The Inherently Unsustainable Of Mass Tourism Tourism Essay
Tourism Industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. “Tourism has long been a central component of the economic, social and cultural shift that has left its imprint on the world system of cities in the past two decades” (Dumond; 2005 cited in Beben; 2006;1). According to the statistics of World Trade Organization, there was 693 million tourist arrivals across the globe in 2002 (Beben; 2006). Moreover, WTO and the World Tourism and Travel Council announced a possible increase in the number of tourists to close to 1 billion by the end of 2010 (Massound; 2010).
Mass tourism is seen as a large number of people participating in tourism as well as inflexible and packaged standardized holidays (Poon; 1993). Starting from the 50’s a new tourist demand leaded to a new stage in this evolutionary process. Tourism industry just like other Fordist industries has been supplying mass products, mostly considered under the label of mass tourism (Conti; Perelli; 2004). According to Conti and Perelli (2004;3), Thomas Cook created the tourism packages in the 19th century as “the pioneering forms of mass tourism and the opportunity for the definitive shift from the aristocratic forms of vacation to the mass mobility of workers spending their paid holidays travelling”. The concept of Cookism was used in a place of Fordism to express the era of mass tourism. Others seen mass tourism as consuming places by the large number of visitors (Urry; 1995). More recently mass tourism consumption experience has been linked to the ideas of “a McDonaldization, Disneyfication or McDisneyfication of societies” (Ritzer and Liska; 1997 cited in Conti and Perelli; 2004;3). The impact of those consumption patterns has been considered as the typical Fordist “leading to a reduction of the cultural diversity by mean of the demand of a tourist experience that will be more and more reproducing the everyday life patterns of consumption” (Contti and Perelli; 2004).
Mass tourism is strongly linked to seasonality. The impact of schools closure for the holiday periods as well as companies´ work programmes and the destination specific weather conditions, all that aspects are gathering great number of tourists at the same time (Shaw and Williams; 1995). Before tourism was a luxury, available mostly for higher class but after the introduction of packaged holidays and development of mobility and technology, travelling became more accessible for everyone.
Tourism has aroused on the market as a forceful industry making changes which have both positive and negative economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts. The development of tourism industry is very important for economy of the country especially for less developed countries as it increase foreign exchange earnings and generates employment. According to UNWTO, tourism stands for 8% of employment and 9% of global GDP and by the year 2019 will provide 296 million jobs (UNWTO cited in MercoPress, 2010). Tourism can have a powerful and beneficial direction for both economic and sociio-cultural change but at the same time it can be destroying. Do actual benefits from tourism go to the host community? Is government´s priority in development are to provide the needs of the tourists instead of local community? The government blinded by the opportunity of the country to generate the money from the development tourism is forgetting about the negative aspects that the industry can bring. Most of the attention has been made to economic aspects of the tourism growth and environmental and socio-cultural issues have been swept out to the second plan. Although to make tourism sustainable it is very important to look at those aspects.
As mentioned before tourism enables the development of the destination although, the lack of own capital and a weak economy of some underdeveloped destinations makes foreign investors to build a new hotels that makes tourism being beneficial mostly for the developed countries. The same is with employment. It seems like tourism would give jobs to the local community but in the meantime the investors from developed countries employed the workers with a better education and abilities so the developing country stays with almost nothing. When the development is lower than the position of a country is worse. Leakage is an amount of money that escapes from the local economy (France; 1997). According to Kripperdorf(1982;136), “tourism planning is usually in the hands of outside promoters the local population are regarded merely as landowners or as a reserve of labour, not as people entitled to participate in decision making”. For example, tour operators owning resorts and sending the customers to the destination which mean that local community won’t benefit much from those tourists. They export food for the tourist and employ British stuff.
How tourism can be sustainable if it´s breaking the basic rules of it. The tourism control and planning strategy is crucial in developing sustainable tourism but how can it be done if even government is closing their eyes on the unfair practices in the Tourism sector of that region. The uncontrolled tourism in Goa has a strong impact on host community who has to face the food and water shortage (Almeida; 1996). Moreover, Goan has to face with “electricity problems, there is a severe water shortage. The water pipeline that was originally meant for the villagers is now being utilised by the hotels. The transport too is insufficient to transport both locals and tourists” (Misquita, 1996a cited in Noronha;1999;101). Very fast process of urbanisation has changed Goa into the concrete jungle. Police is closing their eyes on the drug fulfilled parties. Barely 10 % of Goans have benefited from tourism development, moreover, the foreign investors are buying large amounts of lands in the region (Almeida; 1996).All those examples illustrate how unsustainable tourism it is.
Moreover, as suggested by Wall and Wright (1977); physical impacts to the tourist destination include “alterations to the natural environment, including air, water, soils, vegetation and wildlife as well as changes to the build environment” (Mathiesen and Wall; 1999; 38).
