Had enough campaign Package of shame
In January 2004, Responsible Travel carried out a survey of 1,000 tourists – the results revealed that two thirds of them didn’t like the effects of mass tourism (in the form of resorts) on local culture and the environment. Almost nine out of ten respondents felt that tour operators had a duty to do more to protect them.
In response to this survey, we created a petition to encourage three of the largest UK holiday companies to publish responsible tourism policies. We also contacted the companies directly, and ran a campaign in the national press.
Our factsheet highlights just a few of the negative impacts of mass tourism..........
The staggering growth of tourism1.1 UK outbound tourists
2000 56.8m 1.2 International arrivals worldwide
If you thought the problems associated with mass tourism are severe now tourism arrivals are set to more than double
over the next 20 years. Source: World Tourism Organisation
The economic impacts of mass tourism: Where does your pound go?2.1 The Dominican Republic
is the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean with the largest all-inclusive resort industry in the world with 50,000 rooms. Although it had the highest economic growth in the Americas from 1996-2000, 90 percent of its 8 million residents live below the poverty line.
Of the money that we pay for our average all-inclusive holiday, 89 percent stays in the UK with the operator, the air carrier, insurance cover, commissions and the travel agency. Of the remaining 11 percent, the hotel gets just 3 percent. You can imagine how much is left in for the staff in the hotels…
Anna works as a chambermaid at a major 4* hotel that the big UK operators use. She works a nine-hour day and cleans 21 large rooms. She is widowed with two children. When she takes her holidays, she doesn't get paid for them or for the lengthy overtime that she has to work. She would like a union to give her security, but the hotel won't allow workers to set one up.
Anna lives in a pleasant four-room flat with her children and several other relatives, in order to pay the rent, but she finds it very difficult to manage. "The conditions for the worker in the Dominican Republic are very poor," she says. "We live thinking every day what we're going to eat and how to pay for the electricity. We have to go to work every day thinking of all of this. We have to smile to the tourists but it is not what we are feeling in our souls. We want to work and we want to make your holidays happy. But it is difficult." Source: Tourism Concern2.2 Where does your holiday pound go?
Out of every pound that you spend on a holiday to Kenya, 20p goes to the travel agent, 40p goes to the airline, 23p goes to the hotel chain, 8p goes to the safari company, 9p goes to the Kenyan government and the Maasai, on whose lands we have our safari, gets nothing! And then out of the 9p that goes to the Kenyan government 15 percent goes out again in debt and the rest goes in imports to bring in the goods we need for a great holiday! Source: Tourism Concern
The environmental impacts of mass tourism3.1 Water
1bn people have no access to safe drinking water Source: The Chrysalis Economy
The average tourist uses as much water in 24 hours as a third world villager would use to produce rice for 100 days. Source: The United Nations
A single luxury hotel in a Third World country can use 66,000 gallons of water a day. Source: The Independent Benidorm
has more than 130 hotels, with 30,000 swimming pools across the resort. Dry almost all year round, Benidorm depends on extracting water stored underground. As its level drops, seawater creeps in poisoning surrounding farmland. Water is being removed from aquifers two or three times faster than it can be replenished (Dr Jose Luis Rubio, European Society for Soil and Water Conservation). A single golf course in the area consumes as much water as a town of 10,000 people in the area (Xavier Font, Leeds Metropolitan University)
Benidorm is not unique, in Calpe and Denia fresh water is so scare that residents must buy bottled water to drink. The Mayor of Capri – 800 miles across the Mediterranean explained that the island had run out of water and blamed "low budget tourists." Source: The Independent
In Goa women have to walk further and further to fetch fresh water as the booming tourism industry soaks it up for hotels.
Goan Cartoon: "Goa has been declared a drought area… except the areas around tourists hotels, tourists hotspots, and ministers' bungalows." Alexyz, Goan cartoonist.3.2 Coral reefs
More than 50% of the world's coral reefs are at risk.
Discovery Bay in Jamaica used to have corals covering 50 percent of its surface area 30 years ago, now it is less than 2 percent Source: The American Association for the Advancement of Science
Travel by air is the fastest growing cause of global warning Source: Climate CareBarbados, dive tourism and reefs
Effluent discharged from hotels into the sea is destroying coral reefs in Barbados and although it is treated in septic tanks and therefore not a health hazard, it is rich in nitrogen, which kills the marine plants upon which fish feed, and is eradicating the polyps that build up coral reefs. Source: Jean Keefe for Tourism Concern
Dive tourism has been responsible for some of the physical damage to the reef systems. Divers have been guilty of toppling and trampling corals, as well as removing them for souvenirs. Dive boats have carelessly dropping and dragging anchors on the reefs. The removal of coastal vegetation for aesthetic purposes has resulted in the erosion of sand from the beaches and reduced the areas suitable for turtle nesting. In other case beach front lighting confuses hatchlings so that they cannot find their way to the water and safety. Source: Barbados Ministry of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources
Tortoiseshell products and stuffed baby turtles are openly for sale in South East Asia and the Caribbean, although all marine turtles are threatened and the international trade is banned. Corals and shells are also part of the vast souvenir market. Ornamental corals are sold in many countries as cheap souvenirs, bought on a whim and discarded when they start to gather dust on a mantelpiece.
When worlds collide: The social impacts of mass tourismSource: WWF
The raw material of the tourist industry is the flesh and blood of people and their cultures Cecil Rajendra, Malaysia. 4.1 Sexual abuse
13-19 million children are working in the tourism sector all over the world.
More than 1m children are sexually abused by tourists every year. Source: The United Nations 4.2 Displacement
In 1997 Althea, a young lawyer working in London returned to Jamaica, the country of her birth, for a holiday. She set off from her village to walk along the beach – only to find that the path was blocked. "The best beaches have now been privatised and it is no longer possible for local people to go there. Fishermen have suffered most as they can no longer beach their boats and land their catches on these beaches. All I wanted to do was walk along the sand but a security guard stopped me. I wasn't even allowed to dip my toes in the water! Our beaches are lovely but they should be enjoyed by everyone.
She now senses a very deep resentment of tourists amongst Jamaicans. "Jamaica is a popular tourist destination, but the majority of people do not benefit from tourism, despite the money it brings into the country."Theoretically in law all land up to the high-water mark is public Source: Tourism Concern
4.3 Erosion of local cultures
"Mass tourism is hawking a superficial exoticism that ignores the true culture of destinations. Holiday centres offer a reconstructed ethnicity that satisfies a thirst for new thrills. Tourism has generated a form of sub culture that humiliates both tourists and the host community". The Pope
In Hawaii, hotels and resorts have been built on sites that are culturally significant to Native Hawaiians. Despite their protests, ancient burial grounds have been bulldozed. Source: Tourism Concern
The charge sheet
Thomson Holidays, Thomas Cook and MyTravel
1. Are pumping out superficial and uninteresting holidays that increasing numbers of tourists no longer want
2. Are damaging destinations and local cultures, and providing limited benefits for local people
3. Do not provide tourists with adequate information on local cultures and customs
4. Employ staff and reps from the UK rather than local guides
5. Do not use their influence sufficiently to improve the wages and working conditions of hotel staff in destinations
6. Do not use their influence sufficiently to improve the environmental practices of hotels
7. Do not use their influence to ensure hotels are buying local produce and services to benefit the local economy
8. Do not organise excursions to benefit local conservation and social projects and provide tourists with insights into local destinations
9. Do not care enough about destinations to publish full social, environmental and economic responsible travel policies
10. Do not think tourists are interested enough to provide any tips for responsible travel in their brochures or departure information