Introducing Tourists

The Effect of Tourism on the Environment

Tourism will always have environmental impacts. The question is can they be minimised so that the environment can cope?

One critical factor is the number of tourists that the environment can support. Advertisement plays a major role in determining tourist numbers. The diagram below shows that advertising increases the attractiveness of a resort to tourists, and as their numbers increase, so the environmental quality goes down. The more intensive the advertising, the more tourists will come, and the more rapidly the environment will deteriorate.

Your turn to experiment!

Try increasing and decreasing the advertising rate, and see what happens to the number of tourists and the environmental quality.


What did you discover?

With no advertising, there are no tourists, and the environmental quality is high. With maximum advertising, the number of tourists peaks rapidly and then declines dramatically. Tourists stop coming in such large numbers because the environmental quality declines surprisingly quickly. This is the typical pattern of fast and uncontrolled tourism development, leading to a collapse in both quality of environment and tourism. It is bad for the local economy as well - jobs are lost as the tourists move on to other destinations, and the cycle is repeated there.

Insights from the System Dynamics Model Diagram

These diagrams trace cause and effect. Follow the arrows to see how one factor causes change in another.

Insight #1: Advertising is crucial, in that it increases attractiveness, and therefore increases the number of tourists.

Insight #2: Can you see how an increase in the number of tourists increases the environmental degeneration rate?


Next, we'll bring in hotels and investment decisions, and see how these affect sustainability.