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Environmental Impacts of Tourism in Mauritius

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Tourism has become the main focus for countries mainly for Small Island developing states and has affected residents in terms of economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts. So, there is a need to understand how local resident's perceptions contribute towards tourism. The purpose of the study is mainly to provide a theoretical basis and framework for assessing host attitudes on the environmental impacts of tourism in Mauritius. Tourism and the environment are interrelated; the relationship between tourism and the environment has been universally recognized with the rapid increasing demand of tourists interacting with the natural environment. Tourism has the capacity to preserve as well as to destroy the environment. Studying the environmental impacts is a critical component of understanding how tourism affects the environment in Mauritius. An extensive literature covers the nature of the main interaction of tourist and host, characteristics of host-tourist relationship and their association with the environment. Researchers have been more interested towards the interaction between the tourists and the host. However, there are previous studies that have looked into the issue from tourist perspective. For achieving the purpose of the study a questionnaire was designed and a survey was done among the local residents. For the analysis part, quantitative approach was applied and the aim and objectives were in line with the majority of relevant literature. Consequently the methodology was elaborated, the sampling designs adopted, choice of instrument used, data collection follow the requirements, the limitation of the study was discussed and this leading to the conclusion and recommendation of the study.

1.1 Profile of Mauritius

Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean situated in the African continent. The area of Mauritius is about 2,040 sq.km. and its population is around 1.3 million. The ethnic groups consist of: Indo-Mauritians 68%, Creoles 27 %, Sino-Mauritian 3% and Franco-Mauritian 2%.Religions found in Mauritius are: Hindu 48 %, Creoles 27 %, Muslim 16.6 %, Christian 8.6% and others 2.5 %. Since 1968, Mauritius has evolved from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a middle-income diversified economy with growing industrial, financial and tourist sectors. The economy rests on sugar, tourism, textiles and apparel and financial services and it is also expanding into information technology. Annual tourism growth has been in the range of 5 % to 6%. This remarkable growth has led to more equitable income distribution, increased life expectancy, lowered infant mortality and much improved infrastructure. Mauritius is has become is one among the most successful and competitive economies in Africa; 2010 GDP at market prices was estimated at $9.5 billion and per capita income at $7,420, one of the highest in Africa. Moreover, Mauritius also has international relations with countries found in the west ,with India and countries of southern and eastern Africa. It is a member of the African Union (AU), World Trade Organization (WTO), the commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Indian Ocean Commission, the common market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

1.2 Problem Statement

Tourism is a major industry and remains a valuable sector in many countries of the world. Tourism also contributes significantly to the country's economy. Like most destinations; the development of tourism presents challenges to a country's environment. As tourism development become more widespread, there tend to be changes in the environment (Husband & Harrison, 1996), the capacity to absorb large numbers of people will be challenged (WTO, 1990) and environmental problems tend to rise. Recently, Mauritius has been facing some considerable negative environmental impacts from the tourist industry. This issue is quite debatable, because negative environmental impacts of tourism must be minimized and the aim must be towards building a green Mauritius. The challenge is therefore to maintain the long-term sustainability of tourist industry in Mauritius and subsequently derive benefits from it. Very oftten, tourism is seen as an opportunity for economic development, a tool for natural resource conservation and an opportunity for community development and empowerment of locals. As such, it becomes important to assess resident's perceptions of the environmental impacts of tourism in Mauritius and to know whether residents support tourism development occurring or not. Understanding resident's attitudes is complicated. Research shows that resident's attitudes towards the environment are an indication of support for tourism development (Gursoy, 2002 & Jurowski, 1997). A good understanding of the factors influencing support for development is important for residents, investors and policy makers (Gursoy & Rutherford, 2004). Resident's must have positive perceptions of tourism in order to sustain tourism development in a country and it is agreed that active support from the host population contributes towards sustainability of a country.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

The aim of this study is to assess resident's perceptions of the environmental impacts of tourism in Mauritius. Tourism impacts are very complex to model as such investigating resident's perceptions is a good method to analyze the status of tourism impacts prevailing in a country and to know resident's support for future tourism development. The purpose of this study is therefore, to analyze environmental impacts in Mauritius resulting from tourism activities with the objectives to understand the nature of these impacts. To meet the above goals, four specific objectives have been developed.

The objectives are as follows:

  1. To investigate resident's perceptions of the environmental impacts of tourism in Mauritius
  2. To find out if residents in Mauritius are aware of environmental issues
  3. To investigate the extent to which locals are involved in sustaining the environment
  4. To measure resident's attitudes and responsibility towards environmental practices  

Following these objectives two hypotheses have been put forward for testing.

H1: There is a significant relationship between length of residency and positive environmental impacts of tourism

H 5: There is a significant relationship between gender and environment oriented activities

1.4 Outline of dissertation

Chapter 1-Introduction

This chapter outlines the purpose of the research and the layout of the dissertation. The profile of our study that is Mauritius is also found in this chapter.

Chapter 2-Literature Review

In this chapter, the literature review consists of the various issues such as: resident's perceptions towards tourism, positive and negative environmental impacts of tourism, tourism development and environmental sustainability in Mauritius.

Chapter 3-Methodology

This part covers the type of methodology that was used for conducting the survey and also highlights the limitation of the survey.

Chapter 4-Results and Discussions

This part shows the results obtained from the questionnaires that were distributed to residents in different regions. Data has been analyzed using graphical and Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) Software.

Chapter 5-Conclusions and Recommendations

The last part identifies the possible solutions for the problems encountered with the poor involvement of locals and of the positive perceptions of residents towards environmental impacts of tourism, leading to a concluding note of the project.



