Impact of tourism in the environment
The tourism impact to the environment is the most negative aspect.Wholesale damage has been caused to large areas that will be very difficult indeed to reclaim.Tourism,tourist activity as a phenomenon of mass flows requires substantial infrastructure supported by intricate service networks.Careful planning has not always been applied with a resulting deterioration of the natural and social environments.There has been a transformation of infected zones with the destruction of ecosystems;diminution in the quality and quantity of water;soil contamination;the extinction of many species of fauna;severe infection of flora,fishing depletion and the contamination of the sea.
Destruction of ecosystems arises with a massive presence of visitors.Originally the mass influx promised a get-rich-quick attitude.Nature was defenceless.Those destinations with an image of a tourist paradise have become victims to ecosystem destruction.Natural clean water has been severly affected and reduced with tourist arrivals.In many instances the amount of tourists arriving has been unsustainable to local resources.The many many golf courses and residential swimming pools all affect agricultural development and the zonal ecological balance.
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Soil contamination arises in many instances with substances derived from human activity that alter the chemical environment and reduces crop yield.
Many species of fauna are becoming extinct;tree populations are becoming severely depleted;there is unregulated city-planning,and uncontrolled hunting present an overwhelming danger to an increasing number of species.The mighty ocean's yield of fish is becoming seriously affected.Population along the coasts has mushroomed together with second residences.To prevent an ecological disaster careful and superior planning is necessary;beyond local expertise.An overwhelming presence in the natural zones is affecting/impacting the flora in the same way.The presence of tourists in natural zones with a deluge of sporting activity such as motorbikes,mountain bikes,all land vehicles causes severe erosion of surface land inevitably affecting the flora.
Are there solutions to such problems? Or is tourism an impact generator advancing to disaster?
A global entity that is attaching attention to such problems and attempting to fulfil objectives for a sustainable tourism is the European Union.The EU with its agenda 21 has invited the local administrations to act.It recommends the following:Promotion of local production,offering ecological foods of the region containing no additives.Reduction of waste garbage and separation of the various categories for possible recycling.Usage of various technologies to saver water.Purification of residual waters for irrigation and agriculture.The saving of energy with efficient washing machines,heat insulation.Respecting the environment and landscape.Promotion of public transport and bicycling.To establish pedestrian zones in areas of historic value.The promotion of local tourism and to reduce air schedules of the flight industry thereby reducing carbon emissions.Planning to facilitate contact between the visiting tourists and the local inhabitants but to deter the formation of any tourism ghettos.Planning to benefit all the local population.
This seems to suggest that the main aims concerning tourism management are to maximise economic,environmental and socio-cultural benefits but to minimise costs associated with such strategy.
The physical and cultural environments comprise the essential attractions for the visiting tourist to the destination.It is the responsibility of tourism management to minimize environmental damage so ensuring future business.There are a number of methods that may be applied to diminish environmental impacts.Energy saving measures eg light bulbs,toilet flushes,cleaning detergents that are environmentally friendly.The limiting of visas thereby reducing immediately the number of visitors.Educational programmes of awareness both for the visiting tourists and the locals.An increase in profit may result with the reduction of costs,applied to utilities. Even if the limitation of visas does significantly affect profit it may be considered a better option so that there is still existant the possibility of future gains with the preservation of the destination's natural resources that are there to attract the tourists in the first place.
To conclude,one of the main ingredients for success of environmental policies is government involvement itself.Again it may be arguable there should be laws on land usage and the extent of building construction for the destination with the necessary infrastructure being installed to meet anticipated volume of tourist flow together with protection of natural heritages.
Tourism management methods applied to assist in maximizing positives and minimising negatives of impact for the socio-culture consist of educating about tourism;promotion of cross-cultural exchange;imposition of visitor codes;ensuring that locals have access to cultural facilities;preservation of local architecture;maintenance of authenticity;providing for the more sensitive cultural tourist with appropriate marketing;limitation of tourist numbers.
One principal that has gained attention is the carrying capacity assessment.It may be used to control and implement frontline sustainable tourism.There is a variety of applications such as the determination of a tourism development limit for a particular place and the limitation of actual visitor numbers. Hopefully it attempts to achieve sustainable tourism development as a working reality.It has not met with the anticipated success because of unrealistic expectations,faulty assumptions and misplaced value judgment with an inadequate legal support system.
It perhaps has become clear to the reader that tourism management should not function alone in these matters,but work together with local government and public bodies.Legal implementation is a central issue because if there is to be a restriction of visas for example there has to be assistance from such a quarter.Success breeds success and so tourism management and government will hum the same tune.
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The methods referred to above all have the same principal;that of protection for the host destination rather than a focus upon tourism demand.Obviously the demand has to be considered but it is the design of the tourist product that should be the main focus.Application of such principals referred to in the foregoing discussion will hopefully result in sustainable tourism for the future.
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