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बेसिक इंग्लिश का दूसरा सत्र (कक्षा प्रारंभ : 22 अक्तूबर, शाम 3:30 से 5:30)
Impact of Tourism on Environment and Eco Tourism
Nov 30, 2015

Tourism is one of the world's fastest growing industries as well as the major source of foreign exchange earning and employment for many developing countries, and it is increasingly focusing on natural environments. However, tourism is a double-edged activity. It has the potential to contribute in a positive manner to socio-economic achievements but, at the same time, its fast and sometimes uncontrolled growth can be the major cause of degradation of the environment and loss of local identity and traditional cultures. Biological and physical resources are in fact the assets that attract tourists. However, the stress imposed by tourism activities on fragile ecosystems accelerates and aggravates their depletion. Paradoxically, the very success of tourism may lead to the degradation of the natural environment: by depleting natural resources tourism reduces the site attractiveness to tourists, the very commodity that tourism has to offer.

Negative impacts from tourism occur when the level of visitor use is greater than the environment's ability to cope with this use within the acceptable limits of change. Uncontrolled conventional tourism poses potential threats to many natural areas around the world. It can put enormous pressure on an area and lead to impacts such as soil erosion, increased pollution, discharges into the sea, natural habitat loss, increased pressure on endangered species and heightened vulnerability to forest fires. It often puts a strain on water resources, and it can force local populations to compete for the use of critical resources.

Positive Impact of tourism

  • Tourism constitutes an opportunity for economic development, economic diversification and the growth of related activities, in developing countries especially, contributing around 1.5 per cent of world gross national product. Tourism is also a major source of income and employment.

  • Tourism based on the natural environment (ecotourism) is a vital growing segment of the tourism industry and, despite the negative impacts, and given the fact that tourism generates a large proportion of income and that a growing percentage of the activities are nature-based, tourism does present a significant potential for realizing benefits in terms of the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components.

  • Tourism has the potential to increase public appreciation of the environment and to spread awareness of environmental problems when it brings people into closer contact with nature and the environment. This confrontation may heighten awareness of the value of nature and lead to environmentally conscious behavior and activities to preserve the environment.

  • Tourism can significantly contribute to environmental protection, conservation and restoration of biological diversity and sustainable use of natural resources. Because of their attractiveness, pristine sites and natural areas are identified as valuable and the need to keep the attraction alive can lead to creation of national parks and wildlife parks.

  • Tourism can provide an alternative to development scenarios that may have greater environmental impacts

Negative Impact of Tourism

  • Water Quality: The tourism industry impacts water quality through construction and maintenance of tourist infrastructure, recreational boating, and certain activities of the cruise industry. Tourist infrastructure increases the pressure on existing sewage treatment plants and can lead to overflows during peak tourist times. A more gradual impact is the leaching of nutrients from septic systems of tourists’ waterfront homes, accelerating eutrophication of adjacent waterbodies, and depleting dissolved oxygen supplies. The construction of tourist facilities and infrastructure also increases the amount of impervious surfaces, which in turn increases the amount of polluted runoff reaching waterbodies.

  • Air Quality: Transport by air, road, and rail is continuously increasing in  response to the rising number of tourist activities in India. Transport emissions and emissions from energy production and use are linked to acid rain, global warming and photochemical pollution. Air pollution from tourist transportation has impacts on the global level,  especially from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions related to transportation energy use and it can lead to severe local air pollution.

  • Habitat/Ecosystem Alteration and Fragmentation Ecosystems and natural habitat can be damaged by tourist infrastructure, tourist activities, recreational boating, and the cruise industry. Recreational boats and cruise vessels can damage aquatic vegetation by cutting it with their propellers or otherwise damaging it when running aground.

Overbuilding and extensive paving of shorelines can result in destruction of habitats and disruption of land-sea connections (such as sea-turtle nesting spots). Coral reefs are especially fragile marine ecosystems and are suffering worldwide from reef-based tourism developments. Evidence suggests a variety of impacts to coral result from shoreline development, increased sediments in the water, trampling by tourists and divers, ship groundings, pollution from sewage, overfishing, and fishing with poisons and explosives that destroy coral habitat.

