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Impacts Of Tourism On Natural Environment And Enhancement Tourism Essay

Before elaborating the relativity of Tourism and environment, it is necessary to understand them separately. Relativity is to distinguish contrast and characterise between two different values for understanding their dependability upon each other. Tourism is now a phenomenon, not just a simple holiday activity. It also has to be considered that tourism and tourist are two different characteristics. Approaches differentiate accordingly and it can be defined according to both understandings: ‘It [tourism] is a human activity which encompasses human behaviour, use of resources, and interaction with other people, economies and environments.’ Bull, 1991:1 cited in Holden, A. (2008). From mentioned definition tourism is mainly focused on nature or social aspects, where author has examined tourism on the basis of environmental characteristics. Another understanding could be from the personal perspective of a visitor or tourist, again i would like to mention a definition from Holden’s writing; where he used another author’s definition to differentiate from the previous point of view. Tourism as: ‘an attitude to the world or a way of seeing the world, not necessarily what we find only at the end of a long and arduous journey’ Franklin, 2003:33 cited in Holden, A. (2008). This definition is more individualistic and from the perspective of a tourist as a single entity. Here personal experience is more valuable for a consumer. Tourism is not a very old study for world but travel defiantly is. Tourism is more of gaining an exceptional experience than a regular living, while travel can consists of various reasons behind it. But according to Hunter and Green (1995, pp: 1) “There is no universally accepted definition of tourism. This is not surprising, since what constitutes a ‘tourist’ and the ‘tourism industry’ are still matters of debate.”

In terms of tourism, Environment is always understood as a nature or atmosphere of a destination or a place which is used for tourism. Nature consists of mountains, water resources such as sea side, sea, rivers, waterfalls etc. Green environment includes plants, forests, parks, rainforests, safaris etc. when elaborated to wilderness it consists wild life, animals, forest species and so on. Socially; heritage sites or cultural uniqueness is also a part of an environment. ‘In environmental studies it has commonly been assumed that there exists a fundamental connection between a society’s management of natural resources and its perception of nature.’ Brunn and Kalland (1995:1) cited in Holden, A. (2008). Environmental studies and explanations are vast and distributions of its characteristics are crucial. If we look at it from a different perspective it seems environment consists of whole world (living or non living beings) including humans, animals, plants and resources. From evolution humans are using environmental resources. When observed this use or loss, it is categorised as Environmental study. Resistance and Resilience are two distinctions in this study, where Resistance is tolerance of the site (while getting used and still being undisturbed) and Resilience is the ability to recover from the happened loss or change. Some sites have either qualities or some not. Hence due to its characteristics, Hunter and Green (1995) stated that ‘environment can be subdivided into three components as the physical environment or a biotic environment which includes solar energy, soil, water and climate’.

Tourism and Environment are together:

It is understandable that human involvement with environment tend to use the resources, if it can’t help to make them grow at least they can be saved from future damages by use of intelligent human behaviour. Study of tourism environment is about understanding the cause and effect rule and to imply theories to protect the environmental loss due to mass tourism. It is also significant that Tourism should place along with the higher quality of environment and environment shall get benefit from it not the damage. No doubt every human action has its own pros and cons and fragility of nature resources must not be seriously harm by it. Tourism is without a doubt one of the world’s top profitable industries and monetary gains are higher (whether on the cost of environment) and relationship between tourism and environment can get equilibrate if financial profits get use in the conservation programs or environmental sustainability.

Impacts of Tourism on environment:

All activities consume resources and produce waste, possibly all activities have a potential to spoil the environment, and in same context Tourism is no exception. Tourism has developed as a largest industry and any activity happens at a mass level definitely leaves it’s positive and negative impacts, such as tourism did in the past. Although not the case that every environmental problem is produced by tourism but still being a mass industry it affected on a wider platform. Whether its generating a new site or a heritage site used for different prospective, somehow environment is getting a hard time by this. Tourism has some negative impacts on the environment. By pollution, numbers of persons using limited resources, behaviour of tourists while on holidays and so on are some of the causes which directly or indirectly affects environment. It may include both physical and cultural aspects. Unless managing at all level it is difficult to provide specific consideration to each resource and this is how this becomes a negative aspect towards tourism, environment has to pay such cost by loss to the natural settings to beaches, coral reefs or heritage sites.

Effluence caused by tourism main concerns faced by tourism trade today. The sewage waste from tourist resorts are drained into the rivers causing pollution in the river water and eventually to sea bed, it highly affects the marine life. Extreme use of natural resource that is fossil fuel to generate energy for tourist activity, the activities of overfishing, unnecessary use of ground water resources, are only few of problems which are created by tourism industry which in turn causes the reduction of the resource.

As tourism grows, it also give hands to increased littering, various forms of pollution e.g. noise, water, air. Sewage and waste got increased sometimes to uncontrollable levels. Alongside need for transportation gets high and number of vehicles produces numerous gases and noise in air. In areas where resources are limited, tourism develops a sense of competition, leading to all sorts of degradation.