2.1 Introduction

The Tourism Industry is regarded as one of the most important and fastest growing industry around the world. Travel has been of great interest to people since the beginning of the civilization. Recently, it has been noted that there has been an increase in tourist's arrivals, especially in small island states. According to UNWTO, tourism will continue to grow in 2011. Tourism sector has suffered from the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, but thanks to the improved economic conditions worldwide, international tourism has been able to recover from the decline brought in the financial crisis (United Nations, 2010). The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest and most dynamic industries in the world and this industry is expected to generate about 9% of global GDP and provide for more than 235 million jobs representing 8 % of global employment (Merco Press, 2010).The WTO has set up the long-term forecast of the assessment of the development of tourism up to the first 20 years of the new millennium known as the Tourism 2020 vision.UNWTO's Tourism 2020 vision predicts that international arrivals are expected to be over 1.56 billion by the year 2020. Among the worldwide arrivals in 2020, 1.2 will be within the same region and 0.4 will be long distance travellers. The top three receiving regions will be Europe with 717 million tourists, East Asia and the Pacific around 397 million and the Americas with 282 million, followed by the Africa, Middle East and South Asia (UNWTO, 2011). As such, the tourist will continue to be a flourishing industry in the coming years. Tourism has been described as the smokeless industry that can bring maximum benefit to a community as compared to other economic activities.

2.2 Tourism impacts

There are many academic researchers that have been done on the impacts of tourism. Many local communities believe that tourism bring changes in social, cultural, environmental and economic positions where tourism activities have had a close connection with the local communities (Beeton, 2006; Richards & Hall, 2000).It is imperative to understand and assess tourism impacts so as to ensure that sustainability is maintained in the long-term of the tourism industry (Diedrich & Garcia-Buades, 2008).As such, it becomes important to understand tourism impacts towards the community. Thus, the model at figure 1 helps to illustrate tourism impacts on the community.

2.2.1 Model of Support for Tourism development

In the twenty-first century, researchers on tourism believe that there are two categories of impacts which are the positive and negative impacts and they have a direct occurrence on the host community as a result of tourism development (Fredline and Faulkner, 2000; Upchurch and Teivane, 2000). For example, as Ryan (1991) states that the greatest impacts of tourism will occur when there is a greater gap between the culture and income level of both host and tourist.

Local's perceptions towards the tourism impacts can vary significantly. According to Sharma (2004), if residents have more positive attititudes towards tourism impacts, tourism development will be more successful in a community. If resident's benefit from tourism development they support additional tourism planning and development in a community. Gursoy & Rutherford (2004) outlines that tourism developers need to consider the perceptions and attitudes of residents before investing in scarce resources. In addition, understanding of residents perceptions towards tourism impacts can also help in identifying the types of tourism which have the potential for building community capacity (Moscardo, 2008, p.86). So, there exist different types of tourism impacts which have been discussed in details.

2.2.1 Economic impacts

In the beginning, tourism was encouraged because of its economic impacts. It is highly accepted that tourism provides economic benefits to the community..Economic impacts are easier to research in a local community because it is small and generally it is more accessible. Moreover, tourism bring positive benefits on local economies and creates a visible impact on a country's national GDP growth which can be an essential component for community development and poverty reduction. (Ashe, 2005). For instance, tourism creates employment for locals, investment opportunities, business opportunities, tax revenues for government and it also help small and medium enterprises for countries, regions and communities to expand (Ryan, 1998; Choi & Sirakaya, 2005; Dyer, 2007) but on the other hand tourism can have negative economic impacts on the society such as: too much dependency on foreign capital, inflation , leakages and a low education trap for locals (Giannoni & Maupertus, 2007). Yet, more important is the benefits spread to the residents of local communities (Scheyvens, 2001).

2.2.2 Social and cultural impacts

According to (Law, 1993) social and cultural impacts refer to changes to resident's everyday experiences as well as to their values, way of life and intellectual and artistic products such as: arts, artifacts, customs, rituals and architecture. Social and cultural impacts are strongly interrelated and not limited only to the host area population (Glasson, 1995, p.34).In many destinations, the nature and traditional meanings of culture may be substantially changed when culture is redefined as market share (Earrington and Gewertz, 1996). Because of this, a host community may face cultural problems of the commercialization of culture, religion and the arts together with the misuse of indigeneous culture as attractions and be forced to adopt cultural habits of the tourists, such as their language, dress and manner to satisfy visitors (Cohen, 1979).Another downside of tourism development is seen in many parts of the world where tourism developments threaten the displacement of local people. On the other hand, (Glasson, 1992) argues that along with the downside of development, there are cultural benefits and intercultural communication between hosts and visitors that increase good understanding between them and without tourists, local culture and tradition may have been lost completely, as there is no market for traditional products.

2.2.3 Environmental impacts

Environmental impacts occur as a result of tourism development in many regions of the world as communities struggle to find an optimal balance between optimal and conservation. Recently, it has been found that tourism activities are highly dependent on the environment. Research has shown the impacts that tourism has on natural resources (Green, Hunter and Moore, 1990).Most of the researchers have been conducted on natural or semi-natural areas, with very little research done on urban settings (Green, 1990).Specific sites have been examined such as Alpine areas (Goodman, 1989; Rodriguez, 1987), islands (Wilkinson, 1989), coastal areas (Martinez-Taberner, Moya and Forteza, 1990). In addition, most research has been focused around the negative impacts that tourism has on natural resources after the damage has taken place. As such, tourism is always blamed to be responsible for resource degradation (Farell and McLellan, 1987). Broader perspectives of the environmental impacts of tourism are discussed in the next paragraph.

2.3 The Environmental Impacts of Tourism

“The environment is probably one of the most important contributors to the desirability and attractiveness of a destination. Scenic sites, amenable climates and unique landscape features have an important influence in tourism development and the spatial distribution of tourism movement.” (Coccossis and Nijkamp, 1995, p.4)

Tourism and the environment are interrelated as tourism is dependent on natural resources to survive. There are studies that have identified both the positive and negative environmental impacts of tourism (Burns & Holden, 1995; Puckzo & Ratz, 2000). Some of negative and positive impacts of tourism on the environment are illustrated in table 2.3.

Table 2.3.1 'Balance sheet' of environmental impacts of tourism

Area of effect

Negative impacts

Positive impacts


Disruption of breeding/feeding


Killing of animals for leisure (hunting) or to supply souvenir trade. Loss of habitats and change in species composition Destruction of vegetation

Encouragement to conserve animals as attractions.