  • Impacts on Wildlife Wildlife can be adversely affected by the construction and maintenance of tourist infrastructure, and by tourist activities. Impacts from tourist infrastructure can be direct, such as when development in lower elevations of mountain resorts restricts the migratory range of certain wildlife, or indirect, such as when marine turtles are disoriented by automobile headlights and resort illumination

  • Aesthetic and Cultural Impacts Tourism can diminish the aesthetic appeal of a destination through the construction of buildings that clash with the surrounding environment, creating “architectural” or “visual” pollution

Negative Impact of Tourism

 Source: Sabo (2012)

  • Solid waste and Littering In areas with high concentrati\ons of tourist activities and appealing natural attractions, waste disposal is a serious problem and improper disposal can be a major despoiler  of the natural environment - rivers, scenic areas, and roadsides. In mountain areas of the Himalayas and Darjeeling, trekking tourists generate a great deal of waste. Tourists on expedition leave behind their garbage, oxygen cylinders and even camping equipment. Such practices degrade the environment particularly in remote areas because they have few garbage collection or disposal facilities

  • Local Resources: Tourism can create great pressure on local resources like energy, food, and other raw materials that may already be in short supply. Greater extraction and transport of these resources exacerbates the physical impacts associated with their exploitation. Because of the seasonal character of the industry, many destinations have ten times more inhabitants in the high season as in the low season. A high demand is placed upon these resources to meet the high expectations tourists often have

  • Land degradation: Important land resources include minerals, fossil fuels, fertile soil, forests, wetland and wildlife. Increased construction of tourism and recreational facilities has increased the pressure on these resources and on scenic landscapes. Direct impact on natural resources, both renewable and nonrenewable, in the provision of tourist facilities can be caused by the use of land for accommodation and other infrastructure provision, and the use of building materials.

  • Sewage: Construction of hotels, recreation and other facilities often leads to increased sewage pollution. Wastewater has polluted seas and lakes surrounding tourist attractions, damaging the flora and fauna. Sewage runoff causes serious damage to coral reefs because it stimulates the growth of algae, which cover the filter-feeding corals, hindering their ability to survive. Changes in salinity and siltation can have wide-ranging impacts on coastal environments. And sewage pollution can threaten the health of humans and animals.

  • Climate Change: Tourism not only contributes to climate change, but is affected by it as well. Climate change is likely to increase the severity and frequency of storms and severe weather events, which can have disastrous effects on tourism in the affected regions. Some of the other impacts that the world risks as a result of global warming are drought, diseases and heat waves

  • Socioeconomic and cultural impacts of tourism include influx of people and related social degradation, impacts on local communities and on cultural values. Increased tourism activities can cause an influx of people seeking employment or entrepreneurial opportunities, but who may not be able to find suitable employment, thus causing social degradation. Sudden loss of income and jobs can also be experienced in times of downturn, if the economy is not diversified and it heavily relies on tourism. When tourism development occurs, economic benefits are usually unequally distributed among members of local communities. In the case of foreign direct investment, much of the profit may be transferred back to the home country. Therefore, tourism can actually increase inequalities in communities, and thus relative poverty.

  • Culture and Tourism: Tourism has a highly complex impact on cultural values. Tourism activities may lead to intergenerational conflicts and may affect gender relationships. Traditional practices and events may also be influenced by the tourist preferences. Tourism development can lead to the loss of access by indigenous and local communities to their land and resources as well as sacred sites.

Tourism industry in India is growing and it has vast potential for generating employment and earning large amount of foreign exchange besides giving a flip to the country’s overall economic and social development. Eco-tourism needs to be promoted so that tourism in India helps in preserving and sustaining the diversity of the India’s natural and cultural environments. The International Union for Conservation of Nature in 1992 lists tourism as the second major threat to protected areas. Owing to the increasing negativities of tourism, several authors reiterated that tourism industry should grow carefully and in a sustainable manner.

