4.9. Tourism and human disturbance

Almost half of the world’s human population lives within 50 miles of the coast and we all depend on the resources offered by the sea for the food we eat or the oxygen we breathe, to list only the fundamentals of human life. Human beings have developed a strong connection with the marine environment by taking advantage of their wealth without realizing that the recovery capacity is not infinite, indeed they are just over.

Photo 4.9.1. Over construction. Blue World Institute

One of the most developed and influential activities of coastal areas today is tourism. It brings many positive aspects to the coastal area, such as enabling a large number of workplaces, significant share of GDP in many national economies, enabling cultural exchange and the valorization of many cultural and natural values. On the other hand, tourism has its negative influence on the environment. A sudden rise in population in tourist places have negative consequences such as traffic overload, overload of water supply and electricity grid, lack of drinking water in the season, problem disposal of increased waste and wastewater. Great concentration of human population in one area can lead to ecological problems such as water pollution, pollution of the sea, pollution of the beach, increased crowd (motor vehicles), increased noise (entertainment facilities), increased waste, increased risk of fire and so on. Tourist facilities occupy the most attractive locations resulting in overdevelopment and devastation of space, seizure of access to the coast, the destruction of old city cores and other tourist attractions and the changes in landscape of the entire area.

Photo 4.9.2. Overcrowded beach. Blue World Institute

Therefore, it is essential for the coastal areas to carefully plan their future development. In that regards, Integrated Coastal Area Management is the approach developed in order to ensure sustainable development of tourism and other human activities in coastal areas. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability. Sustainable tourism should make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.

Photo 4.9.3. Recreational boat. Blue World Institute