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Tourism Development

The tourist industry has grown rapidly over the last 50 years thanks to things like the
cheaper air travel, increased leisure time and increased disposable income. It is now one of
the largest industries in the world.

The growth in tourism has brought many benefits, but also has caused problems. Popular
resorts and areas have grown rapidly, only to find that they are almost being over-run by
tourism. Other areas that have relied on a natural resource to bring in tourists are suddenly
finding that the huge numbers are beginning to threaten the very environment that
attracted them there in the first place.

This section has three examples of places which have definitely benefited from increased
tourism, but also have found that the numbers of people going there have caused
problems and conflicts.

Human and physical resources

The National Gallery in London

The human and physical resources found in a
particular place often influence tourism to a
particular destination. Human resources are
tourist attractions that have been made by
people, such as the Eiffel Tower in France.
Physical resources are the attractions that
have been made by nature such as beaches or

Walkers in the Lake District

• According to a recent survey of British people travelling
within the UK, the activity that people like to do the
most while on holiday is walking. Walking allows people
to enjoy the physical resources of the countryside such
as hills, rivers and lakes.
• The second most popular activity was visiting heritage
sites. This includes historical buildings and sites of
historic significance. These are human resources.
• The third most popular activity was swimming. People
like to swim at the beach or in lakes (physical resources) or swimming
pools (human resources).
• Other popular activities were visiting art exhibitions, watching
performing arts and visiting theme parks (all human resources).

A British National Park - Dartmoor

Dartmoor is one of the 12 designated National Parks in England and Wales. All but two
(the Broads and the New Forest) were set up after the "National parks and Access to the
Countryside Act" was passed in 1949. They had two main aims:

• To preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area.

• To promote the enjoyment of the area by the general public.

Since their designation, National Parks have been the subject of conflicting uses, which has
only been increased by the rising numbers of tourists who visit the areas. Apart from the
tourists, other people who have an interest in the parks include local farmers, local
residents, the Army, the Forestry Commission, the National Trust and the Water Board.
Dartmoor is an example of a national park where many of these users have some into

Dartmoor plays host to over 8 million visitors every year. In terms of some of the other
National Parks, such as the Lake District or the Peak District, this is a relatively small
number but it still has brought its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Most of
these visitors come to walk or mountains bike on the moor, look around the picturesque
villages or use the reservoirs for water sports.

Some of the problems encountered on Dartmoor include:

• Farmers use the moor for grazing their sheep, and quickly get very annoyed when
they have flocks disturbed by dogs let loose by their owners out for a walk.
• There is an army camp near Okehampton, in the north of the moor. The northern
half of the moor is a military firing range, where they practise with live
ammunition, both bullets and shells. Obviously this can cause problems for tourists
unaware of the firing days. Red flags designate the area, but there still have been
times when people have found themselves in the middle of a training exercise. One
advantage of the military use of the moor is that it does mean that less people go
to that area, and so the natural environment is protected.
• The huge tourist numbers puts great pressures on the narrow roads found all over
Dartmoor. The National parks Authority has introduced car parks and information
centres to try to concentrate the visitors to certain areas, whilst protecting others.
Car parks also prevent the problems found in some villages of tourists parking their
cars on the grassy verges.
• "Honeypot" sites, such as Hay Tor, attract a disproportionate amount of visitors,
creating problems of parking, footpath erosion and littering. The NPA has had to try
to encourage people to go to other equally spectacular tors to try to take the
pressure off the Hay Tor area.
• The increase in recreation activities such as mountain biking, water sports and
hang-gliding has put pressure on the natural resources of the area. The facilities for
tourists have also come under pressure as more and more people come to the
• Solutions have been attempted, such as promoting other parts of the moor,
introducing more tourist facilities and restricting where people can and cannot
walk. These have been reasonably successful in protecting the area.

Tourism in an MEDC: National Parks

The UK's National Parks include some of the country's most beautiful natural
landscapes, including coasts, mountains and forests. In 1949, the National Parks
and Access to the Countryside Act was passed in order to protect the UK's areas
of natural beauty and ensure that everyone could enjoy them today and in the

There are currently 12 national parks across England and Wales, including
Dartmoor, the New Forest, the Lake District, the Peak District, the Yorkshire
Dales and Snowdonia.

