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The Harmful Side of Tourism


People worldwide plan vacations, tour cities, and famous landmarks, and essentially experience the life and culture they are unfamiliar with. The luxurious hotels, delicious food, and various resources attract foreigners to visit places that help them escape their monotonous lives. However, that adventure they desire comes with a price; one that can destroy the preservation and quality of a landmark, such as Mt. Everest, a special mountain to the people of Nepal and Tibet. While ending tourism is inevitable, it is important to recognize the impact of tourism and its prevalence in today’s society. 

The Pressure on Families and Locals 

Although tourism has created many economic benefits while advocating for diversity and cross-culture interaction, over-commercialization and damage to heritage sites have heavily impacted locals who live there every day. People who visit pivotal places have quickly forgotten about how the community they meet, is not accustomed to the temporary luxury that tourists experience. 

For instance, Mount Everest– also known as Chomolungo, its Tibetan name, or Sagarmatha, its Nepali name- is the highest mountain on Earth (8,849 meters above sea level). May 29, 2023, marked the 70th anniversary of the first successful summit by Tenzing Nargay and Sir Edmund Hillary. Since then, people from different countries have climbed this mountain; but these climbers would not have gotten far without Sherpas. These native Nepali guides are responsible for setting up and taking down camps, fixing and climbing ropes, assisting climbers, and carrying the heaviest backpacks up and down mountains. 

Expedition company Adventure Consultants say Sherpas accompany climbers while carrying about 66 pounds on their back, 15-22 pounds the climbers carry. A Sherpa’s life is at risk every day for climbers who are only in it for the bragging rights of climbing the tallest mountain in the world, but the families who live in those conditions every day are easily experiencing the result of a tourist’s climb: trash, manure, and over a hundred dead bodies, according to the trekking tours company, Climbing Kilimanjaro. 

Unfortunately, Mt. Everest is not the only place where locals are at risk from tourism; when the tourism industry in Hawaii increases in state revenue, the reliance on tourism results in Native Hawaiians getting priced out of their homes, forcing them to adapt to climate change’s wreaking havoc on natural landscapes. 

Damage To the Environment 

A study revealed in the Nature Sustainability journal provides evidence of how coral reefs are an attraction and victim to tourists on a large scale. Moreover, increased tourism also negatively impacts coral reefs when preservation efforts are not maintained. 

Tourism-related development and pollution and on-reef activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling lead to a major problem because elevated pollution and infrastructure development directly impact on-reef visitation; leading coral reefs to die. 

“Coastal tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry and will increasingly feature in the future use of marine resources,” remarks Bing Lin, a doctoral student at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. While tourism cannot be stopped in this industry, an adequate understanding of the impacts tourism has made in society is imperative to finding strategies that make reef ecosystems and other environments impacted by tourism more sustainable. 

The Growth Of Tourism 

The World Counts records the statistics of the expansion of tourism throughout the years: “In 1950 there were 25 million international tourist arrivals, in 1970 the number was 166 million, and by 1990 it had grown to 435 million.” With these statistics, this site has concluded that from 1990 to 2018 the numbers have tripled in this industry, reaching 1.422 billion. By 2030, “1.8 billion tourist arrivals are projected”.

An increase in tourism has also led to the overuse of water in the world. The average golf course in a tropical country consists of water that is equivalent to 60,000 rural villagers, also using 1500 kilos of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides per year. The negative impacts are ridiculous compared to the temporary benefits of tourism.

Other famous coral reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef and Maya Bay, Thailand, popularized by the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach, are also impacted by this industry. According to the United Nations World Tourism Association (UNWTO), in 2030 transport-related carbon emissions will increase exponentially with 25% more carbon emissions than in 2016; 5% to 5.3% of all man-made emissions. 

Who Is To Blame?

It is important to focus on the short-term sacrifices for the long-term benefits of the world. Tourism is not a necessity, in regards to a person’s urge to travel in hopes of ignoring their boredom at home. There needs to be more focus on respecting another’s culture and environment that they live in every day. Residents in popularized places do not have the luxury of vacating as tourists do, they have the responsibility to maintain the safety and cleanliness of their environment, and they most certainly cannot fulfill these tasks when tourists are interfering. Therefore, tourism needs to be further studied and acknowledged to prevent its continuance in damaging the world.

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About the Contributor
Bree Kuliga
Bree Kuliga, Staff Editor
Bree Kuliga is currently a senior at Quakertown High School. This is her first year as a staff writer/editor for paw prints. Bree enjoys all things writing, traveling, attendingconcerts, and performing. Her goal is to hopefully attend college as a musical theater major. Bree is looking forward to finishing out the rest of her senior year!

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