In this final section, I want to summaries some of the key points that I’ve made in the early sections and point out some of the important factors that I think you should take away from this series of presentations. My first point is where over-tourism is receiving more and more discussion in the literature; it is not really a novel topic. We have long known about negative as well as positive impacts of tourism. Often tourism is wanted because its positive economic benefits, often it seen to have negative environment consequences and the social cultural consequences are often mixed. We have known this for a long time.
However, what has happened is many of the studies originally were done in relatively natural areas, but the concepts are being now used in urban areas, particularly in Europe, and they are not very easily transferable. While certain cities and certain places including places like the Great Wall in China, are probably overused at least in parts, there are so many places that want more tourists. The studies that have been conducted on the impacts of tourism over 50 years, also resulted in great deal of knowledge about tourism impacts economically, environmentally and socially. Of course, we still need to do such studies as different issues of rights, about big challenge is implementing the findings. The knowledge is not easy transferred into planning and management.
Even though I’ve suggested some very simple notions such as points, lines and areas, which I think might be helpful.
One of the biggest issues is the speed of change. Tourism has been growing extremely rapidly, certainly one can detect particular pause in particular situations resulting from political situations, or war, or terrorism, or spread of disease where temporarily the growth in tourism has paused. But most places have experienced growth of tourism.
And often very rapid growth of tourism. And in that situation, it is very difficult to plan and manage for the future. And very importantly, the sites and units that we are dealing with have grown. The point that I’ve made about growing increase in the sizes of ships, of accommodation, of planes and so on. Mean that is much more difficult to keep everything in balance as tourism grows.
If we look at this broadly, when we dealing with management impacts, we really dealing with supply-demand relationships. the supply of natural areas and heritage and cultures and so on, and demand from visitors. And demand varies on multiple scales. Between day and night, visitors are distributed differently and doing different things in the day from what they are doing and night. They are distributed differently weekends from during the week. Seasonality is a big issue in most tourism destinations. Even in places where climate has not change a very rapidly. Whether it does not change very rapidly, tourists want to come at particular time because of seasonality in their home area. So, demand is varying on multiple scales.
We cannot provide economically sufficient supply to meet peak periods. If we do, it would be empty for most of the year. On the other hand, at peak periods places would be overcrowded. There would be insufficient supply of the things that tourists need, and this would result in increased negative impacts. So the challenge of balancing supply and demand is what we call it a wicked problem, one that there is no simple solution too. So, good management of the relationships between supply and demand will continue to be required. So I think the future of people studying tourism and their requirement for input into planning and management is likely to continue to be strong.
But I raise a question in conclusion, are we providing adequate training to meet current and future needs. As students study more and more in business schools, I wonder whether they are receiving sufficient instruction in environmental processes and culture sensitivity in order to be well prepared to provide the inputs that are needed to manage the impacts that we have been discussing. Most of the large projects that I’ve been involved in, in fact have not been focused on tourism, They have been on the relationship between tourism and other economic sectors. Because tourism is competing with other potential uses for the scarce resources of land, water, waste simulation capacity, energy, labor and so on.
So, very few problems are solely tourism problems, that problems are related to sustainability, community development, a biodiversity strategy, indigenous people, the list is a long one. Tourism is very important in all of those issues, but they are not solely tourism issues. So, as I finish, I would encourage people to read very widely and to encourage you to think about the role of tourism in these wide issues, because I think that the relationship between tourism and other sectors is where most of the issues lie. Thank you for listening.