Despite challenges such as travelrestrictions as well as safety and security concerns, there has been a rapidgrowth in the global tourism industry throughout the years. According to areport from World Tourism Organization the number of international tourists isexpected to reach 1.
4 billion by 2020 and 1.8 by 2030 which implies thesignificance of tourism sector in the future (www.e-unwto.org).
Tourism holds greatpotential and can contribute to a country in several aspects, specifically to acountry’s economy and environment, however the implications followed by tourismare not all positive and some countries face challenges, includingenvironmental challenges that are alarming.The link between tourism and thephysical environment is inevitable and theimplications for the environment depend on thebehavior of the individual tourist towards nature. Theenvironmental challenges caused by tourism are many including globalwarming, 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 asignificant increase in air traffic caused by factors such as inexpensive air tickets and rising GDP. According to an EU’s environment reports that lung damagingaircraft emissions will rise 43% by 2035 (Neslen, 2016). The growthin This has alarming effects not only on health but on theglobal environment leading to catastrophic global climate changes. In addition, tourism has an importance for theresources 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, golfcourses and the like. Figure #2:The high water consumption of tourism-related activities.Figure 2 compares usage of water perday in a single-family home, in a pool, ski resort and at a golf course. It isapparent that the usage of a single-family home per day is insignificantcompared to other tourism-related activities.
In areas where clean water isalready a critical resource the overexploitationcan cause a higher risk for conflicts and diseases. The figure below illustrates the massive inequality in the local andtouristic consumption of water in Bali. Figure #3:Water consumption by tourists is far greater than consumption by localpopulations. It is important forgovernments to address the wider impacts of overexploitation of resources fromtourists in order to enforce rules and regulations to decrease such tendencies.Insome areas, the overexploitation has led to severe resentment among the localstriggering demonstrations and cutting of water systems to the hotels (Hickman, 2012). Collective and conscious efforts by policymakers, NGOs andtourists are required to deal with the wider negative environmental impacts oftourism because research shows that it is not only the environment that isaffected by touristic activities but similarly the environment affectsthe tourists as well as their choice of travelling destinations. An examplehere would be China that has been experiencing a decrease in tourism and theair pollution has been increasingly blamed for that. Worldwidenews coverage about China’s pollution issues hurts China’s image and drivesaway international tourists (Press, 2013).
Figure #4: China tops the world in air pollution but other nations arenot far behind. Rates of tourism cansuffer as a result. The tourism sector isan economic asset if tourists increasingly protect the environment. Forexample, the tourism sector can contribute vastly to the economic strength of acountry. There are three types of economic effectscaused by tourism: direct, indirect and induced effects. Directcontribution refers to expenses that immediate, such as airlines, hotels,entertainment and shopping, while indirect contribution is related to the lessobvious effects, such as employment, foreign trade and the effect on GDP.Finally, induced effects deals with expenditure of employees that work intouristic-related companies.
In 2016, approximately 109million jobs were created worldwide due to the contribution of travel andtourism and it is furthermore expected that by 2028 travel and tourism willsupport 23% of new jobs created worldwide (https://www.wttc.org).
It is an economic sector that has outplaced allsectors except financial services, as seen in figure 5. In 2016, the top 5countries to experience a growth in GDP due to travel and tourism were UnitedStates, China, Germany, Japan and United Kingdom. (https://www.wttc.org). Figure #5: Tourism stimulates growth in othersectors. The demand for tourism is thereforesomething profitable economically stimulating investment, fostering growth,allowing the creation of new businesses, and improving the localinfrastructure. However, if tourist facilities in an underdeveloped country areowned by foreigners and the income is transferred to external bank accounts thetourist-activity will not benefit the local economy.