In recent decades there has been a proliferation of studies of the impacts of tourism. Many of the findings of these studies have been contradictory and the case study approaches which have often been adopted have yet to lead to the cumulative knowledge or level of generalization desired by decision makers (Wall 1996). At the same time, growing concern as to negative effects of developments of all kinds have caused the institution of legal requirements for the completion of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for major projects, including those for tourism, as a part of the process for gaining project approval. However, with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. Pearce 1989; Butler 1993; Hunter and Green 1995), there is little guidance available in the literature concerning the conduct of formal EIAs for tourism. Furthermore, EIAs require the assessment of possible impacts prior to their occurrence whereas academics have tended to examine impacts of tourism once they have occurred. Thus, there is a disjunction between academic research, the needs of consultants charged with the task of preparing formal EIAs and the requirements of the decision makers whom they are to inform. The situation is further complicated by the fact that tourism possesses characteristics which compound the difficulties associated with the assessment of impacts.