Script - V-16 Environmental Impacts of Tourism (Cut)
Slide #1: Welcome to video #16 in my series of presentations that will attempt to “demystify tourism”. I’m Dr. Stan McGahey, the creator and narrator of the videos. Their content is based on my experiences worldwide as a professor, consultant, writer, manager, and tourist in more than 80 countries on 6 continents.
Slide #2: Tourism’s environmental impacts, including those on land, water, and air; plants and animals; and diverse ecosystems, come from three basic sources. First is everything the tourism industry does to develop its infrastructure, facilities, and products. Second is everything it does to operate them profitably by attracting and satisfying tourists. And, third are those created by the attitudes, behaviors, and actions of the tourists themselves.
Slide #3: Among tourism’s main positive impacts are its ability to educate tourists about the environment and deepen their appreciation and concern for it. This new generation of environmentally-aware tourists, ranges from green tourists who are vocal about their expectations of environmental best practices, to ecotourists who take their demands into the more remote and pristine corners of the world.
Slide #4: When the primary attractions or settings are based on environmental resources, locals learn to value their environment and take better care of it. Tourism helps promote conservation of natural resources because they are now seen as assets that earn revenue by generating entrance fees and creating jobs. A special tax is often charged that is dedicated to financing conservation.
Slide #5: National parks, have achieved great success, in preserving and showcasing the natural beauty and biodiversity around the world, as have programs, such as UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere, and its World Heritage Sites for Nature. Many other parks, marine reserves, and protected areas also conserve the environment, and provide a setting for outdoor activities. Without tourism to lobby for these protected areas and provide funding, much less be set aside and supported, by local communities.
Slide #6: As the environment became a major thrust in many destinations in the last quarter of the 20th century, the tourism industry developed concepts such as ecotourism, responsible tourism, and sustainable tourism. High-profile organizations have been founded to develop and promote these concepts, such as The International Ecotourism Society and the Adventure Travel Trade Association.
Slide #7: Tourism’s three main negative impacts are its physical impacts, pollution, and loss of natural resources. As tourism continues to develop everywhere, it involves a great deal of construction, from clearing land and building infrastructure for lodges and resorts, to opening hiking trails and ski runs, to widening roads, expanding airports, and dredging seaports, that transform the physical environment. Some tourism businesses operate in a “green”, sustainable manner. Others, look for short-term profit, and ignore environmental best practices. Governments are also guilty when they pass laws, yet fail to enforce them or eliminate exemptions.
Slide #8: Tourism development clears land and often causes deforestation, as facilities are built to support tourism. Water is scarce in many cities and islands. Tourists worsens the problem since tourists often use much more water per day that the typical local person, and attractions such as golf courses and theme parks use large amounts of water for their operations. Communities must make wise decisions in regards to the type of destinations they allow to be developed, based on the capability of their natural resources.
Slide #9: Tourism used to be touted as the ”Industry without smokestacks”, which is still true in theory. But it is also true, in fact, that tourism can be a major source of pollution. Among the forms of pollution attributed to the tourism industry are air, noise, water, sewage, and solid waste pollution. Vehicles, both on-road and off-road, contribute to air and noise pollution, as well oil pollution. Lodging and dining facilities are often responsible for chemical pollution. Littering despoils the environment, as do architectural and visual pollution.
Slide #10: When properly planned and operated, tourism is an alternative source of revenue in destinations that might otherwise turn to extractive industries that pillage their environment. But tourism must do its part also, or it will damage the very resources that tourists come to see, and in effect, “Kill the goose that lays the golden egg”. Establishing and adhering to the physical carrying capacity within each destination will help limit the negative environmental impacts of tourism. Now, I invite you to watch Video #18: Three Tourism Carrying Capacities. Thank you!