Establishment of protected or conserved areas to meet tourist demands

Erosion and physical damage

Soil erosion

Damage to sites through trampling Overloading of key infrastructure (e.g. water supply networks)

Tourism revenue to finance ground repair and site restoration

Improvement to infrastructure prompted by tourist demand


Water pollution through sewage or fuel spillage and rubbish from pleasure boats Air pollution (e.g. vehicle emissions) Noise pollution (e.g. from vehicles or tourist attractions: bars, discos, etc.) Littering

Cleaning programs to protect the attractiveness of location to tourists

Resource base

Depletion of ground and surface water

Diversion of water supply to meet tourist needs (e.g. golf courses or pools) Depletion of local fuel sources Depletion of local building-material sources

Development of new/improved sources of supply

Visual/structural change

Land transfers to tourism (e.g. from farming)

Detrimental visual impact on natural and non-natural landscapes through tourism development

Introduction of new architectural styles

Changes in (urban) functions Physical expansion of built-up areas

Regeneration and/or modernization of built environment

Reuse of disused buildings

For the negative impacts of tourism, Puckzo and Ratz (2000) observed that tourism development that are not well-planned often leads to increased stress on destinations and in negative changes in the destination's physical and socio cultural attributes. According to Wood (1991), it is possible to identify broad categories of impacts that may affect all destinations. Therefore, it is important to elaborate on the positive and negative impacts of the environment. The negative environmental impacts of tourism can be as follows:

2.3.1 Water Pollution

Water pollution is believed to be one of the environmental impacts caused by tourism. It can affect surfaces such as rivers, lakes and oceans. Chemical and oils spills from boats can cause devastating water pollution that kills water birds, shellfish and other wildlife. Tourists can also contribute to the degradation of the marine life also through:snorkelling,scuba diving and sport fishing can threaten fisheries and other marine resources. For example, tourism is known to have contributed to inappropriate development around Lake Tahoe in the United States (Iverson, Sheppard & Strain, 1993) and at Pattaya in Thailand (Mieczkowski, 1995); oil pollution in water at King George island (Harris, 1991).

2.3.2 Waste Disposal

Apart from the consumption of large amounts of natural resources, the tourism industry also produces considerable waste and pollution. In fact, disposal of liquid and solid waste generated by the tourism industry has posed a problem for many developing countries and some countries are incapable of treating these waste materials. This has led to reducing the availability of natural resources such as fresh water. For example, in Kerala state the tourist industry collapses after two decades of fast growth because there was inadequate disposal of solid waste. Tourists also contribute to land pollution from solid waste and the contamination of marine waters and coastal areas from pollution generated by marinas, hotels and cruise ships. For example: the cruise ships in the Caribbean Sea alone produced more than 70,000 tons of liquid and solid waste a year during the mid-1990s (UN,1999).the cruise sector around the world are facing this problem. In fact, the expansion of the cruise sector ensures that the environment is protected across the world oceans and between the world's tourist destinations (Johnson, 2002).

2.3.3 Coastal area degradation

Tourism has already had adverse effects on coastal areas, especially in small islands developing states. Beaches are destroyed by sand quarrying and are normally not being replenished because of the destruction of coral reefs by waste disposal and pollution. Erosion occurs because of tourism facilities and infrastructures built too close to beach destruction and coastal degradation. Destruction to coastal areas is the removal of the mangrove forests which act as a home for birds and other animal which act as a barrier against damage to sea. Marine life can be disturbed by intensive use of thrill craft, boat tours and boat anchors. Anchor damage is regarded as one of the danger to coral reefs in the Carribean Sea as there are a growing number of both small boats and large cruise ships in the region (Michael Hall, 2001).

2.3.4 Climate Change

External environmental shocks could be threatened to tourism, especially climate change such as: global warming and sea-level rise. Rises in sea level could threaten tourism activities particularly in coastal regions and small islands. Global warming is expected to change climate temperature and provoke climate events such as: tropical windstorms, coastal flooding and storms that may affect tourist activities in a destination (UN, 2000).

2.3.5 Land Degradation and littering

Land resources include minerals, fossil fuels, fertile soil, forests, wetland and wildlife. Pressures on natural resources have been increased due to intensive tourism development. Tourism can lead to the clearance of native vegetation for the development of new facilities and infrastructure; demand for fuel wood will be increased and even forest fires. Fragile areas such as: rain forests, wetlands and mangroves are threatened by tourism activities. Littering cause by tourists degrade the physical appearance of the environment. For example: tourists on expeditions leave behind their garbage and belongings. Such practices by tourists degrade the environment and some areas have few disposal facilities.

2.3.6 Damage to ecosystems

The delicate ecosystems of most small islands are damaged by tourism activities, because they rely heavily on tourism. Tourism activities which are not properly controlled can also cause severe disruption of wildlife habitats and increased pressure on endangered species. For example, in Africa's national parks tourists vehicles approach wild animals and very often distract them from hunting and breeding, (Masny, 2001). Trampling occurs by tourists, they use the same trail and trample the soil, causing damage which lead to loss of biodiversity and other impacts. Habitat loss, fragmentation and erosion in Nepal (Croall, 1995); destruction of wildlife at Zakynthos in Greece (Prunier, Sweeney & Green, 1993); disturbance of animals and loss of area for production in Kenya (Sindiga & Kannunah, 1999).

2.3.7 Air pollution

Tourists contribute towards air pollution. Transport by air, road and rail are continuously increasing. Moreover, polluted air and water, dust, fumes from traffic congestion also degrade the quality and natural beauty of tourist destination (Williams, 1998, p.2) .Air pollution is the result of emissions from vehicles. Although, tourism is not so concerned for the overall emissions problems, recent issues such as: ozone destruction, greenhouse effect and global warming make tourism related to air pollution (Wheatcroft, 1991).But tourism is responsible for a large share of emissions, it accounts for more than 60% of air travel.

