Tourism can be defined as the travel for leisure, recreation or business reasons (Singh 13). Tourism has risen to become one of the most preferred leisure activities globally, for instance, in the year 2010 there were more than 900 million tourists travelling to different destinations across the globe.
Tourism has been growing steadily due to globalization and improvement in technology. Rapid technological development in transport has facilitated the transport of large numbers of people to faraway places of their choice in a short time (Singh 20).
Activities related to tourism provide a major source of revenue for several countries that offer unique tourist attractions. There are other ways in which tourism related activities impact the society. This paper seeks to conduct a cause and effect analysis of tourism. In particular, the paper will discuss why and how people engage in tourism, and the various positive and negative impacts of tourism.
Reasons for engaging in tourism activities
Many people touring different regions of the world or their own country often do it for pleasure. Change of scenery is a more preferred way of breaking from the monotonous lifestyles that people live.
Most individuals prefer to travel to other areas where they can experience unique environments in terms of beautiful beaches, unique animals and culture. Countries that are endowed with tourist attractions have developed infrastructure and other support arrangements in order to attract more tourists. Therefore more tourists will often visit countries or regions that offer the best attractions.
Many people also travel to explore the economic opportunities offered by different countries or regions. Such tourists are referred to as economic tourists though they may also explore tourist attractions in the areas they are visiting. Others travel to escape the harsh weather conditions in their home countries, for instance, those who travel to escape winter conditions mostly in the northern hemisphere countries.
Effects of tourism
The effects of tourism are many and varied. This includes effects on culture, economy of the host country, and the environmental impact. Tourism effects can be categorized into positive and negative effects, and also primary and secondary effects. This categorization is based on the nature of the effect and the stage at which the effect is felt.
The economic effect of tourism can be categorized as primary as it directly impacts the economic status of the local and regional area being toured. The local population benefits from the profit brought in by visiting tourists.
However, the local community also spends a lot in the development and maintenance of tourism industry (Singh 5). A disadvantage to the local populace is that tourism encourages encroachment by moneyed multinational corporations that provide services to affluent tourists, effectively taking most of the revenues away.
Effects on the environment
Tourism related activities impact heavily on the environment. The impacts of tourism on the environments and ecosystems can be categorized as positive and negative.
The negative environmental impacts are more common in coastal tourism as compared to other forms of tourism. Primary effects such as destruction of plant cover result from the development of infrastructure for sustenance of coastal tourism.
The destruction of marine flora disrupts ecosystems as the trees provide habitats for diverse species of birds. Habitat destruction greatly hampers the efforts to prudently use natural resources and preserve natural environments. Major challenges are also encountered in the disposal of solid waste and sewage that result from tourism related activities. This is more commonly observed in areas where the growth of coastal tourism is rapid and uncontrolled (Singh 78).
It’s important to note that people traveling to new areas for holidays usually carry disposable items which are later throw away as waste. These solid wastes often find their way into oceans and other water bodies where they form a major source of pollution. Other negative environmental effects of coastal tourism include the loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, declining fish catches, siltation and depletion of ground water (Singh 79).
The impacts of tourism o wildlife are both positive and negative. The most positive impact of tourism on wildlife is that it encourages the conservation of natural habitats by host countries. The negative effects are many and are directly related to actual touring in the animal parks. Wildlife viewing usually puts a lot of pressure and stress on wild animals.
Studies indicate that some animals change their behavioral patterns due to the noise and commotion created by tourists (Singh 79). Tourism also encourages the building of roads, lodges and resorts in the parks. These facilities are not eco-friendly and usually result into landscape aesthetic degradation besides destroying habitats.
Global tourism is also cited to be a major cause of air pollution as it accounts for more than 50% traffic movements (Singh 80). The vast number of traffic movements results in the release of green house gases which in turn contribute to global warming.
Tourism facilitates the meeting of people with diverse cultures and values. When tourists flock to a certain destination in large numbers they mingle with the local communities resulting into cultural fusion. Tourists may come with some cultural practices that might be perceived to be obscene by the locals and thus result into a cultural conflict. Tourism encourages the growth of social vices such as prostitution and drug abuse among the local communities.
Conclusions and recommendations
This paper sought to conduct a cause and effect analysis on tourism. The paper has discussed why and how people engage in tourism, and the various positive and negative impacts of tourism on the environment and society.
Among the positive effects is that tourism encourages conservation of wildlife and positively impacts the economy of the local area. However, the negative effects are many and they range from destruction of habitats to pollution of water bodies. These environmentally unsound practices pose the most serious threat from tourism to the maintenance of natural habitats (Singh 156).
It’s important that tourism recognizes the importance of maintaining the environment for future generations. Therefore the building of facilities or infrastructure should be done in a manner that it does not result into major disruption to the natural environments. The solid waste that results due to tourism related activities should be disposed off in a manner that would not cause damage to the environment.
Singh, Lakhwinder. Issues in Tourism Industry: Fundamentals of Tourism and Travel, New Delhi: Isha books, 2008. Print.