Despite challenges such as travel
restrictions as well as safety and security concerns, there has been a rapid
growth in the global tourism industry throughout the years. According to a
report from World Tourism Organization the number of international tourists is
expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2020 and 1.8 by 2030 which implies the
significance of tourism sector in the future (www.e-unwto.org). Tourism holds great
potential and can contribute to a country in several aspects, specifically to a
country’s economy and environment, however the implications followed by tourism
are not all positive and some countries face challenges, including
environmental challenges that are alarming.
The link between tourism and the
physical environment is inevitable and the
implications for the environment depend on the
behavior of the individual tourist towards nature. The
environmental challenges caused by tourism are many including global
warming, pollution, ecosystem degradation and so on. During the last decade,
two major areas of concern have become air pollution and overexploitation of critical resources by tourists. There has been a
significant increase in air traffic caused by factors such as inexpensive air tickets and rising GDP. According to an EU’s environment reports that lung damaging
aircraft emissions will rise 43% by 2035 (Neslen, 2016). The growth
in This has alarming effects not only on health but on the
global environment leading to catastrophic global climate changes. In addition, tourism has an importance for the
resources of a country and one are that has been affected is the war resources.
Water is essential for the tourism industry in hotels, swimming pools, golf
courses and the like.
The high water consumption of tourism-related activities.
Figure 2 compares usage of water per
day in a single-family home, in a pool, ski resort and at a golf course. It is
apparent that the usage of a single-family home per day is insignificant
compared to other tourism-related activities. In areas where clean water is
already a critical resource the overexploitation
can cause a higher risk for conflicts and diseases. The figure below illustrates the massive inequality in the local and
touristic consumption of water in Bali.
Water consumption by tourists is far greater than consumption by local
It is important for
governments to address the wider impacts of overexploitation of resources from
tourists in order to enforce rules and regulations to decrease such tendencies.
some areas, the overexploitation has led to severe resentment among the locals
triggering demonstrations and cutting of water systems to the hotels (Hickman, 2012). Collective and conscious efforts by policymakers, NGOs and
tourists are required to deal with the wider negative environmental impacts of
tourism because research shows that it is not only the environment that is
affected by touristic activities but similarly the environment affects
the tourists as well as their choice of travelling destinations. An example
here would be China that has been experiencing a decrease in tourism and the
air pollution has been increasingly blamed for that. Worldwide
news coverage about China’s pollution issues hurts China’s image and drives
away international tourists (Press, 2013).
Figure #4: China tops the world in air pollution but other nations are
not far behind. Rates of tourism can
suffer as a result.
The tourism sector is
an economic asset if tourists increasingly protect the environment. For
example, the tourism sector can contribute vastly to the economic strength of a
country. There are three types of economic effects
caused by tourism: direct, indirect and induced effects. Direct
contribution refers to expenses that immediate, such as airlines, hotels,
entertainment and shopping, while indirect contribution is related to the less
obvious effects, such as employment, foreign trade and the effect on GDP.
Finally, induced effects deals with expenditure of employees that work in
touristic-related companies. In 2016, approximately 109
million jobs were created worldwide due to the contribution of travel and
tourism and it is furthermore expected that by 2028 travel and tourism will
support 23% of new jobs created worldwide (https://www.wttc.org). It is an economic sector that has outplaced all
sectors except financial services, as seen in figure 5. In 2016, the top 5
countries to experience a growth in GDP due to travel and tourism were United
States, China, Germany, Japan and United Kingdom. (https://www.wttc.org).
Figure #5: Tourism stimulates growth in other
The demand for tourism is therefore
something profitable economically stimulating investment, fostering growth,
allowing the creation of new businesses, and improving the local
infrastructure. However, if tourist facilities in an underdeveloped country are
owned by foreigners and the income is transferred to external bank accounts the
tourist-activity will not benefit the local economy.