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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Meet the Robinberry family. Mum and dad are keen explorers who have travelled around the world, visiting at least one country every year. They are both avid adventurers, whose proudest achievement is climbing Mount Everest. They even continued their travels when their kids, Jill and Bob were born. More recently, Mrs. Robinberry has started working as an environmental impact officer, which has opened their eyes to the impacts of their own travels. Looking back at their previous holidays, the family discuss the environmental impacts their travels had on the countries they visited. All that air travel isn’t good for the environment, especially our trips to Europe. And it’s getting worse with air travel growing by 5% every year!

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds But, what are the alternatives and how much of a difference would it make? If we’d used the train, we could have reduced the CO2 emissions to a fraction of those for flying. Especially when you consider we could have completely avoided high altitude emissions, which are even worse for the environment. I never knew that, maybe we can look at alternative forms of transport for our next holiday. I wonder, is there anything else we can do to help lower pollution and make a positive impact on the places we visit? I’m sure there are, our holidays might impact negatively on pristine natural environments, but we have positive impacts as well, such as the money we spend with the locals.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds Like the Sherpa’s that helped us when we climbed Everest. The Robinberrys have identified some of the positive and negative impacts of tourism, which are either environmental, economic or social and cultural. These impacts can be felt at a local, national or international level. But what can the Robinberrys do to mitigate the negative impacts of their travels, while still being able to explore the world?

The impacts of tourism

Most of us, like the Robinberry family, have had the chance to experience tourism impacts, whether as a tourist (consumer), a provider, and/or someone who has noticed such impacts while observing tourists.

That tourism will have an impact is inevitable and positive impacts are actively sought out by local communities and authorities alike.

There are, however, several things that need to be considered when analysing tourism in an area or region:

  • How beneficial are the impacts to the local community?
  • Is it beneficial enough for the local community to have tourism or does the price that they are paying outweigh the benefits?
  • Are there appropriate ways to maximise the benefits and minimise the negative impacts of tourism?
  • What can be put in place to ensure that the local people are not negatively affected by tourism?
  • Can the local action assist the community or does the wider region need to be involved?

A range of tourism options have developed as an alternative to mass tourism, which is seen as mostly destructive to local populations, but which is the most sustainable?

Your task

Before we look at the impacts and alternatives in more detail:

Which impacts do you think are the most difficult to tackle?

Which ‘alternative’ would you recommend to the Robinberry family who are looking to reduce the negative impact of their travels?

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This video is from the free online course:

The Impacts of Tourism

Coventry University