Lake District National Park

Grasmere in the Lake District

The Lake District National Park was created in 1951. Covering 880 square miles,
it is the UK's largest national park and receives 12 million visitors a year. People
come to the Lake District for many reasons, including hill walking, rock-climbing,
mountain-biking, fishing and boating. They also come to visit historical
buildings, or just to enjoy the beautiful lakes and mountains.

Balancing different interests

The park is managed by the National Parks Authority (NPA), which attempts to
balance the conflicting priorities of different park users. For example:

The protection of the park's environment, wildlife and natural features - things
that can be harmed by excessive tourism. This is not only the Authority's job, but
is also powerfully lobbied for by conservation and wildlife groups.

Tourists who come to enjoy the park need roads, parking, accommodation, shops
and restaurants which are not necessarily going to be good for the countryside.

Local businesses may want to encourage more and more visitors.

Farmers, who may be concerned about damage to fences and livestock by

walkers and their dogs.

Local residents, who may be worried about congestion, littering, noise pollution
and the erosion of footpaths.

If these different interests are not carefully balanced, the result could be damage to the
environment, local people becoming upset or even hostile, and tourists being put off
visiting the park.

Tourism in an LEDC - Game Parks in Kenya

In many developing countries tourism is seen to be the answer to their economic problems.
The development of air travel has meant that many more people now have the opportunity
to go to places such as Kenya and Tanzania. They have encouraged tourists to see their
beautiful natural areas, in particular the big game parks.
However, as increasing numbers of people flood into places like Kenya, they are finding
that tourism brings with it a range of environmental, cultural and social problems.

Kenya is attractive to foreign travellers as it provides them with an opportunity to

experience different cultures and natural surroundings. Many people have grown tired of
the overcrowded Mediterranean resorts, instead favouring a more exotic holiday that, until
a few years ago, would have been out of most people’s budgets.

The attractions that Kenya offers include:

• The safari parks, with the chance to see animals such as lion, leopard and
• The chance to experience the culture of the tribes of Kenya, such as the Masai.
• The Indian Ocean coast offers fabulous beaches, a tropical climate, and some of
the best scuba diving in the world.
• A relatively safe place for tourists to travel.

The increase in tourism has led to economic growth and the creation of many jobs for local
people. The influx of foreign money has helped to pay for much-needed developments
throughout the country (although primarily in the main tourist areas). These have included
improving roads, the airports and the water supply.

As most people travelling to Kenya go there to look at the animals on safari, the
Government were forced to protect the natural environment by designating many areas as
National Parks. Despite this there are still many problems caused by the massive
numbers of tourists:

• The huge numbers of visitors is damaging the coral reefs and safari parks. Vehicles
in the parks are causing soil erosion, whilst boats and divers themselves can
damage the fragile coral very easily.
• The wildlife of the National Parks is constantly being disturbed by the throngs of
tourists descending upon them to take their photos before heading off again.
• The Masai and other farmers have found that their land is now part of a National
Park and therefore cannot be farmed. This has caused them great problems, and
pushed them into joining the tourist industry. Many people feel that by putting on
"cultural shows" for the tourists they are actually destroying their own culture, as
the visitors look upon it as some kind of freak show.
• The massive tourist developments on the Indian Ocean coastline have caused an
increase in house prices in the area, meaning that the locals are priced out of the
• Much of the new infrastructure developments have been completed primarily for
the tourists, and do not really benefit the local community as much as some other
projects might have done.
• A large percentage of the money earned by tourism in the country goes back to the
tour operators and large hotel chains, which are based in countries like the United
States and Great Britain.
Tourism in an LEDC: advantages and disadvantages

A beach in Bali, Indonesia

Tourism in an LEDC can have different problems associated with it. Governments
in LEDCs often see tourism as a vital source of income, which can be used for

Countries rich in physical resources - such as warm climates, beautiful beaches,

rare ecosystems, and abundant plant and animal life - are often sought-after
holiday destinations by people from MEDCs. Tour operators and developers
invest in these locations in the hope that they will become as popular as
European resorts.

Tourism: pros and cons

Places such as Kenya in East Africa, where tourists go on safari, or Bali in
Indonesia, which people visit for the beautiful beaches, all benefit financially
from tourism. However, tourism in LEDCs needs to be carefully managed to
prevent harm to the environment and local communities.

