Today is World Tourism Day!
We all love travelling, exploring new countries, seeing new landscapes, learning about new animals, it is something we all enjoy and do as often as we can. Some do so more often than others, but those who are able, at some point in their lives, find themselves in an area of the world where they’re considered outsiders, or ‘tourists.
As tourists, most want to visit landmarks, eat local food, purchase souvenirs and meet new people, all of which contribute to the economy of local communities, helping them grow and creating jobs in the industry. Evidence of this is seen everywhere, tour companies grow year by year, generating jobs that keep up with increased tourist demand, more and more hotels and B&Bs are being built, shops, bars, clubs, everything expanding with increased demand. This can be very good to local communities, generating income, but have you ever considered the negative effects tourists can have on the area? This is what we want to address in this blog.
Tourism can have several negative effects on local communities, for example, the prices of local goods and houses increase as tourists are often wealthier than locals, water is overused, traffic increases and jobs become seasonal, meaning that for part of the year, unemployment becomes vast. Tourism also has negative impacts on local landscapes and wildlife. Tourists often walk out of marked trails, trampling on wildlife, they approach animals within 2m, invading their personal space and often triggering negative behavioural responses. Tourists can also create a lot of pollution, something clearly seen as littering along highly frequented beaches and trails is widespread. This increases encounter frequency between wildlife and litter, often leading to entanglement and/or ingestion, which may lead to death.
So what can we do to help this situation? Since we all like to travel and visit new places, what can we, as tourists, do to help? Start by completing our quiz, found here to find out whether you are a good tourist or not. We all must respect nature’s boundaries, use modes of transportation that use less fuel, not litter and make sure we take part in sustainable tours, keeping wildlife disturbance to a minimum. Walk only on trails and keep your distance from wild animals, the world appreciates it!
Today let’s celebrate the good tourist! The one that respects local communities and wildlife, leaving only good behind when they leave.