2.3.8 Noise pollution and visual pollution

It is a fact that noise pollution from airplanes, cars, buses, discotheques and recreational vehicles are becoming an ever growing problem for modern life. Noise pollution cause disturbance and annoyance to the lives of people, stress for humans and it also causes distress to wildlife in sensitive areas. For example, noise generated by vehicles of tourists can cause animals to change their natural activity patterns .There is a lack of planning that fails to integrate tourism structures. Large resorts may clash with indigenous design. Building and structures; poorly designed do not comply with local building control and cause negative impacts on the picturesque scenery (Williams, 1998, p.2). These may include violations congestion of buildings and structures that are not harmonious with the natural landscape.

2.4 Preservation and conservation

On the other side, tourism also contributes positively towards the environment. Tourism is regarded as the catalyst for preserving natural areas. Doswell (1997) argues that tourism lays emphasis to conserve and protect the environment. Tourism also draws attention to subjects regarding biodiversity, natural resources,endangered species and human impacts on the environment. Tourism is also used as a means to preserve natural areas rather than to develop them for alternative uses such as: agriculture, forestry and mining (Master, 1998). Mathieson and Wall (1982) further argued that tourism has fostered the protection of many species since they serve as major attractions. For example, in Ghana tourism has helped in maintaining the natural reserves.. In this way, natural areas become valuable and this can lead to creation of national parks and wildlife parks. National parks in East Africa were developped almost exclusively because they attract large number of international tourists .For example, in Hawaii, new laws and regulations have been set to preserve the rainforest and to protect native species.

2.4.1 Improvement of infrastructure

The government is encouraged to invest more in infrastructure and recreational facilities when there are large number of tourists coming to a destination. As such, there is an improvement on road system, sewage disposal, and telecommunications among others which tourists use. Tourism can also act as a medium for improving the environment, according to Youell (1998) revenue received from park-entrance fees can be used to pay for protecting and managing sensitive areas. On the hand, in some places government collect money from tourists in indirect ways. For example: revenue obtained from recreation of equipment, license fees  obtained from hunting and fishing can help the government to fund and manage natural resources and finance infrastructure. As such the community will be able to benefit from facilities such as: attractive places, signage, lighting, litter bins and renovation of parks.

2.4.2 Creating environmental awareness

People of the community become more environmental conscious of the problems prevailing in the environment. Tourism makes people becomes more environmental conscious. As such, people's behavior towards the environment will change. Ross & Wall (1999) suggested, tourism has the potential to contribute to both conservation and development and it involves the creation of positive synergetic relationships among tourism, biodiversity, and local people through the application of appropriate management strategies.

2.5 Resident's perceptions towards tourism

Sustainable tourism development can be achieved normally when all stakeholders are involved in tourism development process (Bryd, 2007). Sustainable tourism believes that the community is the focal point of tourism and planning process (Choi and Sirakaya, 2005).In addition, investigating the resident's perceptions towards tourism is important because it influences their behaviour towards tourism (Andriotis and Vaughan, 2003). Studies show that the perceptions of residents towards tourism differ from resident to resident. Sustainable tourism development largely depends on the host's acceptability of tourists and tourism-related programs, offerings and activities by locals (Musa, Hall, and Higham 2004). The active support of the local population is required for tourism development to occur in a community. One indicator that affect's tourism development in a destination is the host attitude (Lepp, 2007). In a destination area, the attitudes of the tourists and residents are taken into account. Another factor that is likely to influence the negative and positive impacts of tourist's destination is resident's attachment to community. Some researchers, Canan and Hennessy (1989) states that the longer the residents live in a community, the more negative they are towards tourism development. The lengths of residency of locals have a direct impact on tourism development.

Theories such as the attribution theory (Pearce, 1989); dependency theory (Preister, 2008), the social representation theory (Andriotis & Vaughan, 2003), Butler's (1980) tourist area life cycle, Doxey's Irridex model (1970), the intrinsic and extrinsic framework (Faulkner & Tideswell, 1997) and the social exchange theory (SET) (Ap, 1982) have been developed  in an attempt to better understand the host perceptions towards tourism. However, it is the SET that have received the greatest attention by scholars attempting to study resident's attitudes towards tourism and their support towards tourism development (Gursoy & Rutherford, 2004).

2.5.1Social Exchange Theory

In a tourism context, social exchange theory would mean an exchange of resources between the tourists and the host population where each of them supply each other with valued resources (Ap, 1990).SET implies that residents who gain benefits from the tourism industry are likely to perceive the industry as positive and thus support tourist industry, while those who perceive themselves incurring costs because of tourism would display negative attitudes towards tourism thereby opposing such development. Social exchange theory firmly believes that a need exists to measure the level of active participation of residents in the planning and development process associated with tourism development (Wang & Pister, 2008). But, the theory has been criticized by stating that humans are isolated individuals and they respond like computer machines (Pearce, 1996). Furthermore, this theory needs to be further tested due to the complex nature of residents both in isolation and as collective individuals (Zhang, 2006). So, to have a better idea of resident attitude it is important to look at the intrinsic and extrinsic model.

2.5.2 Factors affecting resident's attitudes towards tourists

2.5.2 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Model

The factors that affect resident's attitudes towards tourism are intrinsic and extrinsic variables (Faulkner & Tideswell, 1997).The intrinsic variables refer to “the characteristics of the host community that affect the impacts of tourism with the host community” (Faulkner & Tideswell, 1997, p.6) and includes factors such as: employment, length of residence, proximity to tourist zones and involvement within the tourism industry. Length of residency affect tourism development in a community, native born of the community have been found to have more negative perception of tourism development because they are attached to that place (Madrigal, 1995). On the other hand, Bisle and Hoy (1980) found a positive relationship between distance of residence from the tourist zone and perceptions. As regards to community attachment, studies showed that the longer a host has been a resident in the area; as such they become less attached to tourism (Weaver, 2001). Residents who are dependent and involved in the tourism sector are more likely to have positive attitudes towards tourism (Lindberg, 1997). The intrinsic variable shows that the host community is not homogeneous but rather heterogeneous meaning that the perceptions of tourism differ among the residents (Andriotis & Vaughan, 2003)'

