Tourism is travel for predominantly recreational or leisure purposes. According to The World Tourism Organization definition tourists as people who “travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited”.
In context of globalization international tourism is the largest and most rapidly expanding industry in the world. Many of the most popular tourist destinations depend heavily on the natural environment for their appeal.
According to the World Tourism Organization, 698 million people traveled to a foreign country in 2000, spending more US$ 478 billion. International tourism receipts combined with passenger transport currently total more than US$ 575 billion – making tourism the world’s number one export earner.
Tourism involves the movement of people from their homes to other destinations and accounts for about 50% of traffic movements; to give an indication, the ICAO reported that the number of international air passengers worldwide rose from 88 million in 1972 to 344 million in 1994. From 594 million international travellers in 1996, numbers are forecast to leap to 702 million by next year, and from 698 million international travelers in 2000, numbers are forecast to leap to 1,018 million by 2010 and 1.6 billion by 2020.
One consequence of this increase in air transport is that tourism now accounts for more than 60% of air travel and is therefore responsible for an important share of air emissions and the role of air travel within the industry is also likely to expand and cause considerable environmental damage and to have knock-on effects on the tourism industry itself.
Air pollution from tourist transportation has impacts on the global level, especially from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions related to transportation energy use. And it can contribute to severe local air pollution. Some of these impacts are quite specific to tourist activities.
Currently, aircraft account for around 3% of all emissions globally. The International Panel on Climate Change expects this to increase by up to 7% by 2050. Because emissions from other sectors are also expected to increase, this figure masks the increase in real terms: the actual tonnage of carbon emitted, driven by air traffic increase of 5% per year, will increase by over 75% by 2015.
Tourism is thus a significant contributor to the increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This rapidly expanding air traffic contributes about 2.5% of the production of CO2
One study estimated that a single transatlantic return flight emits almost half the CO2 emissions produced by all other sources (lighting, heating, car use, etc.) consumed by an average person yearly and air transport has been estimated to be between two and four times more polluting per passenger carried than road transport.
According to Tourism Concern, scientists predict that by 2015 half of the annual destruction of the ozone layer will be caused by air travel.
It is known that road transport also contributes to green house gases during tourism activities through World Tourism Organization. In France, for example domestic and international tourism now account for 7-8% of France’s total road transport emissions (which themselves were the origin of 39% of the country’s total CO2 emissions in 1990, up from 8% 30 years earlier).
Noise pollution from airplanes, cars, and buses, as well as recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and jet skis, is an ever-growing problem of modern life. In addition to causing annoyance, stress, and even hearing loss for it humans, it causes distress to wildlife, especially in sensitive areas. For instance, noise generated by snowmobiles can cause animals to alter their natural activity patterns. From case study in winter 2000, 76,271 people entered Yellowstone National Park on snowmobiles, outnumbering the 40,727 visitors who came in cars, 10,779 in snow coaches and 512 on skis. A survey of snowmobile impacts on natural sounds at Yellowstone found that snowmobile noise could be heard 70% of the time at 11 of 13 sample sites, and 90% of the time at 8 sites. At the Old Faithful geyser, snowmobiles could be heard 100% of the time during the daytime period studied. Snowmobile noise drowned out even the sound of the geyser erupting.
Transport, which is at the heart of travel and tourism is an evident challenge – not only the high profile air transport with its direct interrelationship to green house gases, but also road and rail transport which are major factors in intraregional and domestic tourism. Recently UNWTO and WWF takes some policies and initiatives to concern about this transport pollution. Let’s hope for the best to become true these actions unless tourism will face great dangerous impacts. In Bangladesh though tourism is not a broaden trade but on-wards we should be concerned to protect Environment first.
This article is written by Khalid and first published 2009.10.02 on BD Experts.
There are so many visionary people and valuable resources related to a sustainable tourism development in Bangladesh. If these forces are united great things will happen – both on grass root, private sector and at government level.
Please join the online Views On Tourism network and discussion group in order to achieve personal goals as well as encourage a sustainable tourism development in Bangladesh. Read more about this group and how to become a member here.
The article is uploaded by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.