Between the 1970s and early 1980s new forms of tourism emerged in developing countries as an alternative solution to the “undesired” type of tourism “the mass tourism” or “the conventional/commercial tourism” or “the traditional tourism”. These forms of tourism appearing in different names and various models, served a more sensitive approach giving priority to natural and cultural resources at the front line of planning and development. The purpose of this paper is to describe the theoretical background of alternative tourism in which origins and main definitions are presented followed by an analysis of the complexity of classifying the alternative forms of tourism. Three of the many forms, seemed to be the core of alternative tourism, are distinguished and analyzed. The ecotourism, the cultural tourism and the creative tourism. Ecotourism in recent years, encloses many tourist forms focused on natural environment. Although these forms are closely related to ecotourism need to be distinguished from it as ecotourism presents many dimensions. In the concept of alternative tourism, the dynamic growth of cultural tourism can be explained by the fast growth of demand for trips to various cultural attractions and amenities. A rise in interest of tourists both to distant cultures and to the local heritage occurred through the increase of educated people around the world and the globalization. Moreover, technology supported this growth. The cultural tourist, from consumer is transforming to producer of the cultural products and experiences. As culture tourist become more interactive and creative, the cultural tourism need to be repositioned and to become more “creative”. In “creative tourism” there is a co-creation of creative experiences between visitors and hosts, usually expressed through the creation of networks, itineraries, courses and events. Finally, the paper ends with a brief mention on the current trends in alternative tourism and the concluding remarks.
Keywords: Alternative tourism, Ecotourism, Culture tourism, Creative tourism