“Tourism comprises the activities of persons
traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more
than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes.” (Unwto.org,
In this paper, I
will obviously talk about tourism following the definition above but more
specifically about the impacts, negative and positive, of tourism for the
economies of the countries and how the businesses hospitality evolved to
respond to the tourists needs and requirements.
Nowadays, the way
people are traveling is changing in more than a way especially when we have a
closer look at the Generation Y, commonly called Millennials. Millennials are
indeed different from prior generations in a number of ways Pewsocialtrends.org
(2014). Anyway, let’s focus on something bigger, a key point for this modern
society when we refer to tourism, the sustainable tourism.
“The sustainable tourism is the tourism which develops
as quickly as possible, taking account of current accommodation capacity, local
population and environment… The development of tourism and new investment in
the tourism sector should not detract from tourism itself.” (Bramwell,
B., Van Der Straaten, J., Goytia Prat, A., Richards, G., 1996).
After some explanations about sustainable tourism,
it’s maybe welcome to get into something more sensitive, the mass tourism.
Who never visited
a place like Ayia Napa with that beach called Nissi Beach or a monument located
in an urban area as the Eiffel Tower in Paris? What’s the point between those
two places? Well, the attraction they are facing from the tourists resulting on
an overcrowded place. This is called the mass tourism; this phenomenon consists
on having a large amount of people at the same place at the same time.
According to the
internet, the tourist arrivals in 1950 were around 25milions but now expects to
reach 1.8 billion by 2030. (sustainabletourism.net, 2014)
probably played a major role in this fast growing evolution is the development
of the mean of transportation, allowing many people to move at the same and a
much inferior time that it used to be with the new aircrafts that are created
per example. The innovations in the field of technology are also important, in
fact, today it is really easy to communicate rapidly with the internet (phone,
4G, etc.) but mass tourism is a delicate topic to deal with because of all the
pros and cons.
First, we have the
tourists that come to the city and stay at hotels in which they pay taxes
during their time there. They bring wealth with them, they spend money in many
way and it offers many job opportunities with hotels, restaurants (cooks,
receptionists, cleaning ladies,..). It is also good for the agriculture and
manufactures that have the chance to hire employees due to the incoming
travelers that need to eat, those help the economy of the country they are
Second, the mass
tourists with what better examples that the cruise boats. They unship in
numbers as invaders, thousands and thousands of tourists getting into the
destinations mixed to the other tourists that are already there staying in
hotels or by their own visiting for a day.
the locals, the money doesn’t completely belong to them because of the big
companies around (Thomas Cook, TUI, Hilton,..) that are based somewhere else in
the world, here are the leakages. The leakages concern the money spend in the
destination but which leaks out to the country where the tour operator’s head
office is per example (Class material, 2017).
And last, younger
travelers that come during spring break or summer only there to have a good
time and party with their friends, we can use Lloret de Mar in Spain, Ibiza in
the Balearic Islands or even Ayia Napa here in Cyprus as good examples.
Those are some of
the main issues regarding the types of tourists as well as the environmental
and social impacts that are following.
So after the
different profiles of tourist (of course those categories are not completely
accurate and can vary) comes the social and cultural effects that are mostly
negative. The higher the number of tourist the worst can be the relations with
the locals. In fact, everyone who already travel will agree on saying that once
you go out of your country, you get into a different world with a different
culture/tradition and behaviors. The party animals can irritate the locals by
the way they behave in the streets after the parties are over as well as the
other tourists that might ignore the “local dress code” and revealing too much skin
especially in places of worship. It would be good to think tourism bring the
cultures together however this is rare.
As much as the
social and cultural impact there is another major point, the environmental impacts
of tourism. There are not many good impacts but it also depends on the amount
of tourist in the destination. In case of mass tourism, it’s mostly negative.
To be able to respond to the demand and appeal, the destinations have to
propose experiences and it’s usually in a bad way for the environment. Some
examples could be the clearance of important habitats for animals as forest to
provide building sites for hotels (South America,..) then the overuse of water
resources and pollution of sea, lakes and rivers by rubbish and sewage due to
the high come and go in the destination without forgetting the air and noise
pollution. (Hedlund, T., 2011)
Then it’s understandable to share the fed up of the
inhabitants for all the inconvenience they face but in some way they have a lot
of benefits coming from the tourism industry and they would maybe struggle in a
hard way without it. And it’s also realistic to say that we can’t stop tourists
from traveling but there are different kinds of travelers, even in mass tourism
there is exceptions, most don’t really care but some do care about their
impacts regarding the destinations they are going to.
Earlier, a brief
introduction regarding the way millennials are different from previous
generations has been given. In fact, they start to think about their impact,
their role in the society and the way they travel. The generation Y is looking
for a better and respectful future regarding environment, culture and locals,
tourism is about re-focusing and adapting to do so a balance must be found
between limits and usage, for that we must go for long-term and think about the
interests of all stakeholders including indigenous people, local communities,
visitors, industry and government. (Sustainabletourism.net 2014)
To conclude, I think
regulations should be established to still allow people to travel but also to
preserve all the cultural riches we actually have for the many years to come.
This way, it will not only be better for tourists but also for the locals which
will not be fed up regarding the tourists and their behaviors. That’s why it is
important to decrease the mass tourism for the profit of the sustainable
tourism, it’s vital to start regulations now before it’s too late and follow
the example of the ministry of culture in Peru which vote to decrease the daily
number of visitors on the Machu Picchu as a first step to preserve that unique
and beautiful site recognize as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.