The Impact Of Mass Tourism

The package holiday is one of main the reason for `mass tourism` (a branch of tourism in which large multinational companies shape developments according to global demand). It is large-scale, highly focus on popular destinations and pay little regard to local communities. As with most developments mass tourism has brought Advantages and Disadvantages, these impacts of fall mainly under three headings (economic, socio-cultural and environmental).

Advantages: There are a growing numbers of countries that now benefit form tourism. These are countries in Southern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and central America. These counties benefit from tourisms multiplier effects shown in the image below. Tourism is labour heavy and creates many jobs not just in hotels and restaurants. Although Tourism is a Tertiary sector activity it has also effected the Primary and Secondary sectors e.g. agriculture and manufacturing. Because tourism needs food this is good for agriculture and because of products such as souvenirs manufacturing is boosted. The hotel, restaurant and shop staff spend money in the local shops. Tourism puts money in many peoples pockets and through the multiplier effect, the whole local economy is boosted.

Office Lens 20151122-160729


Disadvantages: Although money is spent on the local area, boosting the economy and providing jobs a lot of the money is taken by TNC’s providing the holidays for example Thomas Cook, First Choice and Thompsons. These means that the money from the holiday leaks out to the country where that tour operator’s head office is, this is money that could be used to develop the country. For example in Vanuatu in the Pacific 90% of profits go to foreign countries. Tourist destinations, particularly in LIC’s, can become very dependant on foreign companies.

Socio-cultural Impacts

The impact on culture depends on the type and volume of tourism, on the other hand some places of mass tourism has revived local handicrafts as well as the performing arts and rituals – if only commercial entertainment for visitors. However the socio-cultural impacts of tourism are mostly negative. The more tourists there converged in a location the more likely there is to be tension the local people. Tourist can easily offend local culture, tradition and codes of behaviour in a number of ways:

  • Drinking too much alcohol and becoming loud and offensive.
  • Ignoring local dress code and revealing too much skin.
  • Encouraging prosecution and, unintentionally, crime.
  • Eroding the local language by relying too much on mother language.
  • Failing to behave in the proper way in places of worship.

It would be good to think tourism is bring on multiculturalism by mixing of cultures, however this is rare. In some parts of the world local people and tourism deliberately stay separate, for example in Cuba (for political reasons) and the Maldives (religious reasons.

Environmental Impacts

There aren’t many positive impacts but again it depends on the nature and volume of tourism. But ecotourism does provide some opportunities for people to learn about environments and to become supporters of environmental conversation. The negative impacts are as follows:

  • The clearance of important habitats, such as mangroves and rainforest, to provide building sites for hotels
  • The overuse of water resources
  • The pollution of the sea, lakes and rivers by rubbish and sewage
  • The destruction of wildlife by safari tourism, hunting and fishing
  • Traffic congestion, air and noise pollution.

Case Study: Benidorm

Costa Blanca is the most famous 200km stretch of coast in Spain. But used to be a fishing village in 1950 but due to package holidays in the 1960’s the area has transformed into and area of high-rise hotels, holiday apartments, shops, cafes and restaurants. Millions of tourists are attracted by clear blue waters, the vast white sand beaches, the hot, dry, sunny weather and a wide range of leisure facilities.

This growth of mass tourism has brought many advantages for example jobs. Also the infrastructure of this region has seen a number of impartments and benefits. This is part of the multiplier effect: tourists arrive, spending more money, which creates more jobs – not just in tourism but for construction and local suppliers for example farmers.

Image result for benidorm leisure activities

However because most visitors are concentrated from May to October in a small area on the Mediterranean coast, there has been an increased pressure on the already limited resources. This includes:

  • A high demand for water – tourists use twice as much water per week as locals.
  • The Productions/Disposal of 45,000,000,000Kg of waste each year.
  • Increased urbanisation meaning more hotels and facilities are built, damaging local ecosystems.
  • The increase in holiday homes which take up more land than hotels but are only occupied for shorts time periods.
  • High levels of pollution especially from vehicles.

Benidorm is one of the most famous modern Mediterranean holiday resorts (shown above). It has a permanent population of about 70000, but during peak summer season the population is more than half a million.

The development of Benidorm started in 1954, when its young mayor drew up an ambitious plan of urban development. The whole project really took off in the 1960’s when it became popular with British tourists. Today Benidorm’s tourist season is all year round, involving not just sun, sea and sand but also the nightlife – based on central concentration of bars and clubs and especially attracts younger people. This also transformed a small sleepy village into a modern pulsating urban are of skyscraper hotels and apartment blocks.


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