The extrinsic factors are “the characteristics of a location with respect to its role as a tourist destination including the nature and stage of tourist activity and the types of tourists involved” (Faulkner & Tideswell, 1997, p.6).The extrinsic factors that are likely to influence host attitudes towards tourism is the stage of tourism development occurring in a destination (Andriotis & Vaughan, 2003) as argued by Butler (1980) and Doxey (1975). The extrinsic factors are: seasonality, type of tourists, particular stage of development, the tourist guest-ratio (Doxey, 1973; butler, 1980; Ap, 1983).Seasonality affect a destination, during peak seasons there is high flow of tourists resulting in economic inflation, traffic congestion and this affect the residents way of lives on the other hand, residents who are dependent on tourism are likely to tolerate these disruptive conditions  (Rothman, 1978; Beliste, 1980; Sheldon, 1984).The type of tourists is another factor that affects resident's perceptions of tourism. Some tourists are independent travellers while others depend on locals, they try adjust with locals they accept the hosts local conditions (Amir, 1985; Page 2003). In understanding resident's perceptions towards tourism, the stage of development is considered among the most important factors. To better illustrate this issue, it was important to investigate Butler's Tourism Destination Lifecycle Model.

2.5.3 Butler's Area Life Cycle

Another model in regard to the host-tourist destination is Butler's Area Lifecycle Model. Although that this model dates three decades, it is still academically recognized. Butler (1980) believes that tourist areas evolve and change over time. According to this evolution, the stages that tourist areas experience are: exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, decline or rejuvenation. Using a life-cycle model, Butler describes the resident and tourist involvement in destination area. Unlike products, destinations have a lifecycle too.

2.5.4 Butler Area lifecycle model

Butler Area Lifecycle Model

Moreover, Butler has also explained why tourism leads to unsustainability. By using the example of the life-cycle model, he describes how a small group of tourists explore a natural attraction by involving local residents and making subsequent development of the area. With time, the number of tourists grows, eventually leading to mass tourism. And if the tourism products are not rejuvenated, stagnation occurs at the destination and there is a fall through over-consumption of tourism products which is beyond the carrying capacity of the destination (including adverse effects on the environment).Butler also focuses that if there is no proper management and control, environment degradation is inevitable once carrying capacity has been reached and then exceeded making mass tourism unsustainable. As noted by Jamison (1999), at the stagnation stage, locals have begun to express some discontent with tourism and its effects. When a destination develops, unmet resident's expectations and other negative impacts of development are also likely to result in changes and attitudes towards the industry. (Teye, Sonmez and Sirakaya, 2002). The TALC S-shaped curve has also been used to describe the host-guest dichotomy- from the excitement of the potential of tourism through to resentment of tourists, resulting from exceeding local social carrying capacity. However, certain limitations have been found in Butler's model. It has been pointed out that the model “assumes a degree of homogeneity of community reactions” (Mason and Cheyne, 2000), but Butler denies by saying “a consistent evolution of tourist area can be conceptualized”.Tosun (2002) suggests that this model applies to specific areas and not all areas because the cycle varies from one tourist area to another and the perceptions of residents differ from each other and they are not homogeneous.

2.5.5Doxey's Irritation Index

Doxey's Irritation Index or Irridex can be associated with Butler's life cycle theory, which describes the resident-tourist interaction and attitude. This model explains host community reaction to tourism development in a specific area. The model outlines that negative impacts of tourism development might make residents feel irritated as with time host and tourists become incompatible with each other. The model has four stages which vary from euphoria, apathy, annoyance and to antagonism. Although Doxey's (1975) irridex is regarded as one of the most influential theory starting from Euphoria to Antagonism, one limitation of this theory can be identified, is that the model assumes that the community is homogeneous. The study implies that is the whole community that becomes irritated because of tourists, but very often different sections of the community have different attitudes and only part of the community is heterogeneous towards tourism (Zhang, 2006).

2.6 Resident's perceptions towards environmental impacts of tourism

The environment is one of the main area in which residents assess the potential impacts of tourism before they decide to embrace or reject it. According to Kuvan and Akan (2005, p.703) residents are more sensitive and concerned for problems related to the environment than the other negative impacts of tourism. Following this, Liu, Sheldon, and Var (1987) reported that residents have high ratings for environmental impacts. Kuvan and Akan (2005) describe scholars interests in investigating into community attitudes towards tourism impacts on the natural environment at a time when ecological problems such as: pollution, depletion of natural resources and deforestation are increasing. This means that mountaineous areas, savannahs, wetlands, deserts, islands and the arctic have biophysical characteristics that cause damage to the natural environment. These fragile areas when disturbed normally have relatively slow rates of recovery (Harrison & Price, 1996).

The focus on environmental impacts emerged from residents perceived impacts of the environmental impacts and other tourism impacts such as economic and social impacts of tourism has lagged behind. (Kuvan & Akan, 2005).Moreover, there is a lack of information on resident's perceived environmental impacts of tourism in developing countries (Kuvan & Akan , 2005; Madrgal, 1993). It is an agreed fact that tourism is believed to have a far more visible effect in rural areas and developing countries than urban areas and perhaps tourism has a greater effect on rural residents (Madrigal, 1993, p.337), studies related to resident's perceptions of the environment has focused more on destinations, communities and regions in developed countries rather than on developing countries. Furthermore, a proper analysis of the resident's perceived environmental impacts of tourism could help planners and tourism practitioners to identify real concerns and also to develop appropriate policies and actions.

2.7 Tourism development in Mauritius

Mauritius is among the top 20 beautiful island of the world .Tourism contributes towards the economic growth of Mauritius. The World Bank has mentioned Mauritius as an example for southern Africa of an economy that has attained remarkable success in its economic development (World Bank, 1992; Hwedi, 2001). This success as mentioned cannot be escaped from tourism development, given Mauritius as the choice of destination for European visitors (Prayag, 2009; Prayag & Ryan, 2010).Mauritius's tourism industry success can be measured by the fact that it makes the highest gross domestic product contribution (30 per cent) and receives the second highest yearly total budget allocation(16.1 per cent) of countries in southern Africa (Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa [FTTSA], 2009).The Bank of Mauritius estimated that the tourism receipts for the first semester of 2010 were Rs19,809 million, that is, an increase of 8.5 % compared to Rs 18,249 million for the same period in 2009. Mauritius attracted a record of 934,827 tourists in 2010. The number of visitors increased by 7.3 percent compared with 2009 and exceeded an expected 920,000 tourists for 2010.(Bhuckory, Bloomberg;2011). The central statistics office forecasts 950,000 tourists in 2011. In 2010, there were 112 registered hotels in operation, with a total room capacity of 11,362 and 23,168 bed places. The average room occupancy for all hotels for the first semester of 2010 was 64 % (59 % in 2009) while bed occupancy rate averaged 56 % (52 % in 2009) the total number of people that are employed in the tourism industry as of 2010 was 27,161 (Central Statistics office, 2010).

