This research aims to explore the potentials of nature-based solutions (NbS) to mitigate the socio-economic pressures rising from tourism development within protected natural areas. Paper delivers a tourism studies perspective exclusively, by reviewing publications published between 2008 and 2018 in leading tourism and hospitality journals. The content analysis results support conclusions that each of the tourism development dimensions, i.e. governance, management and conservation, capacity building, visitor management and monitoring, sustainable financing and green infrastructure, can be related to at least one of the NbS approaches via conceptual or implemented measures. Moreover, tourism development in protected areas supports the new perspective of NbS, encompassing intangible governmental interventions. Additionally, the term nature-based solutions has not been established in tourism literature yet. The literature review provides an in-depth understanding of the role of NbS in sustainable tourism development within protected natural areas and suggests a future research agenda for scholars and practitioners. The major limitation of this study is a restriction on journal selection.