The Future of Tourism
“There are examples from almost every country in the world, where tourism development has been identified as being the main cause of environmental degradation.”
NOT only might the growth of tourism be a threat to the environment but it may contribute to other problems as well. Let us briefly consider some of these. Afterward, we will discuss future possibilities of touring our marvelous earth and of becoming acquainted with its wonders, especially its lovely people.
The sheer volume of tourists today has led to problems. “In India, the Taj Mahal is suffering wear and tear from visitors,” write researchers Lickorish and Jenkins, adding: “In Egypt, the pyramids are also threatened by large numbers of visitors.”
In addition, these authors warn that uncontrolled tourism can kill or stunt vegetation when hordes of visitors tramp through conservation areas. Moreover, species can be endangered when tourists collect items such as rare seashells and coral or when local residents gather these items to sell to tourists.
Tourists produce pollution
Furthermore, tourists often consume a disproportionate amount of resources at the expense of local inhabitants. For example, James Mak writes in his book Tourism and the Economy: “Tourists in Grenada consume seven times as much water as residents.” He adds: “Directly and indirectly, tourism accounts for 40 percent of total energy consumed in Hawaii, although on average only one out of every eight people in Hawaii is a tourist.”
While tourists may spend a lot of money to visit developing countries, most of it does not benefit the local population. The World Bank estimates that only 45 percent of the revenue raised by tourism reaches the host country
Adverse Social Impact
Relatively affluent Western tourists visiting developing countries can have other subtle
Noting potential problems, Mak observed that the increase of tourism can “lead to the loss of cultural and community identity, create conflict in traditional societies over the use of community-owned land and natural resources, and increase antisocial activities, such as crime and prostitution.”
Often tourists today feel free of restraint, so they engage in activities that they would not share in if they were at home around family and friends. The immorality of tourists, as a result, has become a problem of serious consequence. Pointing to a noted example, Mak said: “Worldwide concern is growing over the effects of tourism on child prostitution.” In 2004, CNN news agency reported: “‘Reliable estimates point to 16,000-20,000’ child sex victims in Mexico, ‘largely in border, urban, and tourist areas.’”
The Benefits of Travel
Our earth is a marvelous home, displaying constant wonders
Despite being impressed by earth’s physical spectacles, however, many tourists say that for them the highlight of travel is getting to know people of cultures different from their own. Often, travelers come to appreciate that negative views about others are not true. Their travel contributes to understanding people of other races and cultures and developing treasured friendships.
A lesson impressed upon many tourists is that possessions do not necessarily make people happy. More important is one’s relationship with others
Now, relatively few are able to tour the world. But what about the future? Is it possible that such travel will be an experience of the majority, if not everyone?
The fact is, we are all relatives, members of the human family. True, the first human couple died, as they were warned they would if they disobeyed God. (Genesis 1:28; 2:17; 3:19) So all their offspring, including all of us today, are also subject to aging and death. (Romans 5:12) But God promises that his original purpose for earth to be inhabited by people who love him will be fulfilled. “I have even spoken it,” his Word says, “I shall also do it.”
Think of what that will mean! The Bible promises that under the rule of God’s Kingdom: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29; Matthew 6:9, 10) Describing the future situation of people on earth, the Bible says: “God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”
Think of the marvelous possibilities then of touring the earth and of becoming acquainted with its wonders, especially its lovely people. No worry at that time about security! All on earth will then be our friends
[Picture on page 8, 9]
A highlight of travel can be making friends with people of another culture
Future prospects of visiting peoples and places are unlimited