Throughout the world, many areas of natural beauty have become tourist destinations. However,
tourism implies the construction of hotels, restaurants and it may provoke traffic and litter. All of
these things can cause problems for the delicate natural equilibrium of those areas.
Sustainable tourism tries to balance the impact made on the environment while maintaining the advantages that tourism brings to the area. Some studies demonstrate the problems caused by tourism and the initiatives which have been introduced to solve them.
The Lake District
The Lake District, in north-west England, is considered an area of extraordinary natural beauty with its lakes, forests and amazing mountain landscapes; that’s why it receives about 12 million visitors a year. Tourism has had a positive impact, favoring the creation of jobs and improving several services for local people, but it has also led to some obvious problems. Indeed tourists come to enjoy the park, but they need car parks, shops and restaurants and all these things are not good at all for the park itself. Farmers and local residents are worried about the damage that visitors cause and they are not always happy about the amount of traffic, noise and litter brought by tourism.
The National Park Authority has the responsibility to protect the environment. Therefore various initiatives have been adopted in order to balance these conflicts. One of these measures is related to traffic: public transport has been improved to reduce the number of cars entering the park. This encourages visitors to use buses or bicycles rather than their own cars in the National Park area. So, car access has been limited and car parks moved outside some villages. Another measure which has been taken to protect the environment concerns the access to some footpaths, which have been limited. Footpaths are a serious threat to the park; walking is the most popular activity for those who visit the Lake District and millions of feet are very harmful to the ground. Fortunately, some conservation groups have rebuilt some of the damaged footpaths.
Nowadays sustainable tourism is growing in more and more countries and people are respecting nature as never before. Protecting the environment and, at the same time, encouraging tourism industry is one of the smartest choices that man can make. But you have to understand what kind of benefits this ‘positive tourism’ can bring. It is a constant learning process which can even be a difficult thing. But there is no doubt, you are definitely contributing to a better world.