Today’s article aims to ruin yet another thing people like- travelling. Who doesn’t love vacations? We get to take a break from our daily monotonous lives and experience different cultures, see the beautiful local architecture, eat local food etc. Not only is it relaxing for the tourist, but also beneficial for the locals. Many countries around the world depend on tourism. It brings in money and supports local economies. In 2019, about 4.2 crore jobs were created by the tourism sector alone in India, which accounts for 8.1 % of the total employment in the country. However, there are two sides to every coin, and the other side is unknown to many.
Let’s start with travelling. Getting to your destination requires some sort of travelling by planes, trains, cars etc. The main problem with the aviation industry is of noise and air pollution. In 2010, the aviation industry carried 2.4 billion passengers and that number is predicted to increase to 16 billion by 2050. It also produces 2% of all human-induced carbon dioxide emissions globally. Choosing to avoid flying and taking a cruise instead? Good luck with that. A week’s worth of travel on a cruise is responsible for depositing about 210,000 gallons of human sewage into the ocean. It is also accompanied by many other problems like air pollution and destruction of coral reefs. If that isn’t enough, they also mistreat their workers. Cruise ship workers suffer many problems like long work hours, terrible pay, and inadequate healthcare.
Now, assuming that you’ve reached your destination, the troubles don’t end there. Often the locals have to go through hell, just so that the tourists can live luxuriously. Although it cannot be denied that the employment bought in by this industry is necessary, people fail to look at the kind of jobs being created. The main kind of employment created is low wage and seasonal, with no hopes of any promotion in them. Tourism is also expensive, and prices tend to be higher in tourist destinations. This means that the locals have to pay exorbitantly high prices for daily products like petrol, vegetables, fruits etc. The governments sadly pay more attention and give more importance to the tourists rather than their people.
Even animals cannot escape the adverse effects of tourism. Wildlife tourism is a multimillion-dollar industry and causes great harm to animals in their natural habitats. Endangered animals are drugged just so people can take photos with them, to flaunt their lifestyles on social media. Scuba diving is an activity enjoyed by many on vacations. Yet, its impact on marine life cannot be ignored. Breakage of coral colonies and tissue damage from direct contact such as walking, touching, kicking, standing, or gear contact and water pollution is common in tourist destinations.
There are many problems with this industry which are overlooked. However, we simply cannot shut all forms of tourism as many countries are dependent on it. The COVID 19 pandemic has shown us how some countries can be negatively impacted if tourism is stopped. So, reform in our methods of travelling is crucial. Some ways by which we can achieve this are:-
- Minimise waste generation
- Support family-owned and local businesses by buying merchandise and souvenirs from them
- Try to find out ways to minimise your impact on wildlife
- Do not travel by cruises or planes. Try trains instead
- If no alternatives to flying are available, then choose direct flights
Sources : https://www.atag.org/facts-figures.html