December 11, 2007
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Tourism is a multibillion dollars industry that supports economic development; some people think that it causes damage to local environment and culture.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
The market for tourism in remote areas is booming. Countries all across the world are promoting their “wilderness” regions – such as mountains and deserts – to tourists, since wilderness tourism requires little or no initial investment. But that does not mean that there is no cost. These regions are fragile not just in terms of their environment, but also in terms of the culture of their inhabitants.
Once a location is established as tourist destination, the effects on local community are profound. In some hill-regions in China, for example, it is not surprising that many farmers give up their farm work and make more money through selling souvenirs in tourist attractions than farming.
The impact of visitors is another serious problem linked to tourist destination. In both mountain and desert regions, water supply may be limited throughout the year. However, the need of providing tourists with hot showers and cooking food makes this precious natural resource even more inadequate in those regions.
Although tourism inevitably affects the tourism regions, it brings a considerably large sum of money to local government, which can support the local economy, satisfy the development of financial need of health-care and basic education and resolve finance burden in poor areas to some extent.
In conclusion, people living in fragile environments should take proper measures to balance the protection of environment and culture identity and the demands of tourism to ensure that their tourism activities benefit the local population and environment in the long term. This may be the best way to resolve the problems related to flourishing tourism in fragile environments rather than merely restricting tourism.
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