Mass tourism affects strongly beaches, cliff-side, environment and degraded landscape. In some mass destinations ground water is in an alarmingly low level which is largely consumed by agricultural sector, by the irritation of a great number of gardens constructed due to the development of new summer houses and second homes and golf courses (Molz; 2004;5). Also the beaches have been extended in order to meet tourist demand. The unlimited constructions and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources will lead to the serious environmental problems. Recreational activities organized for tourists have also strong impact. Tourists by touching reefs when diving and snorkeling are damaging them. Also by the great number of boat trips tourist are disturbing marine animals. According to Kripperdorf (1982;135), “the mass phenomena of modern tourism have initiated the paradoxial process "Tourism destroys tourism". The landscape loses its tourist value through its use, or rather over-use, by the tourist”.
Mass tourism is not only a problem of coastal regions but also the winter season is strongly connected to mass tourism. In Alps the number of tourists doubles every 7 years (Dziedzic; 1998). In Tyrol the ski slope is going through the endangered forests. Every year more than 500 hectares of agricultural land is used to make new skiing resorts and slopes (Dziedzic; 1998). Environmental degradation destroys the meaning of existence of tourism itself. The number of tourists is growing every year. According to the World Travel report (cited in Hickman; 2006) “by 2020 the natural features of some of the wonders of the world will be damaged by global warming, while other resorts will become seriously overcrowded”.
The carrying capacity has been described as greatest number of people who can use the place without any damage to the natural resources and without degradation of the environment (Wall and Mathiasen; 1999). The attrition of historical buildings and the saturation of the coasts are one of the problems were carrying capacity has been overtaken. Changes in tourist destinations are inevitable but the concept of carrying capacity has the chance to indicate the amount and the way of change and to assess to which point those changes are acceptable (Mathiesen and Wall; 1999).
The socio-cultural impacts are the other aspect of a great importance when looking at the changes in tourism as it strongly changes the way of life of the local communities. Mass tourism is causing displacement of indigenous population by tourists. For example in Hawaii there are about 1 million of indigenous inhabitants, which is a quarter of the whole population (Dziedzic; 1998). In human relationships, the disappearing traditional hospitality is a very important aspect. Especially in the big tourist resorts, these relations were long ago converted into a commodity for sale.
Kuhn (2007; cited in Hanna; 2010 HHhhKKKK) argues that sustainable tourism attempts to preserve traditional cultures in a way that the western tourist deems as ‘authentic’. If sustainable tourism will lead into that direction it will not be very successful. Tourist resorts also offer its guests a more refined, but a fake version of its folklore and traditions, adapted to the stereotypical images of the visited country. According to Mathieson and Wall (1992; 4) “the commercialization of culture, through the marketing and sale of artefacts, may revive traditional art forms or modify them so that they are scarcely recognizable”. Which in a long term might create a “phony folk culture” but at the same moment it can lessen existing unemployment problems and create more jobs.
The Tourism authorities are pleased of the fact that tourism is developing in the country but some of the local communities have different opinions on that. According to Ignacio Cembrero in “View from Fez” (2006), “the country’s Islamist party frequently rails against hotel casinos, restaurants that serve alcohol and the growing gay club scene” (Ranger; 2006). The tourist must accept the cultural differences of other countries. The most of Moroccans are very religious and tourist has to respect it. Even more tolerate Moroccans can become tired of tourists when seeing nudity on the beaches or tourists wearing t-shirts or short trousers in the churches. It insults their believes and rules. “A lack of consideration by tourists for local norms, culture, people or the environment of tourist receiving destinations” is leading to unsustainable tourism practices (Poon; 1993 in Wahab and Pigram; 2004;51). This point was also commented by Obrador et al (2009;3) who suggest that “local cultures are seen as eroded by a homogenous inauthentic, consumer culture”.
Moreover, overcrowding and growth of the bad reputation of the destination by breaking ethical rules can be destructive for the destination. There are many places in the world which have been spoiled by mass tourism and after the development of low cost airlines many cities has lost their “shine.
As most of the products also destinations have a lifecycle. It was clearly presented by Butler (1980) in his model of lifecycle of a tourist destination. He evaluated six stages a destination goes through when tourism development takes place: “exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, concluding with either rejuvenation or decline.”
At this stage the destination is visited by small number of tourists who are keen to explore cultural and natural beauty of the place but the number of visitors is limited due to accessibility difficulties and lack of facilities. Here the attraction of the place yet remains unmodified by tourism. In the next stage of involvement advertising and local initiatives are seen as the element of promotion of the destination which results in increase of the tourist number with the pressure on the public sector to develop infrastructure. Next step in the cycle is development in which further initiatives for development of facilities are made by national and multinational companies. In this stage the control of the public sector is necessary as the popularity of the destination and increasing number of visitors may not only be the reason of success but also cause failure and “the destination may suffer a change in quality through problems of over-use and deterioration of facilities” (Butler; 1980;92). The consolidation is the next level of tourism life cycle when tourism becomes a great part of the local community. Next step of stagnation occurs when after reaching peak numbers of visitors the destination is no longer popular and only conservative visitors are still coming back. In this stage the environmental, economical as well as socio-cultural problems can be seen as the reason. The last stage is decline where effort is need to maintain the tourist arrivals by introducing new types of facilities like for example casinos.
