What Are the Environmental Impacts of Tourism?

Pollution, depletion of resources, and physical changes and degradation of the landscape are three of the chief impacts of conventional tourism on a native ecosystem. There are many specific issues and situations which may arise within these basic categories.

The negative environmental impacts of tourism result from the fact that the influx of visitors creates a situation where local resources are insufficient to cope with the increased traffic. This can result in a number of specific issues.

  • Resource depletion - water shortages, high energy use, shortage of raw materials and competition with local populations for scarce resources.
  • Pollution - pollution of air, water and land, sewage systems overtaxed, litter, noise pollution.
  • Physical changes - trampling of grass or sand, destruction of plant life and plant and animal habitats, deforestation.