The effects of tourism on LEDC's:

Advantages Problems

Foreign currency spent by tourists can Profits go to foreign companies, such

be invested in improving local as tour operators and hotel chains,
education, health and other services. rather than to the local community.

Jobs for local people are created and Foreign companies may bring foreign
people can learn new skills in tourism workers to do the skilled jobs; so local
services. people only do low skilled, poorly paid

Construction creates jobs and develops House prices rise when foreign
skills for local people. companies and investors buy property
for hotels and holiday homes. This
often makes houses too expensive for

Local infrastructure is improved as Important projects for local

water and sanitation facilities, roads, communities might be sidelined as
buses, taxis and airports are provided infrastructure developments are
for tourists. focused on tourists.

Visitors get an insight into local customs If the aim of activities is to entertain,
and traditions. rather than educate tourists, this may
belittle the local people.

Tourists see beautiful landscapes, Pollution and disruption to wildlife

Advantages Problems

wildlife and plants. They can also be habitats could occur if tourism isn't
educated about the dangers to fragile sustainable.
ecosystems in the modern world.

Advantages of tourism
• Tourism brings much needed investment into an area. If it is an LEDC, the foreign
currency is very important to the local people.
• Tourism provides employment for many local people, ranging from working in the
hotels to selling trinkets on the beach. Without the tourist industry some less
developed countries would have a much greater unemployment problem.
• The money that tourism brings in can be used to improve the infrastructure of the
area. New roads, airports and facilities can be built, which cater for the increasing
number of tourists, but also benefit the local residents.
• Income from tourism may be used to help conserve the natural environment that is
the reason why visitors come in the first place.
• The country can benefit from overseas investment, primarily in the tourist industry,
but also in other related industries.
• Tourism may help to preserve local cultures and communities, as they become a
tourist attraction. This is certainly the case with some Masai tribes in Kenya and
Maoris’ in New Zealand. Both use the visitor's interest and curiosity in their culture
to become a tourist attraction.

Disadvantages of tourism
• In many resorts in LEDC's very little of the money paid for the holiday actually
reaches the country. The holiday company, travel agents, airlines and hotel
companies swallow most of it.
• The jobs for the locals are often badly paid, with very poor working conditions.
• The huge number of tourists coming to see it could easily damage the
environment. It is very easy for a country to see the short-term economic gains of
mass tourism without really taking heed of the long-term environmental damage
going on.
• Increasing numbers of tourists brings problems such as littering, pollution and
footpath erosion. All of these take time and money to clear up.
• Overseas investment, in things like luxury hotels, can mean that the money goes
back to the country of origin. These hotels may also take trade away from local
guesthouses and hotels.
• Local cultures could be devalued by tourism. They may almost become a freak
show, where the visitors begin to look down on the locals as different.

Ecotourism - Belize
Ecotourism is a type of sustainable development. The aim of ecotourism is to
reduce the impact that tourism has on naturally beautiful environments.
Any tourist destination can be harmed by increased tourism. If areas are
damaged or destroyed, they will not be available to future generations

The ecotourism approach includes:

Ensuring that tourism does not exploit the natural environment or local
Consultation with local communities on planned developments.
Making sure that infrastructure improvements benefit local people and not just
Ecotourism now has the backing of the United Nations, which made 2002 the
"International Year of Ecotourism".

Guidelines for ecotourists

Ecotourism sets out guidelines for how tourists should behave when visiting
fragile environments. These include:
Protect the environment - keep to footpaths, don't leave litter or start fires.
Don't interfere with wildlife - don't scare or feed the animals.
Protect resources - don't take too many showers or use air conditioning.
Support local communities - stay in locally owned accommodation and buy
produce from local people.
Eat local food and drink - avoid products that have been imported from MEDCs.
Respect local customs and traditions - some communities are offended when
tourists wear inappropriate clothes in religious places, strip off on the beach or
behave in a rowdy manner. Locals appreciate tourists who try to learn the
language and show an interest in their culture.
Ecotourism is increasingly popular and many people appreciate remote
locations, small numbers of tourists and less sophisticated facilities. If a resort
becomes over-developed then they will choose alternative destinations.

