Maintained by UNEP
Tourism can create great pressure on local resources like energy, food, freshwater and other raw materials that may already be in short supply. Generally, per capita consumption of resources by tourists has risen to four times that of local residents. 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. As a consequence, a high demand is placed upon these resources to meet the high expectations tourists often have (proper heating, hot water, etc.). Tourism- generated threats are now felt in many developing countries, which lack the technological or financial capacity to handle tourists' resource consumption and waste generation - often far greater than those of the home population.
Picture courtesy of NOAA.
On the positive side, tourism often provides a stimulus for local agricultural production and marketing especially in the fruit and vegetables sectors. Though import substitution is in theory possible, the share of domestic agriculture is trending downwards.
Tourism also often leads to increased pressure on endangered species due to the trade for creatures such as sharks and turtles and other curio objects (e.g. shells).
printed on 2013/05/25 02:08:05