2nd -year student, majoring in Tourism
Supervisor: Gildebrant K.Y.
Chernivtsi Institute of Trade and Economics,
Environmental Impacts of Tourism
The quality of the environment, both natural and man-made, is essential to tourism. However, tourism relationship with the environment is complex – many activities can have adverse environmental effects. On one hand, tourism has the potential to create beneficial influence on the environment by contributing to environmental protection and conservation. On the other, tourism development can gradually destroy the environmental resources on which it depends.
Until recently the problem of environmental damage of tourism was not givendue attention and was studied only in certain parts of the globe. Nowadays this issue has gainedsignificance because tourism has become the largest service industry and has considerable ability to threaten many natural areas around the world.
Many of the negative impacts are linked with the construction of the physical setting in which tourism takes place – this could be coastal resorts, historic cities, mountain ranges, picturesque villages, sites of cultural interest including museums and national monuments – and which provides the stimulus for travel. This process is intertwined with general infrastructure construction (e.g. roads and airports) and tourism facilities provision.
Increased construction of tourism facilities upsurges pressure on scenic landscapes and can lead to land degradation in addition to deforestation. First of all, tourism infrastructure can diminish the aesthetic appeal of a destination through the construction ofbuildings that clash with the surrounding environment, creating “architectural” or “visual” pollution.Besides, it may produce direct and indirect impacts on wildlife: directwhen,for example, mountain resorts development restricts the migratory range ofcertain animals, or indirect,such as when marine turtles are disoriented by automobile headlights and resort illumination.
Negative impacts from tourism generallyoccur when the level of visitor use is greater than the environment's ability to cope with this use within the acceptable limits. It can put enormous pressure on an area and lead to impacts such as: soil erosion, increased pollution, discharges into the sea, natural habitat loss, increased pressure on endangered species and heightened vulnerability to forest fires. Furthermoretourism industry often puts a strain on water resources, and can force local populations to compete for their consumption asitgenerally overuses water resources for hotels, swimming pools, golf courses and personal use of water by tourists. This can result in water shortages and degradation of water supplies, as well as generating a greater volume of waste water.
Generally speaking, negative features of tourism development could include:
• appealing environment spoilt by over-development;
• local people displaced due to development of coastal resorts;
• damage to natural flora and fauna;
• scarcity or reduction in water supply/quality to meet tourism demands;
• increased litter and waste disposal problems;
• greater air pollution and noise from overcrowded facilities/increased air traffic.
Yetpositive effects of tourism are also numerous as increased investment in the area and tourism dollars may improve,upkeep and preserve facilities, access and enable further development of the region. Tourism that focuses on cultural and historic sites(sometimes referred to as “heritage” tourism) can be the impetus for the preservation andrestoration of existing historic sites, buildings, and monuments. For example, tourism has motivated the preservation of such sensitive ecosystems as the Everglades National Park in Florida.
To protect the environment from tourism excessive usage of resources and general pollution we must understand that tourism expansion and growth must be inseparable from tourists’ education and tolerance.Nowadays there are pressure groups thatfight to preserve the environment and try to prevent over-development, such as Friends of the Earth and Tourism Concern. Government departments in many countries aim to achieve sensitive tourism development that is respectful of local environments and customs. The more involved a local community is with the development of tourism in an area, the less damaging the impact of tourism may be on that area.
However, the local community may see the benefits of tourism development without being fully aware of the negative effects or costs to the community. Or they may focus on the threats to the environment without seeing the positive aspects. This is where local tourism forums can help focus the issues and provide an opportunity for discussion and analysis as well as raising public awareness.
1. DaviesT., Cahill S.Environmental Implications of the Tourism Industry / Terry Davies, Sarah Cahill. – Washington, DC, 2000. – 40 p.
2. Malviya S. Tourism : Leisure and Recreation / SancheyMalviya. –Delhi, 2005. – 295 p.