Mauritius has an important place for the tourism industry and this makes it and interesting case study of tourism development and the challenges facing the hotel industry. The core product of Mauritius is the beach holiday with its associated facilities and activities (Archer, 1985). Mauritius remains no doubt an example of enclave tourism since the start of the tourism industry in the 1950s.As such; the principal development model used by tourism planners has been demonstrated to promote few economic or cultural linkages at local and regional levels (Britton, 1982; Wilkinson, 1989; Freitag, 1994; Kokkranikal, 2003). Luxury hotels has been described as the “the concentration camps of leisure with their fences and armed guards”, luxury hotels have been highly criticised for employing too few local workers and contributing far too little to improve infrastructure in local communities (Cohen, 1984; Reid, 1992). It can be noted that Mauritius has over the years benefitted from the increase number of tourists and foreign currency. The enclave model as mentioned above offers the benefits of restricting the number of tourists to specific areas, away from local people , thus at least limiting the negative impacts of tourism (Kokkranikal; 2003). This model continues to persist in Mauritius, while on the other hand its form has changed due to the government's National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) in 2000, which redefined the island's previous and current position as a high-quality and upmarket tourist destination (Deloitte & Touche, 2002). The change was because of the government concern about the environmental impacts of tourism on the fragile island ecosystems.

2.8 Environmental Impacts of Tourist Industry in Mauritius

Mauritius is among the small island developing states and is known for its outstanding beauty and tropical biodiversity. The fragile nature and population pressures of small island Developing states present many challenges for the conservation of biological diversity (UNDP, Global Environment facility).  The tourism is highly dependent on the physical environment it can be noted tourism in Mauritius brings both positive and negative environmental impacts. Researchers in tourism literature has noted that main islands experience high tourism densities in relation to their population and land area (Archer, 1985;Briguglio & Briguglio, 1996).Therefore, tourism environment impacts in Mauritius has to be managed as the concept of carrying capacity is very critical. Over the years, Mauritius has revised its carrying capacity in order to attain and sustain and even increase the number of tourists coming to Mauritius, and the government has revised its target growth and is expecting 2 million tourists by the year 2015.To achieve this objective, an annual growth of 10 per cent will be necessary. Clearly such an approach is contradictory to principles of attaining sustainable tourism development. SIDS reach their original level of visitors very quickly, but as they increase tourist numbers the natural ecosystem suffers damages. (Briguglio & Briguglio, 1996). Very often, lack of experience and expertise in tourism development often makes it difficult for island commnunities to absorb and manage the inevitable impacts of tourism. (Kokkranikal, 2003).

While tourism is believed to be less environmentally destructive than any other forms of development on tropical islands, many types of the negative environmental impacts may be related to tourism development (Wilkinson, 1989). For example, in Mauritius, recent hotel development projects at Bel Ombre, have dredged the lagoon, constructed jetties and limited local community involvement in his development. Moreover, hotel development around the coastal areas has also been blamed for its contribution to bleaching and degradation of the coral reefs which are an essential element to the natural environment of Mauritius (Global Reef Alliance, 2005).Coral reefs, continue to suffer pressures from increasing populations coastal development and marine-transported litter. Mass tourism is thought to be damaging to reefs habitats by pollution from boats, hotels and other tourism activities or by anchor, trampling and removal of coral as souvenirs. (UNEP, 2008). Turner (2000) stated that the coral reefs in Mauritius were still healthy, but investigations showed some signs of degradation particularly from boat and anchor damage caused to coral reefs. Residential and tourist development are done but lack adequate sewage treatment systems, liquid and solid waste generated by tourists lead to chronic water pollution around urban and tourist areas (Wilkinson 2000).Moreover, wastes generated by tourists lead to the loss of marine life, destruction of coral reefs and coastal beaches. The tourists, and the local population of 1.3 million, make Mauritius one of the most densely populated countries of the region (Wilkinson 2004). One area that needs particular attention is the coast of Mauritius. The marine environment is suffering from overexploitation. For example, the coast of Grand Baie is particularly affected by too many divers and pleasure crafts transporting tourists concentrated in a few specific locations. Sand erosion also occurs due to tourism facilities and infrastructure built too close to the coast which contributes towards beach destruction and coastal degradation. Beach destruction caused by intensive sand mining for tourism related construction is also a feature of many coastal areas. Another coastal destruction is the removal of mangrove forests which are nesting places for birds and other animals. The fragile ecosystem of Mauritius is damaged because of tourism infrastructure and facilities. Deforestation occurs leading to the construction of tourism facilities, as a result causing sand erosion, loss of biodiversity and irreversible damage to wildlife (UNEP,2002).

