Tourism is defined at traveling for recreational or pleasure purposes whether it be for family vacation, spring break, or a weekend trip with the guys. Tourism can have many positive effects on the country. For example, in some of the poorer parts of the world, tourism has helped better their economy and creates jobs for the local people. Tourism also helps spread ideas of other cultures and allows, not only the tourists, but the locals to expand their horizons and understandings of these cultures.
Although tourism can have many benefits, there are also some cons to tourism. These negatives can include: over use, under-use, misuse, cultural commodification, loss of authenticity, and more. It is easy to think of the obvious effects of tourism; increased water and air pollution, environmental pollution, and more. These negatives create not only a lasting effect on the tourist country, but the surrounding countries as well.
Many countries have begun to acknowledge the damage that tourism is causing and have started taking action to try to reverse the damage that has already been done and prevent more damage from occurring in the future. These effects have become so serious that there is a list of World Heritage Sites that are considered in danger.
Air, water, and waste pollution are three large contributors to the world wide tourism crisis. Travel is done largely by plane, train, car, or ship. This affects all surrounding areas, the oceans, and the o-zone. Unfortunately, even with the technology that is available, there are limited, affordable, eco-friendly ways to travel. Walking or biking are good alternatives to decrease the amount of air pollution and help the environment. New York is a good example of a tourist heavy city that creates a lot of air pollution with the amount of taxis that are use by people to get around.
The overuse of water in these tourist areas are a big problem. From swimming pools, to tourist use, to plumbing in the resorts; water in this environment is taken advantage of. Water is a non-renewable resource and it some parts of the world is not accessible. These tourism sites should be finding ways to save water and preserve it. In extreme cases, in poorer countries, some resorts and tourists sites have closed to save the environment and the people that live there.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world is Mexico. The state of Quintana Roo, Mexico has recognized this and is taking initiative to create more sustainable tourism. Hotel resort zones in addition to new roadways are the cause for the sizeable amounts of deforestation and beach erosion. The government in this highly populated tourist zone has created laws that ban deforestation in sensitive and at risk areas.
The use of off road vehicles on the beaches as well as overcrowding can impact turtle nestings and hatching and have the potential to put a species in danger or become extinct in the long run. In order to combat the beach erosion, many resorts do sand deposition which basically is just bringing in sand from another ares to combat the erosion to save and preserve the beach.
These large resorts contribute strongly to the amount of greenhouse gas that is deposited into our ozone. The amount of energy and resources just one of these resorts uses is astronomical. Many of these hotel chains are now looking and coming up with ways in order to “go green” and cut back on some of the resources that they use.
National Parks are also popular tourists sites that are affected by the damages caused by tourists. Many of the parks are looking to minimize and reserve these affects; however they are finding it extremely costly. Some of the parks have even been closed to the public for extended period of time in order for them to be repaired or for budgets to catch up to be able to fix them. As time goes on, many parks are trying to get them back to their natural state by decreasing traffic and minimising noise for the animals. Eventually there is a chance that these parks will not be open to the public in order to preserve them.
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is also one of these tourist sites that are in danger of disappearing due to human’s inability to protect it. The oil spill, pollution, and abuse from tourist are all to blame for the destruction that the reef has endured. On the other side of the world, Antarctica is facing some of the long term effects of selfish tourism. Cruise ships visit often, polluting the water which then causes a chain reaction to a sensitive ecosystem. The breaking down o-zone, causing the melting of the ice cap, is also causes other species to become endangered.
Not only are there environmental factors that are negatively affected by tourism, but there are also some social-cultural factors that are affected. Culture within these tourist spots are experiencing a cultural revolution where a new culture takes place of the existing one. The environment affects, such as water and air pollution could also cause local wage rates to decrease or taxes to increase. The increase in population can cause poor sanitation in cities which could further lead to disease.
There is an obvious need for reform in the tourism industry. Tourism has brought major damage to some of the most well known and most sacred places in the world. While creating tourism population limits, and limiting site exposure to harmful things are helpful to try to combat the negative effects of tourism, there is no guarantee that the problems will completely go away.
One of the bigger, more pressing issues is that the cons of tourism are not talked about. Tourist sites as well as tourists need to be more educated of the dangers that arise from tourism and should be instructed on how to help prevent these things from getting worse. It is important to remember that tourism is good for people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is good for the environment.