The Rio+20 Outcome Document “The Future We Want” highlights the role of sustainable tourism so as to come out of the adverse effects of tourism  The United Nations defies sustainable tourism as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of  visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.

According to Hector Ceballos-Lascuráin “ecotourism is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas in order to enjoy and appreciate nature that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socioeconomic involvement of the local populations”

Focus of Ecotourism: 

  • Eco-tourism focuses on local cultures, wilderness adventures anvolunteering,

  • Personal growth and learning new ways to live on our vulnerable planet.

  • On cultural artifacts from the locality

  • Travel to destinations where the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.

  • Minimizing the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people.

  • Evaluating environmental and cultural factors, initiatives by hospitality providers to promote recycling, energy efficiency, water reuse, and the creation of economic opportunities for local communities 

Principle to be followed in ecotourism activities 

  • Minimize impact

  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect

  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts

  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation

  • Ecotourism include local communities in the activities of planning, development and operation, and it contributes to their welfare

  • Environmentally educative

  • Raise sensitivity to host countries' political, environmental, and social climate

  • Support international human rights and labour agreements

  • Ecotourism is intended mainly for individual visitors and small organized groups.

  • Generates tourist satisfaction.

  • Ecotourism actively contribute to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage. 

Characteristics of Ecotourism 

According to Patterson (2002), characteristics of an ecotourism business are that it:

  • Have a low impact upon a protected area’s natural resources and recreation techniques.

  • Involve stakeholders (individuals, communities, ecotourists, tour operators and government institutions) in the planning, development, implementation and monitoring phases

  • Limits visitation to areas, either by limiting group size and/or by the number of groups taken to an area in a season

  • Supports the work of conservation groups preserving the natural area on which the

  • experience is based.

  • Orients customers on the region to be visited.

  • Hires local people and buys supplies locally, where possible.

  • Recognizes that nature is a central element to the tourist experience.

  • Uses guides trained in interpretation of scientific or natural history.

  • Ensures that wildlife is not harassed.

  • Respects the privacy and culture of local people

Ecotourism and Developing Countries

For developing countries, Ecotourism serves as an ideal industry for fostering economic growth and conservation. The developing countries, often endowed with natural

resources, are now experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of visitors. As mass tourism often ends up with destruction of natural resources, ecotourism can reduce the negativities associated with mass tourism and thus brilliantly help in conservation. On the other hand, it will also stimulate growth through its positive impact on employment opportunities, income generation and education of the host communities

Ecotourism Potential in India 

  • India is uniquely blessed with wildlife diversity. One of eighteen mega diverse countries, it is home to 7.6% of all mammalian, 12.6% of all avian, 6.2% of all reptilian, 4.4% of all amphibian, 11.7% of all fish, and 6.0% of all flowering plant species. This diversity offers great scope of Ecotourism

  • At present, India has 661 protected areas with 100 national parks, 514 wildlife sanctuaries, 43 conservation reserves and four community reserves in different geographic zones, extending to nearly fie per cent of the geographical area of the country

  • Some focal locations for eco-tourism development are the Himalayas, North Eastern States, Western Ghats, Jharkhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep

  • Major Potential Areas The following are identified as major potential areas for ecotourism:

a) Protected Area based Ecotourism: This category comprises of all ecotourism relating to PAs (National Parks, Sanctuaries, and Tiger Reserves).

b) Ecotourism in Forests outside Protected Areas: This category comprises all ecotourism in Reserved Forests, Protected Forests, and other Government owned ‘forest lands’ (as defined under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980) outside of Protected Areas.

c) Village based Ecotourism: This category comprises all ecotourism that centres on village landscapes, some natural formations, such as private forests or private land near Protected Areas, lakes, coral reefs, waterfalls, etc., and managed by local individuals or communities.

d) Ex situ Conservation Areas (Ecological Gardens, Zoological Parks, Botanical Gardens and Biodiversity Parks): This category covers conservation areas that are largely managed by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Botanical Survey of India, and Forest Department 

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