Tourism also brings positive benefits to the environment. The island of Mauritius is known for its unique flora and fauna with high level of endemism. Moreover, Mauritius is known for having the third most endangered flora in the world by the IUCN (World Conservaton Union). A National Biodiversity Strategy plan has been proposed with the following sectors: forest biodiversity, terrestrial biodiversity, freshwater, coastal and marine aquatic biodiversity; biotechnology and sustainable ecotourism (National Biodiversity Strategy, 2007).Eight islets have been proclaimed as Islets National Park. There has also been the contribution of other stakeholders and local NGOs like the Mauritius Wildlife foundation and international partners including the World Bank, Global Equity Fund, UNEP and private donors. Several international organizations have been working together with the government to set up conservation areas in Mauritius. About 3.5% of land area in Mauritius has been declared as natural reserves mainly for recreational activities and for ecotourism activities. The natural reserves cover areas containing ecosystem or areas of particularly rich biodiversity which are particularly rich biodiversity and are convenient for ecotourism and educational purposes.The Mauritius Wildlife Foundation supports the creation of national parks and reserves and the monitoring of whales, dolphins and turtles. It has significant success in restoring the populations of several endangered bird species and endemic vegetation. The MWF is also heavily involved in raising awareness of conservation issues among locals and tourists. For example some of the parks found in Mauritius are: Black River Gorges National Park, Blue Bay Marine Park , Pamplemousses garden. Ile aux Aigrettes and Ile Ronde , are two of the most important nature reserves that have been set up endemic plants and native species. In 1997, two marine parks were proclaimed at Blue Bay near Mahebourg and Balaclava on the west coast. Tourism attractions like:Grand Baie, Flic-en-Flac,a and even Belle-Mare, has encouraged the government to spend on facilities and infrastructure which local community can benefit also. Facilities include: improvement on road, water treatment, solid waste disposal and telecommunications. For tourism to be successful in the long run in Mauritius there must be sustainable development.

2.9 Environmental Sustainability- “Maurice Ile Durable”

A large amount of research has been 1ade on sustainable tourism development in developed countries but less has been made on development in small island destinations (Bianchi, 2004; Choi & Sirakaya, 2005). When looking at small island developing states (SIDS), researchers have been concerned mostly with issues related to environment and the heavy economic reliance on the tourism sector (Croes, 2006; Giannoni & Maupertus, 2007; Momsen, 2008).Normally, island destination are characterised by small their small size and population, lack of resources, lack of revenue for imports, high transport costs and lack of infrastructure (Wilkinson, 1989).However, SIDS are blessed with a pristine environment, unique ecosystems and cultural aspects that make them unique from other destinations (Maupertus, 2007). Therefore, environmental management must be an important component in SIDS, especially in the island of Mauritius. As such the concept of “Maurice Ile Durable” was developed. Figure 4 can give a better illustration of this concept.

The government of Mauritius launched the project “Maurice Ile Durable” in 2008. The main aim of the project was to promote sustainable development in Mauritius. As such the main aim of “Maurice Ile Durable” is to make Mauritius worldly recognized for sustainable development particularly in the context of small island developing states. This includes : minimizing our dependency on fossil fuels by increasing utilization of renewable energy, the protection of the environment and social dimension of development are also crucial aspects of “Maurice Ile Durable” (Tourism Strategy, 2010).This approach to sustainable development can be seen in the United Nations (UN) as a framework for the sustainable development for SIDS, also known as the ‘Mauritius Strategy 05', which focuses on managing the environment, monitoring tourism impacts and setting guidelines for managing biodiversity. As a result, island tourism planners have been diversifying away from the sun-and-sand model of development, which targets mass tourism and are targetting high spending patterns and niche segments of the tourism market (Lockhart, 1997; Kokkranikal, 2003). That's why there is an element of suspicion whether these small island states can have determined sustainable futures and follows the UN plan (Scheynes & Momsen, 2008).  Since hotels are the main form of tourism development in Mauritius, stakeholders of the tourism sector must fomulate appropriate tourism policy and destination planning strategies. Before, the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP), tourism development in Mauritius knew no formal long-term planning for the destination. There were no formal legal regulations that were followed by businesses in the tourism sector. The NTDP was followed in 2006 by the Tourism Authority Act, which was further amended in 2008, acted as regulatory body and made better provisions for regulating the operation of tourist enterprises and pleasure craft licences and enforcement notices. For hotel development projects, an act urged hotel developers to install eco-friendly and energy saving practices such as desalination plants and recycling plants.

The Beach Authority in Mauritius also participate in marine environmental conservation and most important act as a platform to sensitize the general public about safety at sea and the need to protect our marine environment and respect zoning systems (Marine Environmental  Education programme, 2008).

Since 2000 there has been no other national tourism planning document for the island. But, in 2008 the government revised the Hotel Development Strategy (HDS) asking hotel developers to strictly follow the requirements of the Planning Guidance (PPG) for coastal development. The document highlights the guidelines on land management, architectural design and eco-friendly practices and make a condition that there will be foreign direct investment in the hotel sector (Ministry of Tourism, Leisure & External Communication [MOTEC], and 2008:1)

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) states that sustainable tourism development should “meet the needs of the present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future”. As such, local people should be given the chance for defining their own needs and planning towards sustainability. Sharpley (2002) believes that sustainable tourism must not be a means to compete for resources but it must rather seek the most efficient ways to share resources within an overall development strategy. In fact, sustainable tourism should reduce poverty, redistribute income, and give better standard of living to locals, conflict resolution (United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP], 1994). Moreover, it is also difficult to see how action plan proposed by the World Tourism Organisation Code of Ethics, Agenda 21 in Rio and Rio10+in Johanesburg, can be viewed at a practical local level (Dodds, 2007). For SIDS, taking in consideration the “Mauritius Strategy 05” and Local Agenda 21 (LA21)  on management of biodiversity  community involvement is important in planning decisions  to address the three-fold bottom line of sustainability which are: social, environmental and economic) and this helps to provide a holistic path towards sustainable development.

For instance, in Mauritius, the National Capacity Needs Self-Assessment report of 2005 focused that tourism development was putting pressure on scarce land in the coastal zone and on the fragile ecology of the lagoons (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Environment & National Development Unit [MOFED, MOF &NDU, 2005). In addition, tourism policy has placed greater emphasis on the PPG for coastal development, while social concerns have been of lesser interest to the government. In Mauritius, the Environment Protection Act into force in September 2002 and was remanded in 2008 consolidate and reinforce the institutional and legal framework for the protection of environmental assets; this can be viewed at Annex B. It is for this reason that hotel developpers are now required to submit their Environmental Impact Assessment; this can be viewed at Annex B with their application for hotel development.

In Mauritius, new marine areas have been proclaimed, with supporting regulations and long-term monitoring of coral and fish communities and management of the coastal zone has become a priority (Western Indian Oceans and Marine environment, 2007).

