Mountains have a lot of potential to assist tourism and also generate revenue for people living in that region. As per the survey, around fifty million tourists visit hilly areas every year. Many mountain towns all across the world rely on tourists to assist them. People in these towns provide lodging and food for tourists who visit this place to enjoy hilly regions. On the other hand, it has a bad impact on environment and socio-economic factors too.
Positive impact of tourism in hilly areas
A prime source of attraction
Sport-based tourism has increased in the past decade. Mountains are the places to indulge in leisure activities. Different people have different dreams when it comes to visiting hilly areas. It has been seen that some people are fond of skiing on mountains while others would love to climb mountains. There are a few people who want to visit this place just to click photos and be a spectator of the natural beauty. Some of the pros of tourism is that it helps in creation of jobs. It encourages local crafts and standard of living of people.
Tourists are majorly allured by the hills due to several reasons. Some of them being:
- the fresh air,
- clean climate,
- varied topography,
- local traditions,
- beautiful scenery,
- simplified life style,
- sports that need winter snow and steep slopes
Typical mountain activities
People can perform a lot of mountain activities that includes
- Summer Activities
- bird watching
- Mountain Biking
- Winter Activities
- Snow boarding,
- Icefall climbing
- Winter walking
- Snow-Shoe Trekking
- Ice skating
Negative effect of tourism in hilly regions
Tourism can help in generating positive influence as it offers support for peace, aid in avoiding urban relocation via creation of local jobs, foster admiration in cultural traditions, enhance visitor awareness and appreciate cultural, historical and natural assets and values.
Tourism can even have a damaging impact on the entire environment, people who stay in those areas and the entire local economy. As people visit mountainous regions, to trek or climb via the valleys, there are increased possibilities of the environment to get permanently damaged.
Impact of Tourism on the Environment
Although tourism has its advantages it can have serious impact on the environment, the people who live there and the local economy. As more and more people visit the mountains, whether to climb or simply to trek through the valleys, the chances of the environment being permanently damaged becomes ever greater.
Negative impact of tourism in hilly areas
Mountain landscapes are susceptible and fragile to degradation and change. Avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, lava flows, rock falls and torrents can modify the landscape in an unexpected way. Mountain ecosystems comprise of a broad range of unique and small habitats, with fauna and flora. It may have reproductive and short growing seasons, and can be sensitive to any sort of troubles by human activity.
Tourism activities mostly involve intense development and use of paths, tracks, and sports slopes by non-motorized transport, vehicles, and pedestrian traffic. The presence of visitors is even limited to smaller areas, that contributes towards an increased waste and noise.
The negative effect of environmental is related to badly managed tourism activities. This leads to vegetation clearing, soil erosion, elimination of scarce habitat, alteration of perilous water flows and landscapes, air and water pollution, wildlife relocation and behavioral changes. The introduction of invasive and exotic species and ailments can have an important negative impact on animal species and local plant.
Some of the disadvantages of tourism in mountainous regions include
- Higher cost of food and land
- Pollution from traffic
- More crowded
- Trees fallen to supply fuel wood and timber
- Lack of cultural individuality among the mountain people
- Tourists can even cause environmental pollution. They can leave rubbish also.
- Due to increasing demand of wood, it leads to deforestation
- To accommodate tourists, a lot of portion of land is removed to make resorts, motels and hotels.
Social and cultural Impact
Mountain communities are highly susceptible to changes and impacts from tourism activities. The negative impact of a badly managed tourism includes interferences from high concentrations and levels of visitor’s activity and noise, and lowered availability of shared resources like fish, fresh water and firewood. In addition to it, adoption and exposure to foreign traditions, products and lifestyles even poses a risk to the distinctive culture, knowledge, livelihoods and traditions, of populations in hilly regions, that mostly lies in indigenous and remote communities.
Though, tourism offer significant level of local employment, when not managed properly, this seasonal and short-term employment provide very less training and skill-building to local people. It can lead to poor working conditions, and revenue can also leak out easily from local economies.
However, a well-managed and well-planned tourism plays a key role in generating more revenue and support alleviation of poverty. It can even enhance infrastructure, offer community services and aid in diversification of local economies. both income and employment can enhance the sustainability and self-sufficiency of hilly regions.