Every year on September 27th, World Tourism Day is commemorated to raise awareness of the relevance of tourism to the global community.
Various special activities and festivals are held by many tourism businesses and organisations, as well as government agencies with a special interest in tourism.
The aim of World Tourism Day is to raise awareness of the importance of tourism, as well as its social, political, financial, and cultural worth and value, throughout the world. The event aims to resolve some of the Millennium Development Goals’ common challenges, as reported by the United Nations. It’s also to highlight and acknowledge the tourism industry’s contribution to achieving these goals.
So Tourism is on the rise, however with that it’s also hastening climate change. Tourism leads to global warming by accounting for around 5% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation alone is responsible for three-quarters of these emissions.
Naturally, this applies to Berchtesgaden as well; many visitors visit us each year in order to take the perfect Instagram photo and leave a trail of trash in their wake. Despite the fact that an increasing number of people are attempting to live more sustainably, many remain unconcerned about the environment.
How is Tourism polluting the Environment?
Tourism, like any other industry, can pollute the environment in the following ways: air pollution, noise pollution, solid waste and littering, sewage, oil and chemicals. In addition, the tourism industry also leads to architectural and visual emissions.
- Air Pollution and Noise
In response to the growing number of visitors and their increased mobility, air, road, and rail transportation is steadily increasing. Tourism, in truth, accounts for more than 60% of all air travel.
According to one study, a single transatlantic return flight emits nearly half of the CO2 emissions produced by all other sources (lighting, heating, car use, etc.) consumed by an average person annually!
This results in serious local air pollution. It also leads to global warming. Fortunately, technical advances in aviation are resulting in the use of more environmentally sustainable aircraft and fuels around the world, though the issue remains unsolved. If you really want to improve the world, you can look for other modes of transportation and stop flying altogether.
Or, you could offset your carbon footprint!
Noise pollution is another problem to consider.
Noise emissions from planes, cars, buses, plus snowmobiles and jet skis, among other things, can irritate, stress, and even cause hearing loss in humans. Wildlife is also distressed, and animals’ normal behavior habits can be disrupted.
2. Tourism and Natural Resources
Natural resource depletion is a growing concern, especially in areas where resources are already scarce. Local flora and fauna can be deprived of the services they need to survive in such areas. Significant amounts of water are used to meet the needs of visitors, operate hotels, swimming pools, and maintain golf courses, for example. This has the potential to degrade water quality and reduce the amount of water available to the local population, plants, and animals. Water supplies aren’t the only thing that’s running out. The tourist industry’s unsustainable activities will put a strain on other resources such as food, electricity, and so on.
Waste disposal is a major issue in areas with high concentrations of tourist activities and attractive natural attractions, adding significantly to tourism’s environmental impacts.
Improper waste disposal can have a significant negative impact on the environment. Waste ranging from plastic bottles to sewage is often found littering rivers, scenic areas, and roadside areas.
Mountain areas are often subjected to the tourism industry’s wrath. Trekking tourists create a lot of waste in mountainous areas. Tourists on expeditions are notorious for leaving trash, oxygen bottles, and even camping equipment behind.
On the left, you can see what our Berchtesgaden rangers recently discovered, someone had not only illegally camped in the National Park, but had also left their garbage behind!
What can we do to avoid Pollution?
The national park of Berchtesgaden has already begun a number of projects, one of which is a group of volunteers who clean a section of the park on a regular basis, but this will not be enough to solve the problem. We need to be more conscious of our surroundings and how we behave.
There are several ways to travel in a more environmentally friendly manner and reduce pollution. The options are infinite, from eco-friendly hotels to not traveling by plane.
However, not all of us will consider those options, as some are just more expensive. Begin with a small project. Living a little more sustainably does not have to cost the world.
Instead of leaving your plastic waste in the wild, dispose of it at home. Often, rather than buying a plastic water bottle, consider investing in a reusable water bottle. There are many ways to help save our environment; it doesn’t have to be something drastic, such as being vegan; simply do your best and educate yourself!