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It’s High Time to review and resolve
  • August 2018
The Tourism sector’s huge potential and its growth is said to be faster than the global economy as a whole, which begs the question, what can we do to make this Industry’s growth planned, and sustainable while also keeping it inclusive?

As more and more people from all over the world discover this sector, the need ensure environmental safety and sustainability by the tourism industry grows. Forecasts for 2018 suggested that growth will continue and Travel& Tourism is expected to support more than 400 million jobs globally, which equates to 1 in 9 of all jobs.

As tourism broadens its scope target to forests, there are increasing concerns of environmental jeopardy, with cases like in the Western Ghats where tourists laid waste to various remote areas, mostly due to poor waste management, with cleanups become less effective than intended and areas which tourists are not allowed to enter because of environmental reasons getting littered, a complicated security issue.

The usage of plastic is always high as a result of growing consumerism, which is often seen as a looming threat to the environment. Unplanned and unregulated urbanization happening caused by the increase in tourist footfalls always end up with poor waste management, especially plastic waste doesn’t make the situation any better. Since tourists move from destinations within a stipulated time, the waste disposal in tourism spots are always handed over to local communities or the authorities.  

According to UNEP, approximately 8 million tones of plastic are dumped into the ocean every minute, making our oceans a plastic broth. We buy one million plastic bottles every minute, a large quantity of them ending up in our surroundings. More than 15,000 tons of plasticwaste is generated in India alone every day.

The lack of more serious efforts from Industry stakeholders and the rest of the Tourism fraternity could have sever and lasting negative consequences beyond the loss of serenity in the nature around us.  

Initiatives such as #BeatPlasticPollution as the theme of World Environment Day, 2018 help educate local economic activities and inspire them to take up more initiatives.  

Tourism Carrying Capacity study is a holistic way of understanding how much tourism a specific place can contain, without impacting other important activities of the place. The capacity of a place to handle plastic waste by looking at consumption and disposal of plastic, the capacity of the place to segregate waste and the capacity to recycle plastic waste, would form a component of the tourism carrying capacity. 

Each destination will be unique about their own tourism carrying capacity and should assess kind of tourism and the volume that it can sustainably handle.

The world is reeling under a plastic management crisis where a sizeable amount of it being contributed by Tourism. It’s high time to revive and resolve the problem and the authorities and Tourism fraternities cannot ignore their responsibilities to check the unplanned growth of tourism.

Executive Editor

Tourism India, India's Travel &Tourism Magazine, Kerala, India.
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