The LINK: Environment and Tourism

Posted: November 23, 2010 in Sustainable Development, travel
Tags: , , , ,

To further explain my point on my previous post, The LINK: Sustainable Development and Tourism, read on.


Last summer, did you went to Boracay? Coron? and all the best beaches in the Philippines? I bet you extremely enjoyed it. I sure did especially when we stayed at Alta Vista de Boracay. Sleek hotel right? Up in the mountains and overlooking the sea. Back then, I didn’t even think of how many trees they have to cut just to build that hotel and where did all those trees go. I didn’t even think of how much water it consumes for its bathroom, swimming pool, kitchen etc. I didn’t even think where they throw their trash.

Well, I guess I should need to ask first the contractor of Alta Vista on their developmental plans. Maybe the trees were reused for furnitures and they planted new trees in exchange. Maybe the water underwent purification so that they can reuse it again. Maybe their trash was segregated into biodegradable and non-biodegradable items and non-bio items were either reused and recycled and the others were dumped properly. AAAHHH If i get those answers from them, it will make my experience a whole lot better.

A nice view from Alta Vista de Boracay during my stay there with ActivAsia

I did enjoy Boracay - the feeling of its fine white sand on my feet was very calming.

During your last trip, can you remember throwing trash on the beach? in the caves? waterfalls? Even small items like candy wrappers or cigarette butts? If your answer is yes, then YOU my friend just contributed to the death of these natural resources because trash doesn’t go away. It just piles up or moves – maybe not in the same place where you threw your trash but I’m absolutely sure it piled up somewhere – in the bottom of the ocean, on the next island or miraculously migrated to Taiwan because of a strong storm.

Tourists can be very harmful to the environment. Just imagine if each tourist takes a bottle of sand as a souvenir – and DOT is saying that we have more than 2 million tourists last year. Do you get the picture?

There is what we call a carrying capacity. GDRC (The Global Development Research Center) defines carrying capacity as the number of individuals who can be supported in a given area within natural resource limits, and without degrading the natural social, cultural and economic environment for present and future generations. The carrying capacity for any given area is not fixed. It can be altered by improved technology, but mostly it is changed for the worse by pressures which accompany a population increase. As the environment is degraded, carrying capacity actually shrinks, leaving the environment no longer able to support even the number of people who could formerly have lived in the area on a sustainable basis. No population can live beyond the environment’s carrying capacity for very long.

On this part, we are failing to see the carrying capacities of our tourism destinations. The government and tourism stakeholders should be the one ensuring on how much the destination can really accommodate in terms of visitors – and not just look into how much money it can generate.

See the impact? Well, not just for Tourism but also in all industries whether its manufacturing, telecommunications, etc. It’s good to ask yourself by now on HOW does your industry affect the environment.

I would appreciate it very much if you can post a comment below if you already have an answer on the HOW question. 🙂


I want to make you understand that even in our own ways, we can either destroy or help the environment. So please, on your next travel, be mindful of your trash.


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