecotourism” is attributed to Hetzer (1965), who identified four pillars or principles of responsible tourism, i.e. minimizing environmental impacts, respecting local culture, maximizing benefits for the local population and maximizing satisfaction for tourists. The first pillar is the most important feature of ecological tourism or ecotourism (Fennell, 2001). In general, ecotourism refers to a trip to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas, aiming at studying, admiring and enjoying the landscape and wildlife, as well as any cultural event that can take place in these areas. Ecotourism refers to the conservation of natural resources, the use of the environment without causing pollution and the awareness through environmental education (Yeoman, 2001). The concept of ecotourism is understood as the wise use of natural and cultural resources in a tourist destination for current and future generations (Weaver & Lawton, 2007). Geotourism is considered as one of the many types of ecotourism or nature tourism (Dowling & Newsome, 2005). It is defined as a tourist activity associated with geology and geomorphology, a landscape’s natural resources, landforms, fossils, rocks and minerals, with emphasis on assessing the processes that have created and continue to create such special geological forms (Buckley, 2003). Geotourism is often referred to as a form of nature tourism that focuses more on geosystem (Gray, 2011; Newsome & Dowling, 2010). Thus, it refers to the