HOW DOES TOURISM IMPACT THE ENVIRONMENT
The effect of tourism on the environment can be both positive and negative. Each person or group of people will impact the area they visit in a different way. Whether it is in a negative or positive manner is entirely up to the visitor. Let’s consider the NEGATIVE impacts first:
POLLUTION – This is probably the biggest negative factor concerning tourism. People have to travel to their destination. It doesn’t matter if it’s by plane to another country or by car to the local national park, traveling puts emissions into the air.
WASTE – People typically use disposable items when they pack for a trip, after all, it’s a holiday and who wants to be bothered with washing dishes or saving scraps for the compost? Landfill here it comes! PHYSICAL DAMAGE – especially to the local fauna and animal habitat. Tromping carelessly through the forest, smashing down delicate flowers and grasses or burning deadfall and destroying habitat for local ground dwelling animals.
We may not even notice what we are doing but the local area does. NOISE – may not seem like a big deal, but loud noises can scare animals out of the area and possibly even disrupt the local ecosystem. There are some POSITIVE impacts too:
AWARENESS – when people visit an area, they notice things a local person may not. A tourist is more likely to notice a problem like pollution or habitat encroachment and bring it to the attention of local authorities or even the world! EDUCATION – tourists provide an endless supply of people from around the world that can be targeted and educated on everything from forest stewardship to local history and plans for the future. FUNDRAISING – a tourist provides an easy target for fundraising. Tourists pay fees for everything from camping sites and park entry fees, to licenses for fishing and hunting.
The more tourists in a controlled area, means the more money that can be collected for things like education, policing and maintenance of national wilderness areas. ACTION – tourists visiting an area do so for many reasons. Maybe they are looking for someplace quiet where they can commune with nature or perhaps they want to see a piece of history. Whatever the reason, when that tourist returns home, s/he will remember the experience and may feel compelled to do something positive for the environment to help save that area. These are only a few ways that a tourist can impact the environment. Your personal impact as a tourist is entirely up to you
In this unit you have studied how tourism impacts on a range of environments and how the impact of tourism can be managed.
In the examination you will be asked about one or more of these environments. The question will be worth five marks on the Foundation paper and eight on the Higher, so you need to revise carefully for these. In this unit you have completed a case study for:
1. A UK National Park or a coastal area e.g. Lake District or Blackpool
2. A tropical destination e.g. Jamaica or Maldives
3. An extreme environment e.g. Mount Everest base camp,
Nepal or Antarctica
4. An example of eco- tourism e.g. The Galapagos Islands
On the following pages you will find some brief notes about each of the destinations above and some practice case study questions.
A UK National Park: Lake District National Park
Where is the Lake District and why do people visit?
The Lake District National Park is in the North West of England and attracts 14 million visitors every year because it has spectacular scenery – mountains and lakes. There are also lots of opportunities for outdoor activities – hill walking, sailing, mountain climbing and cycling. People also visit the picturesque towns – Ambleside and Keswick to visit major tourist attractions such as Beatrix Potter museum and the pencil museum. What is the impact of tourism?
Footpath erosion from the millions of walkers
Conflicts between farmers and visitors because they leave litter, gates open, cause fires, create traffic congestion which affects their business and livelihood
Traffic congestion as many visitors drive to the Lake District and the narrow country roads are not designed to cope
Changes the character of quiet villages if tourists come in large numbers. Visitors can be noisy and might not respect the rural way of life
Increased house prices as city folk buy second homes in the country, which make the more expensive for the poorer paid country people.
How is tourism managed in National Parks?
The National Park Authority is responsible for developing strategies to cope with large numbers of visitors to protect the residents, local economy, businesses and the rural way of life for the future. It does this in a number of ways:
Development of tourism has been concentrated on specific sites e.g. Lake Windermere and Keswick in order to protect other areas. These developed areas are known as ‘honeypots’
Countryside footpaths have been reinforced to prevent erosion from the huge numbers of walkers
Number of car parks has been increased to take traffic off narrow country roads and to prevent inconsiderate parking
Employment opportunities increased for the local population when traditional farming industries are in decline through the development of ‘honeypots’
A tropical destination: Jamaica
Where is Jamaica and why do people visit?
Jamaica is a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea and is part of a group of islands known as the West Indies. The island receives over a million international visitors each year because it has wide, sandy beaches and attractions in the cities and towns such as bars, museums and theme parks.
8% of the population are employed in tourism and it’s a very important industry to the country because each tourist spends on average US$931 which is a 20% contribution to GDP.
What is the impact of tourism?
Jamaica is a destination that both benefits and suffers from ‘mass tourism’ Mass tourism is tourism on a large scale to a particular country or area. The destination will be at the development or consolidation stage on the Butler’s life cycle model. Negative impacts include: Using up the little water the country has on swimming pools