The search for specific opportunities which could solve the existing problems and contribute to overcome the conflicts related to the development of contemporary tourism, requires creation of two concepts which to be adopted and applied to the tourism reality and practice. The first concept con-cerns the development of sustainable tourism and the second one is aimed at development of alternative forms of tourism. The latter could also be referred as supplemental to the concept for de-velopment of alternative forms of tourism. This paper makes a historical review of the creation and development of the rural and ecotour-ism at global and regional scale. Under observation is also the chronological order of both definitions together with the contemporary understanding of the content of these forms of tourism. Some of the basic problems in their development are concerned. An attempt for assessment of the place and impor-tance of protected areas and protected sites in terms of rural and ecotourism is made.