Belize is a very good example of where ecotourism is being tried. The main aim is to
achieve sustainability, which means that the environment is not in any way damaged by
the tourists. Belize has an abundance of natural and cultural phenomena that attract
tourists, including forests, wetlands, coral reefs, savannahs and ancient Mayan ruins.

An increasing number of tourists are coming to the country as they learn about all the
things to see, and as the government realises the financial benefits of tourism.

However the government has also realised the importance of protecting the environments
and has tried a number of initiatives. They created many National Parks and reserves,
banning farming in many of them. In 1993 the Belize Ecotourism Association was
established, it is concerned with protecting the natural environment and works closely with
the Ministry of Tourism and the Environment.

Four main factors aim to ensure the sustainability of tourism in Belize:

• There is strict planning and control of tourist developments, including where they
will be located, what they will look like, what transport routes are needed and any
other regional planning that might be required.
• There is an increasing involvement in all stages of the tourism development by the
local people. The aim is that they will assume almost complete control of the
• The tourism that is introduced is aimed at being appropriate and not exploitative.
In other words it is something that suits the local area and helps to enhance that
• The government aims to strike a balance between development and tourism that
would be mutually beneficial to all involved, and the environment.

People are generally attracted to ecotourism by its remoteness, the small numbers of
people and less sophisticated facilities. If these features disappear then the appeal of
ecotourism is lost to many people, as the area just becomes another mass resort. If this
happens then the fundamental objectives behind ecotourism also will have been forgotten.

All that is being attempted in Belize is building towards the goal of continuing to benefit
from tourism, whilst protecting and nurturing the natural environment.

The Impacts of Tourism

Tourism has both positive and negative impacts for an area. In both the United
Kingdom and in countries in the developing world tourism has been the catalyst
for economic growth. Some LEDC's rely on tourism as their principle industry so
much that when a problem occurs they have to work very quickly to rectify it.
For instance when a hurricane hit Fiji in 1998, the tourist industry, their main
source of income, was badly hit. The first thing that money was used to repair
was all the hotels and their tourist facilities so that business did not lose out too
much. Some locals even produced T-shirts the next day saying how they had
survived the hurricane.

Case Study: Kenya

© East Africa- capital Nairobi

© Bordered by Sudan and Ethiopia in the North, Uganda in the West, Tanzania in
the SW and Somalia in the E. In the SE it extends to the Indian Ocean where
there are resorts like Mombasa & Malindi

Resources for tourism

© A variety of landscapes:

© Highlands e.g. Aberdare Mountains with the famous Tree Top hotel and Mount
Kenya on the Equator. Visitors can go on a 3 day guided trek to the summit of
Mount Kenya.

© Grassy plains

© Sandy beaches & coral reefs

© Abundant wildlife e.g. elephants, lions, rhinos with opportunities for safari
holidays to see the animals in their natural habitats. (Journeys in minibuses with
sliding the windows and adjustable roofs for easy viewing of the wildlife.)
© High temperatures o the coast (25-28C all year). Cooler in the uplands (16-

© In typical 2 week holiday visitors spend 1 week on Safari (e.g. Mount Kenya
Safari club, the Masai Mara Safari club, Sweetwater’s tented camp) and 1 week
on the coast e.g. at the Turtle Bay Beach club on a white sand beach in the
Watamu Marine National Park.


© Earnings from tourism increased to $670 million in 2005 about 12% of GDP
(Gross domestic product)

© Employment over 200, 000 people (10% of the labour force) are directly
employed in tourism e.g. as tour guides, porters etc while 300, 000 are
employed indirectly e.g. making souvenirs, growing food for tourists, providing
transport etc.

© Multiplier effect – The money spent by tourists becomes available to local

people who then buy things, improve their houses etc.

© Improved infrastructure roads, airports, water electricity etc also benefits

local people.


© Economic. Visitor numbers and so earnings fluctuate e.g. in 2002 after a bomb
at Mombasa numbers plummeted. Kenya lost $1 million per day and there were
severe consequences for local employment and incomes. In 200 visitors were
advised not to visit Kenya after problems following the elections. This is a
problem in LEDCs, which become over dependent on tourism.

