5 Massive Impacts of Mass Tourism
With over 1 billion people travelling overseas each year, it has become increasingly difficult for countries to support these tourists in a responsible way. Could it be possible that these travellers might be contributing to the environmental and cultural destruction of the places they are visiting?
Water. The most valuable commodity around the world. Travellers in developing countries may not realise how much water they are actually consuming during their trip. Many hotels and resorts are proud of their swimming pools, hot tubs and daily laundry service.
However these facilities, combined with water intensive activities such as the maintenance of golf courses and exotic landscaping, may contribute to regional water shortages which leave locals struggling to find clean water to meet their basic needs. Did you know that the average amount of water consumed by a tourist in one day is the same as the amount of water a local villager would use to produce rice over 100 days?
Maybe it is time for us to think carefully before booking that poolside resort.
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Cultural Destruction – The Hawaiian Example
There are approximately 250,000 native Hawaiians, or kanaka maoli, living across the Hawaiian Islands. As the local tourist economy has flourished, native Hawaiians are finding it increasingly difficult to preserve their culture.
To meet the demand new facilities, hotels and resorts are rapidly built or expanded, often on culturally significant land. For example, the Keonaloa development in Kauai, relocated 22 acres of burial grounds to a 1 acre plot, which was then incorporated into the tourism marketing strategy.
Increased Crime – The Balinese Example
While mass tourism to Bali has had a positive economic impact on both local residents and the Indonesian government, its reputation as a place to party has led to a rise in criminal activity. Kuta, for example, is the centre of nightlife in Bali but sadly it has also become synonymous with drug trafficking and prostitution. As more and more tourists are drawn to Kuta, so too are thieves, kidnappers and extortionists.
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Environmental Impact – The Barbadian Example
Barbados is a small island known for its incredible beaches and diving opportunities. But at what cost?
The marine environment has become damaged by divers who destroy the fragile coral reef system, either through careless tourism practices or by breaking off part of the reef for a souvenir. The diving boats may also damage the reef when they drop their anchor, or through pollution in the coastal waters.
Sadly, this damage is common throughout coral reefs of the world, however, attitudes are slowly changing as countries and businesses recognise the value of reef conservation.
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Threatened Wildlife – The Kenyan Example
Seeing a lion, elephant or cheetah in the wild is a life-changing experience that emphasises the natural beauty of our world. However as more and more tourists travel to African parks to see these animals, the animals are forced to compete for habitat.
In the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya, soaring visitor numbers have damaged roads and grasslands and as a result the animals are forced to compete with both humans, and each other, for limited territory. Luckily, practices are changing as governments seek to protect their natural environment.
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