Tourism is the act of travelling, for more than twenty four hours and not more than one consecutive year, outside your usual environment for fun, adventure, recreation, sports, cultural leisure, business and other purposes.
Tourism, just like any other economic sector has over time developed and outgrown the previous stages of naïve and traditional tourism. With current dynamics in the modern economic arena, tourism is now trending on the modernism phase and quickly moving towards the post-modernism stage.Traditional tourism was generally naïve with most of the tourist such as Christopher Columbus barely trotting the globe in a bid to discover new lands. However, Hartmut Berghoff notes that the neo-civilization have seen numerous developments from the initial traditional tourism. He nevertheless notes that without the distinctive cultural and historical ‘baggage’, the current advancement in tourism that involves the social practice of taking leisure holidays would not have evolved.
Modern Tourism precisely is the evolvement of this industry which concurred with the application of mechanisms and modern techniques in the 20th century that are aimed at developing the industry hence make it viable to attract even more tourists. It is characterized, but not limited to, use of collective visas, charter planes, modern means of transport, starred hotels and reliance on tourist guides. Unlike the traditional tourism, modern tourism involves the participation by the entire population through mass availability and mass participation. Traditionally, there were two classes of people, those who were on holiday on much of their time and those who never took a holiday.
Modern tourism is the largest export earner in the world with an enormous growth potential. As earlier noted, it involves an encounter between the host and the touring guests. The multiplying tourist encounters between the tourists and the host communities most often transforms either of the party. These changes can have a permanent influence and can alter the political and social contexts in which both the tourist and the natives live.But what is the extent to which modern tourism bring either more advantages or disadvantages to popular tourist areas.
Disadvantages and Advantages of modern tourism to popular tourist areas
Over time, there have been many advantages and disadvantages that have been outlined regarding the modern tourism. However, this paper will seek to answer the question most often asked about the modern tourism. In discussion, this paper will establish the extent to which modern tourism bring more disadvantages to the popular tourist areas across the world.
Depletion of Natural Resources
The growing popularity of tourism which is more often unstoppable deteriorates the quality of the natural resources, historic sites and other tourist attraction sites. Such natural resources that are most often depleted include amongst them;
Fresh water is one of the most critical and fundamental natural resources in the globe. Surprisingly, it is almost totally fundamental for any tourism activity thus the industry tend to overuse this resource in hotels, golf courses, swimming pools and for personal use by the tourist. Unexpected rush in tourism industry can lead to the shortage and degradation of water resources. High number of tourist in a tourist attraction site would also mean an increase in the volume of water used hence generating greater volume of waste water. Water consumption rate rise even the more in dryer regions such as along the Mediterranean region where the issue of water scarcity is predominant. Maintenance of recreational facilities in the tourist sites such as the golf course can also lead to acute depletion of water resources. Surprisingly, golf tourism has in the recent years grown in popularity and the number of golf courses has grown rapidly thus more need of even more water for maintenance.
Increased numbers of tourists in an area can create detrimental pressure on local resources such as energy, food and other raw materials necessary for the growth of the industry, some of which may already be in dwindling supply. A sharp rise in consumption of these resources may exacerbate the physical impacts leading to over-exploitation.
Land Degradation and Loss of Bio-Diversity
Increase in the number of tourist to an area can have very detrimental effects on land and biodiversity. An increase in the number of tourists calls for an increase in the number of accommodation facilities and construction of recreational facilities in the tourist attraction sites. While this may be a measure of growth and development, it increases pressure on resources and on scenic landscapes thus leading to direct negative impact on natural resources, both renewable and non-renewable, in the provision of tourist facilities. Need for land to construct these facilities most often leads to deforestation hence loss of bio diversity in the host country.
Tourism Industry, just like any other industry, can cause pollution either through; air emissions, noise, and solid waste and littering, release of oils and chemicals, release of sewage and/or even architectural pollution.
In response to the rising number of tourism in the world, transport by air, road and rail is continuously increasing. This means that tourism is accountable for much of the emissions in the air due to an increase in the air traffic. In 1996, a research that was carried out indicated that a single transatlantic return flight emitted almost half of the carbon (IV) Oxide emissions produced by all other sources such as lighting, heating and motor combustion.These emissions would further lead to occurrence of acid rain, photochemical pollution and the dreaded global warming.
