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The Study of Tourism Impacts

The Study of Tourism Impacts
My name is Geoffrey Wall, for most of my life, I have been professor of geography and environmental management at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I can describe my research interesting one sentence, I try to understand the implications of tourism of different types for destinations with different characteristics. I believe that if you understand some of these things, then there is a possibility that you might have something useful to say with respect to tourism planning. My topic today is concerned with impacts of tourism. In Europe, especially in some cities, there has been concerned about overtourism or too many tourists.
Many residents of places like Venice, Barcelona, believe that their lives are being affected negatively by the massive number of tourists that are visiting their communities. On the other hand, there are many places perhaps most places, that would still like to have more tourists visit, because they see advantages particularly economic advantages in having tourists. If we look at the situation very broadly, what we are talking about is essentially pressure of people on resources. Understanding of this topic is not new. If we think globally, and go back to the end of 19 century, for instance, we can find the English clergymen, Tomas Malthus, writing about the pressure of population on the resources.
And if we possible trace history of such thinking right up to present day, when there are such issues as global climate change, and movies such as Anthropocene, which talks about the fact that human beings now are making so much impact on the environment.
If we look at the titles of early tourism books, we would find examples such as Tourism Blessing or Blight;
Tourism: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. That is for almost 50 years, people have understood that tourism has both negative as well as positive consequences.
Also, many years ago, particularly geographers in the US Department of Agriculture working in parts of particulars areas, talked about carrying capacity, limits of acceptable change, and recreation opportunity spectrum, which more recently have been reintroduced into the tourism literature. We would have more to say about this later on.
In 1982, Mathieson, who was my graduate student and I wrote a book,
in title Tourism: Economic, Physical and Social Impacts. I believe this was the first substantial document, which considered economic, environmental and social impacts within one cover. In fact, there are 3 or 4 divisions continues as people talked about such topics as sustainable development. I am trying to suggest to you that the understanding of the impact of tourism is not a particularly new topic.
These all papers written by George Doxey, a political scientist, who is now unfortunately deceased, talked about When Enough’s Enough. And he based his research on places like Niagara-On-The-Lake, a small historic town in Niagara Fall in Canada, as well as Barbados, the Caribbean Island. In the 1970s, he suggested when tourists first arrive the destination, the residents were usually very happy about this because they see the prospect of jobs and income. But as the numbers of tourists increases, they began to be effected, and eventually maybe antagonistic, as they believe that the growing numbers of tourists undermine their formerly quiet lives. There is also an early diagram, we showed on the left-hand side that people can be either for or against more tourism.
They can actively try to change the number of tourists or they can just accept what is going on.
The arrows go in multiple directions, which illustrate that people can change their minds.
When I published this book in 1982, a man of Niagara-On-The-Lake, which is one of the communities George Doxey had worked in, wrote me a letter. he said He was very pleased to learn people were studying tourism, and he pointed out that in his small town there were three shops selling candies, no shops selling shoes. Economy has changed markedly to cater to tourists, rather local people.
25 years later, we publish a new book which updated the literature. Suddenly there have been changed, in the first book we did not talk about sustainable development. The word eco-tourism is not used, or the word ecotourism is used but many of the ideas from the first book continue in the second book, where understanding has increased in detail and tourism itself has changed, many of the fundamental ideas remain unchanged. And we will explore these later in this presentation.

In this session, Professor Geoffrey Wall will tell us that the pressures between population and resource are not new and the study of the impact of tourism has a long history.

We would like to invite you to share some thoughts in the comments section below.

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Tourism Policy and Planning

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