Prague is only one of the examples of the life cycle destination. The city has become one of the most visited cities in Europe after Czech Republic became a member of EU and after the growth of mobility (Global Travel Industry News; 2010). This beautiful, full of historical monuments city was rejuvenated in the last two decades. The commercialization of the city took place and the old town became surrounded by souvenir vendors, Irish pubs and beer gardens losing its authenticity. Also the prices have gone up and all locals who couldn´t afford been forced to move out of town. It’s one of the examples when the way of making quick cash has prevailed over the unspoiled charm of the historic Prague.
Mass tourism has led to the development of sustainable tourism in order to reduce negative impacts of tourism growth. Later in time the concept of Post Fordism was seen as the customers seem to acquire more power in determining market tendencies. According to Contti and Perelli (2004;9), “this change also tend to meet the new demand for environmental friendly tourism products, being new tourists generally perceived as more educated, interested in local communities culture and in a real interaction with the surrounding environment”. Since 1980 the sustainable tourism has began to be an important issue in the tourism industry (Swarbrooke; 1999). By creating a new infrastructure, hotels and businesses the employment is increasing. By travelling people have a chance to experience new cultures and traditions, although not every tourist is keen to do that and some visitors are not interested in it and ignore host communities. Sustainable tourism development is directed especially to create a better understanding of tourism, of how to achieve balance between economic, cultural and environmental aspects of tourism development. It is necessary to encourage people to take responsibility for the environment. Moreover, fair distribution of tourism benefits is necessary and the bigger involvement of local community in the tourism development decisions of their region has to be improved. The sustainable tourism directs to reduce negative impact on environment by introduction of quieter, more fuel efficient aircraft to start from to maximizing economic benefits for the host community rather than the visitors countries. Mass tourism is strongly connected to the high seasonal tourism caused by the great demand of 3’s tourism tourists all over the world (Bramwell; 2004). That is why diversification of tourism like development of rural tourism has been developed to minimize saturation of the beaches in the high seasons and to avoid mass tourism. The development of sustainable tourism in very important for the countries where tourism industry is a main element of the local economy because the traditional beach holidays will decline caused by the saturation if the mass tourism will be increasing with that speed (Swarbrooke; 1999). According to Perry (2001), the climate change caused by humans will result in future modification of the climate conditions for example in the Mediterranean area, whereas the northern and western Europe climate will be improved.
In 1992 on the conference in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil the first strategy document on sustainable tourism has been announced - Agenda 21 as the basic economic model of tourism in XXI century (Hanna; 2010). Although, the Agenda 21 has meet various criticism mostly “due to its non-binding treaties allowing most of the recommendations surrounding climate change and various other cultural issues to be ignored by the international community” (Hanna; 2010). Nowadays, alternative forms of tourism have been emphasized but taking in account that even small group tours can be damaging the sustainable tourism is hard to accomplish.
Latest debate of Tourism Concern came to a conclusion “that all-inclusive holidays, arguably the epitome of mass-packaged tourism consumption should be banned” (Farrington; 1999 cited in Sharpley and Telfer; 2002; 304). For example Gambia’s tourism authorities have banned all-inclusive holidays in 1999 (Sharpley and Telfer; 2002). It is an effective contribution to the development of destination. This could be a possible solution of applying sustainable tourism into a real life but it is doubtful if it would work for every country. Another alternative solution suggested by France (1997;89) is “the development of holiday complexes which provide artificial ´sun-warm water` environments (e.g. Center Parc villages), located at points of maximum market access” which could be an exit for achieving sustainable tourism just if the great number of people would choose it instead of “normal” holidays.
In conclusion, the growth of tourism seems to be inevitably unsustainable. Tourism is giving employment and economic benefits but for example in the Third World countries the division of money is unequal. The powerful developed countries are always going to be stronger than less developed countries if management will not be carefully planned. So even if tourism is bringing money, it is not always bringing it to the right place. Nowadays people blinded by money forgetting about more important things like passing their tradition to the next generation by conserving it.
Mass tourism is termed as a neo-colonialism which can be compared to army forces where instead of their invasion we have an invasion of the tourist influx (Dziedzic; 1998). There is no solution to stop people from travelling. The great understanding of negative impacts would lead to better sustainable tourism development but this need a high number of people involved in it which is hard to accomplish as nowadays people don´t think much about the future risk related to the planet because “not to go away is like not possessing a car or a nice house. It is a marker of status in modern societies” (Urry; 1990;4). There is a lack of sustainable understanding and adequate tourism control to develop sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism will not eliminate negative impacts of tourism but it could be a way to minimize its impact. Because if the growth in mass tourism will continue as fast as it does now the global warming will be arising and some destinations will suffer unbearably high temperatures with an increase in the risk of fire. All those changes will lead tourists to changes in their holiday destinations, which not necessarily means stop of mass tourism. Tourist will continue with transport use even if they will reduce their travels, it will be still environmental damaging. All the facts are coming into conclusion that the best way for sustainable tourism would be staying at home.
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