Tourism and tourism development can and does have an impact on the environment. The three major impacts the tourism industry has on the environment are depletion of natural resources, pollution, and physical damage.
Tourism and the tourism industry can put pressure on already scarce natural resources such as water, energy, food, minerals, etc. The tourism industry can lead to a decrease in the supply of water, especially fresh water in the development of hotels, resorts, golf courses, and personal use. The tourism industry can also lead to a decrease in natural resources such as energy and food especially during seasons where there is an increase in tourism.
Pollution is another adverse impact tourism can have on the environment. Tourism can cause a rise in transport emissions. Tourism can also cause noise pollution, problems with waste disposal, and even aesthetic pollution with the development of architectural infrastructures that do not fit with the natural features of the environment.
Last but not least, the tourism industry can have a negative physical impact on the environment. For instance, construction activity can involve sand mining, soil erosion, and land degradation. The tourism industry can also cause deforestation and unsustainable use of land which can lead to changes in the ecosystem. Furthermore, tourists can cause trampling when they use the same trails repeatedly. Trampling can cause breakage and bruising of plants, reduced plant vigor, reduced regeneration, loss of ground cover, loss of organic matter, and an increase in run-off.
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