© Most profit goes to the foreign tour companies or government e.g. in the
Masiai Mara Park less than 2% of the money goes to the local people.

© Food is flown in for tourists.

© Environmental damage

© Coral is a fragile living community and is easily damaged when boats anchor in
the reefs or tourists take pieces as souvenirs.

© Minibuses disturb wildlife especially when drivers go off roads to get closer to
the animals. Some also ignore poaching rules. Animal numbers have fallen by
two thirds in the last 30 years due to destruction of habitats and poaching.

© Minibuses also churn up the ground in the wet season and drivers try new
routes to avoid getting stuck. This ruins the vegetation e.g. in the Masai Mara
area where there are large numbers of visitors in a small area. In the dry season
e.g. in the Amboseli park the wind, minibuses and herds of animals cause mini
dust storms which increases soil erosion.

© Balloon safaris disturb the animals

© Social conflicts between local tribes people e.g. the Masai and the Kenyan
authorities, which drove them off their land to make way for the wild animals.
© Former Masai warriors forced off their land now have to earn money by
entertaining the tourists and selling souvenirs. This is demeaning for them

© Shortage of grazing land coupled with rapid population growth has forced
farmers to move to the edge of the parks where lions eat cattle (and people)
though the farmers are not allowed to kill the animals.

Management Strategies

© Wildlife is protected in over 50 National Parks and Game Reserves covering

10% of the country e.g. Masai Mara wildlife Park

© Big game hunting was outlawed in 1978 although there are now proposals to
reintroduce it. Hunting is common in neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania where
rich businessmen pay thousands to shoot the animals. As well as the earning
potential it is argued that this stops the animals over breeding and also
encourages local people to look after them.

© There are rules for minibuses which must keep to well defined tracks in the

© Drivers are not supposed to go within 25m of the animals.

© Apart from employees at safari lodges no one is allowed to live in the national
park. (This meant nomadic tribes like the Masai Warriors had to move)

© The government has recently begun to work with displaced people giving the
Masai money from tourism to improve education, water supply and housing.

Is tourism sustainable?

© The government is now encouraging green tourism e.g. tented camps owned
and run by Kenyans have been set up in Kimana on a migration corridor for
wildlife between the Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks on land inhabited by the
Masai. The Masai are paid rent for this £1000 per year). Small developments like
this with small groups of visitors should be less environmentally damaging and
involving the Masai will show them the benefits of tourism

© However, the Masai are often cheated by tour operators and their traditional
nomadic way of life does not always encourage wild life.

Case study: ecotourism at Uluru

Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) in Australia is

one of the largest rocks (or monoliths) in the world.
Until recently large numbers of tourists visited the
rock and climbed it using a rope-and-pole path
drilled into the side of the rock. As a result the rock
was becoming
Uluru / Ayers Rock Australia
In 1985 the Australian government handed the land on which Uluru stands back
to the Aboriginal inhabitants, the Anangu.The rock has spiritual significance for
the Anangu and they do not climb it. The Anangu now ask tourists to respect the
rock by not climbing it, and most tourists comply.

Case study: sustainability in a national park

Here are some of the measures that have been adopted to help maintain the
Lake District for future generations.

The Lake District

• The National Trust and other conservation groups have undertaken
footpath maintenance. Some paths have been rebuilt or access restricted
to reduce the effects on paths and vegetation.
• Public transport has been improved and subsidised, for example the
'Langdale Rambler' bus service. Visitors are encouraged to use the buses
instead of bringing their cars into the national park.
• Restricted parking zones have been set up in some villages, for example
in Elterwater. The car park on the edge of the village has been expanded
and parking on grass verges and near houses has been restricted.
• Raising awareness of conservation issues for visitors with posters and
leaflets at tourist information and visitor centres.
• A 10mph speed limit was introduced on Windermere in March 2005. The
lake had become congested with powerboats and water skiers and noise
from the speedboats was spoiling the lake for other users such as
swimmers and canoeists. There was also concern that the wake from
powerboats has caused shore erosion and that boats had contributed to
pollution and the disappearance of reed beds in the
lake. Conservationists welcomed the new speed limit, but speedboat
owners, water-skiers, and boat companies around the lake objected to
the change. Businesses have been affected and boat users have had to
find alternative lakes.