The National Environment Strategy (NES) for the period 1999-2010 includes the policy and objectives aimed at minimising pollution, promoting eco-friendly technology, educating people to be environmentally conscious, conserving resources and protecting the local and global environment (National Environment Strategy, 2010).In accordance with the recommendations of the National Environmental Strategy, an Integrated Coastal Zone Management has been set up to address the increasing incidence of coastal problems and understand the intricate nature of the coastal environment. A new unit under the Ministry of Environment has been set up which is known as “Police de L'Environnement” with the aim of assisting the Ministry in protecting the environment.

To sum up, a shared role between members of the private sector, with some form of government intervention and direct control, tends to be the most appropriate for environmental protection (Briguglio & Briguglio, 1996). Environmental sustainability requires a holistic approach where for instance, land use, environmental management and broader tourism strategies are integrated (Sharpley, 2002).



3.1 Introduction

This chapter deals with one of the fundamental area of any research work. It elaborates on the ways in which data were collected, the methods used, the sampling frame selected and the methods used for analysising data .It also gives an indication about the limitation of the study.

3.2 Research design

Research design refers to the outline or strategies used in answering research questions. Research design also shows the approach and amount of secondary based and primary research you undertake as well as the analysis.

3.2.1 Research Type: Quantitative and Qualitative Research

In research design, there exists both a quantitative and qualitative method. Qualitative research design is a subjective element as it depends on how the people feel and reflect upon certain issues and why they take certain decisions. Under this approach, the interpretive researcher tries “to develop an understanding of social life and discover how people construct meaning in natural settings” (Neuman, 2003:76). While quantitative research can be described as “a formal, objective, systematic process in which numerical data are utilized to obtain information about the world” (Burns and Grove cited) Quantitative research is considered to be more valid and accurate. So, for this study quantitative approach has been used where questionnaires were chosen as the tool for collecting data.

3.3 Sampling design

The sample frame illustrates the essential elements of the targeted population. For the purpose of the study, the selected samples were respondents who were the age of 18 were chosen so as to reduce the risk of getting biased information. Convenience sampling technique was applied for this survey, which is a non-probability sampling technique where subjects are selected because of their convenient accessibility and proximity to the researcher. Convenience sampling was applied because it was impossible to test the entire population as the population is too large and it is impossible to include every individual. Moreover, convenience sampling is fast, inexpensive, easy and the subjects are readily available. This was done with help of self-administered questionnaires that were given to local residents who were available on the streets, shops, beaches, restaurants.During the survey if an individual refused to participate another individual was intercepted and asked to participate. Another resident was thus chosen. The purpose of the survey was explained to the participant. A sample size of 300 questionnaires was distributed among the locals. This research is concerned mainly with people living in Mauritius. Questions were put in English as it is easy to understand.  However, during the survey the researcher came across locals who did not understand English as such the questions were translated verbally in Creole. The respondents were given much time to fill their questionnaires and help were provided to them.

3.3.1 Study area

The sampling frame focused on locals living in tourism areas mainly where tourism development is expanding. As such the study areas for the survey were the coastal areas of Mauritius which attract large number of tourists. So, four strategic areas were identified in Mauritius mainly from four different parts one from the North, East, South and West. The study areas identified were: Grand Bay, Belle Mare, Flic en Flac and Bel Ombre. These coastal areas where identified because these areas attract large numbers of tourists and residents living in these areas perceive tourism impacts differently. The host-tourist interaction is greater in these areas as compared to other parts of Mauritius. Other areas in Mauritius were not chosen because residents in non-tourist zones view impacts of tourism differently compared to those living in the proximity of tourist attractions. It is believed that if resident's, in their daily lives have frequent contact with tourists, they are likely to report negative attitudes. Two measures of this interaction are resident proximity to major tourist attractions (Weaver and Lawton, 2001) and concentration of tourists in a given region (Madrgal, 1995).So, to better explore resident's perceptions towards environmental impacts of tourism these areas were chosen.

3.4 Data Collection design

For this study, the survey instrument used was a structured questionnaire. This method was chosen because it has better responses rates than other methods in previous studies (Andereck & Nickerson, 1997). The questionnaire was designed in a simple way and in a simple language so as to facilitate the respondent in answering it. The survey questionnaire designed for the local residents consisted of three parts. A covering note was put at the top of the questionnaire explaining the purpose of the study Part A contained questions relating to the demographic characteristics of the respondent but no names were collected, thus retaining the privacy of the respondents. The demographic characteristics included: respondent's age, gender, level of education, occupation and length of residency. Part B has 26 items to capture the resident's perceptions of the environmental impacts of tourism. These items relate to the positive and negative aspect of the environment. Thus, the respondent were asked to indicate their level of agreement on a five-point likert scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). Maddox (1985) recommended the use of a Likert-scale in tourism impact research because of its superior validity. Futhermore, part C consisted of 4 close-ended questions. Closed-ended questions were mainly used since it is easier to collect, analyze and interpret data (Appendix A). As such, respondents find it less time consuming and easy to answer. In the close-ended questions, respondents were offered a range of answers to choose from and they were asked to tick boxes where they had a number of alternative answers to choose from and one question is in the simplest form with the answer with either ‘Yes' or ‘No'. Therefore, close-ended questions are popular because there is a set of answers known beforehand that are present in the questionnaire and which are quicker to answer.

3.4.1 Primary data collection

Data collection was carried out with the help of a colleague at different sites. The primary data collection in this research involved survey questionnaires. A questionnaire is regarded as a data instrument that each respondent fills out as part of participating in a research study (Johnson & Christensen, 2004). Primary data collection was done at the end of March 2011 and it lasted for a week. Overall 300 questionnaires were distributed but only 274 were filled which represents a response rate of 91%.

3.4.2 Secondary data collection

Secondary data which refer to existing data were also viewed. These included books, journals, and reports from the Ministry of Environment and documentation from Mauritius Wildlife Foundation.

3.5 Questionnaire pilot testing

After the completing the questionnaire, a pre-test was carried out to get an idea of the response that would be obtained before undertaking the main data collection exercise. During the pilot test ten people were chosen as sample to test the validity of the

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