Noise pollution is equally an ever growing problem of the modern life. Modern tourism contributes to this form of pollution through recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and jet skis, cars and buses and airplanes. Air pollution more often causes distress to wildlife in the tourists’ sites and causes stress, emotional distress and hearing problems to the human counterparts who neighbor these tourist sites. The noise pollution would have other detrimental effects such as cause animals in the parks and other tourist sites to alter their natural activity patterns.
Beside air pollution, areas with numerous tourist activities experience waste disposal as one of their serious challenges. This often leads to a vicious cycle where the improper waste disposal can be a major despoiler of the natural environment such as the scenic areas, rivers and even roads. Littering and other poor waste disposals can degrade and greatly damage the physical appearance of a shoreline and river thus leading to death of marine life. This may have a long run effect of reduced tourism. Poor garbage disposal also occur in mountain climbing where tourist leaves their garbage behind them. Such practices degrade a previously attractive environment.
Another environmental pollution hazard associated with tourism is aesthetic pollution. This means that tourism industry often fail to effectively integrate with the natural environment and indigenous architectural designs of the attraction sites. This therefore leads to a crash between aesthetic design and the indigenous structural designs. Lack of proper land planning has lead to sprawling developments along coastlines often destroying the natural beautiful scenes.
Alteration of ecosystems by Tourist Activities
Time has proven that habitat can be greatly degraded by tourism activities. For instance, when tourists come close to the wildlife during wildlife viewing, it can cause stress to the wildlife and thereof affect their natural behavior. Wildlife watching and safaris also degrade the habitat since they are often accompanied by noise and commotion as tourists chase wildlife in trucks or in aircraft. These activities, most often bear detrimental behavioral changes. Such cases have been evident in Kenya where animals have been often become so disturbed that they have at times neglected their young ones and at times, it have been reported that they fail to mate.
Physical Impacts of Tourism Development
Attractive tourist sites such as landscapes, lakes, riversides, sandy beaches slopes and mountains tops are transitional zones characterized by an ecosystem rich with species . Tourism cause typical physical impacts which include degradation of the environment and such ecosystems. An ecosystem basically is the environment in equilibrium that includes all living organism such as human beings, plants and microorganisms, their immediate physical surrounding such as the soil, air and water and the natural cycle balance that sustains these organisms. Ecosystem in that are there in the current environmental world include amongst them, rain forest, mangroves, wetlands, alpine regions ,sea grass beds and coral reefs. Surprisingly, these very places are most often attractive to developers and tourist thus the threats and pressure on these systems is often severe.But how does modern tourism lead to physical impact of this ecosystem? This is an intricate line of thought that can be expounded as follows.
Construction Activities and Infrastructure Development
The need for tourist facilities such as recreation facilities, accommodation facilities, restaurants and water supply systems most often involve mining, extensive paving, soil erosion and beach and sand dune erosion. These activities lead to an invasion on the earlier balanced ecosystem thus leading to degradation. Furthermore, construction of roads and airports to support the tourism industry can lead to a negative imbalance in the ecosystem thus leading to degradation and can also lead to loss of the wildlife natural habitats and the deterioration of scenery. In some parks such as the Yosemite National Park in the USA, the size of the natural habitats have greatly reduced due to an increase in the number of roads and related facilities to keep in pace with the rising number of modern tourists.
Deforestation and Intensified or unsustainable use of land
Construction of some of the facilities such as ski resort accommodations most often requires clearing of forested land thus leading to deforestation. Such activities also happen in the coastal lands where the wet land is filled due to lack of other suitable lands. These practices are detrimental and can cause disturbances and erosion of the ecosystem and this can get even more severe in the long time.
Marina Developments and breakwaters
These breakwaters and currents usually cause major changes in coastal currents and coastlines. Extensive building of pavements along the shorelines can lead in destruction of the natural habitats and disruption of the natural connection between the land and the sea where wildlife such as sea-turtles use the dry land to build nesting spots.
The habitat is also equally being destroyed through extraction of building materials from the sea and its environs. Some of these include sand extraction that most often affect the coral reefs, hinterland forests and mangroves leading to massive erosions and consequently destruction of the ecosystems. This have been witnessed in tourist sites in the Philippines and Maldives where mining of coral and dynamiting in search for building materials for resorts have damaged the rather fragile coral reefs and has consequently depleted the aquatic life and fisheries that more or less support and sustain the local people and similarly attract tourists.