The consequences of unsustainable touristic growth in rural and urban tourism hotspots, including the concept of carrying capacity and possible management options to increase site resilience.
Sustainable vs unsustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism can be defined as:
“Tourism that conserves primary tourist resources and supports the livelihoods and culture of local people.” (IBO, 2009)
Therefore unsustainable tourism refers to tourism that fails to conserve tourist resources, and/or does not support the lives and culture of local people. In addition, unsustainable tourism can also refer to environmental sustainability, because there are so many opportunities for an increase in resource consumption coupled with an increase in waste. For example:
More flights means more consumption of fuel, and more gas emissions that cause air pollution
More flights means more airports, which means more consumption of land
More flights means more consumption of disposable products (such as plastic meal trays and cups) which means more plastic waste
This links closely to the concept of the ecological footprint, which is measured in ‘biohectares’ which links to the amount of land required to create the resources and sequester the waste.
There are two further key issues with tourism:
The resources consumed in tourism are frequently produced very far away from the point of consumption. Therefore, it’s hard to measure the real environmental impact of tourism.
Tourism is a huge and complex industry. The number of variations within it make it hard to identify the true levels of consumption and waste and therefore the level of unsustainability.
When did the concept of carrying capacity begin to be applied to tourism issues and how does the UNWTO define "carrying capacity"? (p532)
What are the 4 types of carrying capacity? (p533)
Why is calculating carrying capacity to manage tourist hotspots too complex for researchers - making the carrying capacity concept better used for guidance? (p534). Often a manager only discovers the true capacity once it has been exceeded.
Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia
What was the carrying capacity of the Angkor Wat site in Cambodia determined as? (p536) Why was this ignored and how many visited in 2016?
What major issues of managing tourism in Angkor did the 2010 TMP determine? (p537) Choose 4
The TMP developed plans to deal with each of the above points. Looking at Banteay Srei temple as a focused example: (p538)
What were the problems at Banteay Srei?
What measures did the TMP take to solve these problems?
How successful were these measures?
Watch this video on the tourism boom in Iceland:
What factors might make tourism here unsustainable?