Tourism is a dual edged sword – there is a delicate balance between development and environmental integrity. Once the line is crossed, tourism will often kill the goose that laid the golden egg. I’ve seen (and have read about) too many “so-called eco-destinations” that went downhill very fast because the tourism development got out of hand. Call it human greed - it happens all the time. Take a destination with considerable natural beauty like Galapagos Islands, Kenya’s Serengeti, Negril, Jamaica as an example – the big developers and resort conglomerates rush to the scene to get a lion’s share of the action. Soon they are followed by many small entrepreneurs, tourism concessionaires and the like who also would like to make some monies. I liken this phenomenon to “a shark feeding frenzy”.
Before you know it, the place becomes overrun with too many camera toting, cigar smoking, trash talking tourists who don’t have any respect for the locals or the indigenous populations, neither do they have any self-respect. This leads to even more development to meet the demand and before you know it, this once idyllic place of considerable natural beauty is ruined for good - the delicate ecological balance of an area degrades severely leading to declines (and extinctions) of native animal, insect and plant species (replaced by invasive species) and coral reefs dying. Let’s not forgot how rampant tourism development can have a negative impact on the cultural traditions & lifestyles of indigenous peoples.
In time, the beauty and uniqueness that people paid monies to see is no more, replaced by an excess of commercialism. Such is the way of the world - what we need in the tourism business and in the world in general is a real effort towards sustainable development and lifestyles. Human greed as well as the Evils of Tourism will bring this planet down unless we have a global revolution. The time to start is now!