Impact of mass tourism

Mass tourism means that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of tourists who will descend onto a variety of tourist resorts each year.

In the UK, tourism makes up nearly 10% of the total GDP which means that tourism has cultural, economic and environmental impacts.

Pros and cons of tourism in the Serengeti

Cultural impacts

Positive impactsNegative impacts
Tourists learn about other cultures.Some traditional roles (such as farming) will be lost in order to provide tourist services.
Rich and poor can learn from each other.Tourist behaviour can lead to locals feeling that their culture and beliefs are minimised.
Tourists bring money which can breathe new life into neglected areas.Local languages might be lost as people prefer to use international languages such as English.
Local crafts might be revived to be sold to the tourist market.Crime and anti-social behaviour might rise as more and more tourists visit a place and bring their own social problems with them.

Economic impacts

Positive impactsNegative impacts
Increased employment. Over 400 million people around the world are employed in the tourism industry.Many tourism services are of little value to the locals.
Brings huge amounts of foreign currency into a country. This can help stabilise an economy and prices in a country.The cost of investment in roads or infrastructure will have to be borne by the local people.
Tourism companies make a profit which can either be invested into new facilities in a country or back into the business.The character of a place might change. Local shops might be displaced by shops that cater solely for tourists.
Improvement in general infrastructure can help locals.Traditional jobs will be lost as an area switches focus in providing for tourists needs.
Profits may ‘leak’ out of an area and back to the headquarters of a multi-national tourism organisation or hotel chain.

Environmental impacts

Positive impactsNegative impacts
Many tourist organisations are trying to create a more sustainable ethos for tourism. This helps to protect the animals and local environment and will be funded by the tourists who visit.Overcrowding can impact fragile environments and soil will be eroded away. Damage to the ecosystem might totally change the characteristics of a place.
Provides money that can help local people to protect their environment.Overcrowding can cause congestion and pollution. It will increase the carbon emissions in an area.
Can also help raise awareness of different issues such as water shortages or endangered animals.Tourists will increase the amount of waste and sewage in an area and this will need to be dealt with in a sustainable manner.
Improvements and investment in derelict areas and spaces that cannot be used for any other purpose.More pressure on delicate water supplies. Many tourist facilities require increases in the use of water and this can lead to local people losing access to clean drinking water.