Positive impacts:

But we should not only see at the dark side of the moon if tourism has its costs, its pays back as well, as tourism grows it definitely encourage several other industries to rise side by side. Whenever a destination is selected to develop as a tourism destination government and planning sources put efforts for the regeneration of the place. It consists of revitalisation of an area or a site and beautifies the local environment. Thus this process brings new colours to the site. Any vital site when comes under tourism perspective, its natural resources gets special attention from the managing bodies, where as educated tourism developers knows the value of a natural resource and keeping this in mind they prevent any misuse or damage to it.

‘There is an urgent need to understand the relationships between tourists, tourism and the environment. Many new forms of tourist consumption revolve around environmental quality and the respect for nature. One more reason for the negative picture of tourism might be that it is difficult to disentangle the impact of tourism from other forms of economic activity in certain destination areas’. Shaw g., Williams A.M. (2002)

Numerous examples and case studies are available where tourism has proven a saviour to drowning economies, along with economical benefits; it is helpful in urbanisation of dead towns. Due to tourism many businesses develop and people get employed, on a social level tourism keeps all communities together and connected. Any tourist’s social involvement and habits are controlled by the behaviour in which s/he is coming from and an insight can be developed in order to gain positive response from tourists. Appropriate educational information system towards environment can be a very useful tool.

Alternate tourism is developing:

These all are some arguments how a new breed of tourists is developing called eco-tourists and sustainability came in light in 80’s due to previously happened mass destruction in environmental resources. Sustainable Development concept came in attention from 1980’s and in March 1980, World Conservation Strategy (WCS) was prepared. IUCN, UNEP, WWF, FFO and UNESCO joined hands for world’s living resources. WCS was a conservation strategy where ecosystem degradation-destruction, deforestation, desertification, pollution, soil erosion and genetic diversity and extinction of species and many related issues were in discussion.

The relationship between economic development and the conservation and sustenance of natural resources is concept of sustainable development. Though these thoughts were already in air from many years at that time but WCS discussed many drastic changes happening to environment and WCS was proven as a bridge between prior thoughts and later actions. Another major outcome was establishment of WCED (World commission on environment and development) in 1983, Gro Harlem Brundtland (PM Norway) was appointed chairperson for this commission and in 1987 he publicised a report known as Brundtland Report (Our Common Future) in which ‘Sustainability’ were originally popularised

Sustainable development is development that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (According to WCED 1987:43) cited in Hall, C.M. and Lew, A.A. 1998

Certainly sustainability consists of strategy making, preservation of ecological processes, protection of heritage and biodiversity, futuristic focused productivity and balance between social behaviour and environment. Along with the global acceptance of International tourism, sustainability also got recognised as a key element towards long term beneficial policies along with saving limited resources. Destination areas have developed to accommodate all these travellers, and receiving them and catering their needs has also become part of a daily routine.

‘Development is a highly contested concept and since the Second World War debates over what it is, and how to achieve it, has gone through a number of phases. International tourism has been a global phenomenon from centuries, but that packaging of tourism for mass consumption dates back to the mid-19th century, when a specific service sector devoted to the mass consumption of travel emerged, roughly parallel to the development of mass production in the industrial sector’. Harrison, D. (ed.) (2001)

As people are not tends to be flexible when it comes to implementing rules and regulation, especially when visitors are on holidays, Author B Wheeller describes in his words. And what sort of touristic approach is needed is “Tourism at one with nature; non-consumption, non-exploitative, avoiding degradation and destruction of the ‘environment’, but rather tourism in harmony, in balance with nature” Wheeller, B. (1994)

Based upon the statements and codes-of-conduct developed by tourism stakeholders, that the environment has been placed on the outline as a major concern of how tourism is to be developed potentially.

Academic References:

Brunn and Kalland (1995:1) cited in Holden, A. (2008) Environment and Tourism (2nd edition), Routledge)

Bull (1991:1) cited in Holden, A. (2008) Environment and Tourism (2nd edition), Routledge)

Franklin (2003:33) cited in Holden, A. (2008) Environment and Tourism (2nd edition), Routledge)

Hall, C.M. and Lew, A.A. 1998. The geography of sustainable tourism development: an introduction. Harlow: Longman.

Harrison, D. (ed.) (2001) Tourism and the Less Developed World: Issues and Case Studies. Wallingford: CABI. Ch. 1.

Holden, A. (2008) Environment and Tourism (2nd edition), Routledge.

Hunter, C. and Green, H. (1995) Tourism and the Environment: A sustainable relationship? Routledge, London.

Shaw G., Williams A.M. (2002) 2nd ed. Critical issues in tourism: a geographical perspective: Oxford.

Wheeller, B. (1994) Egotourism, sustainable tourism and the environment: a symbiotic, symbolic or shambolic relationship? in A.V. Seaton et al., eds. Tourism: The State of the Art, Wiley, Chichester.


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