Nearly everyone on the planet would love to see animals and wildlife in their natural habitat with plenty of the space and the resources they need to survive on their own. The problem is that this level of nature conservation is expensive. Leaving land free from development comes at a price. One solution to the expense of providing animals with protected areas is to use tourism as a way to fund the existence of the park. The advantages of this approach to nature conservation are that the protected area becomes affordable, if not profitable, and therefore the long term survival of the protected area is more assured. It also allows humans to interact with wildlife and see these animals in their natural habitats. This kind of exposure can lead to a lifelong appreciation for the importance of nature. The drawback to this approach to developing protected areas is that the human impact because of the tourism has a serious environmental impact. A look at several international examples will demonstrate how the balance between the advantages of using tourism to fund conservation and the disadvantages is a delicate and precarious balance. Recent moves towards sustainable tourism may offer the solution that both tourist and environmentalist are looking for
[...] Limits are set on the amount of development that can happen, and these guidelines are enforced by local governments. Although not as much money will be generated using this model, the idea is that the natural area becomes a permanent part of the landscape rather than being something that will disappear once tourist have degraded the area and ruined the natural landscape. A great example of this very issue of the beaches that everyone of every nation seems to enjoy visiting. [...]
[...] What happens typically in a beach area is that instead of a natural beach setting, hotels, motels, and resorts are built right on the shoreline. This overdevelopment leads to a huge environmental impact. Habitat for animals is lost to an ocean front pool or sunning deck. Dunes are paved for parking lots and an entire natural area is lost. Tourists are no longer even able to see many of the native or natural plants. The next thing that happens is that the once nice, wide beach begins to erode because the overdevelopment interferes with the natural sand cycle where the shoreline is allowed to move and add new sand through storms and the natural sand cycle. [...]
[...] The United Nations has been a leader in promoting global environmentalism by educating both industrialized and third world countries on the importance of environmental responsibility and fairness in tourism. The United Nations has also been a champion for environmental causes that affect the entire planet. One great example is the planet's oceans. The oceans attract so many tourists, but huge industries like the cruise line industry are international organizations that are not regulated by any one country. This lack of accountability has lead to degradation of the oceans as cruise ships continue to pollute the oceans unchecked. [...]
[...] This amazing geyser attracted tens of thousands of tourists each year and was known across the world for a predictable yet amazing geyser to see. Unfortunately, tourists through garbage into the opening of Old Glory. After years of this kind of severe degradation, the most predictable geyser in the world became irregular and unpredictable. Park rangers soon discovered that the geyser was actually clogged from the decades of rubbish that were in fact clogging the geyser. It was a major and severe undertaking to remove the garbage and much of the garbage could not be removed because of the scorching hot temperatures of the gyres' water. [...]
[...] The key to finding the balance between tourism and protected natural areas is to find a way for the natural area and all of the native species to coexist with mankind. This is a hard and difficult balancing act, but clearly the model of paving parts of beaches for parking lots and huge hotels has simply not worked. A new model is needed, and sustainable tourist offers the solution and a way for both the environment and the tourist to [...]
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