Any kind of development can have a major impact on the social, economic, and physical environment in which they take place. The impacts of tourism are negative or positive.

Thus, the impacts of tourism should not be judged only on the basis of the country’s benefits. The impacts of tourism have a broader concept that needs to be discussed. Therefore, the impacts of tourism can have both positive and negative impacts.


The impacts of tourism are

The Environment Impact

The Economic Impact and

And The Socio-cultural Impact

The Environmental Impacts of Tourism

The environment plays a powerful source in the tourism industry. It is one of the main forms of attractions and plays a major role in attracting tourists to their destinations. However, both negative and positive environmental impacts of tourism can be witnesses.

Tourism creates positive and negative environmental impacts. The impact is greater when the environment is under-developed or endangered. Adverse effects occur in an environment where the user is higher than the natural ability. On the other hand, the growth of tourism in many places has a positive impact on the environment. It helps in the care of the environment.

Before we discussed the environmental impacts of tourism, let us understand what is the environment.

What is the environment?

The environment is defined as the natural or physical features of the landscapes. It includes the atmosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the lithosphere. Thus, it is the backbones in the industry.

The Negative Environmental Impacts of Environment

The pollution on air, water, land, and noise is the biggest negative impact of tourism. The pollution is due to different modes of transport and construction. Of all the sources of pollution, transport is the main source of pollution.

Air Pollution

The traveler moves from one place to another with the help of transportation. Hence, they use different modes of transport such as cars, ships, aircraft, buses, etc. This transportation releases hazardous air pollution, which is harmful to the environment.

Of all the transport, travelers choose air travel. The air travel emits half of the CO2 emission produced by transportation and 60% of travelers use aircraft.

Water Pollution

There are different sources of water pollution. They are as follows.

Sewage and wastewater

The sewage and wastewater produced by the guests flow through the sea and Fresh River. This sewage water carries harmful bacteria that are harmful to humans.

Marine Dumping

Many guests throw waste, such as plastic, paper, bottles, etc. in the sea. As a result, it pollutes the sea and harms animals in the sea.

Oil Leakage from Water-Based Sports

Water-based sports and water transport can cause oil spills. When oil leakage occurs in the sea, the oil does not dissolve in the water. Thus, it creates a huge problem for marine life.

Noise Pollution

The noise produced from vehicles, amusement, concert, etc. creates a major impact on tourist paces. For eg, a noise level permitted in Bhojpur, Madhya Pradesh is 45-55 DB. But due to tourist activities, noise pollution has increased beyond the permitted level.

Depletion of Natural Resources

The natural forests are lost with the development of tourism facilities. Trees are cut down for fuel and campfires. Due to this, it results in deforestation. Also, many locals earn their living from the forest. Thus, deforestation deprives the livelihood of the local people.

Due to the mass movement of guests, scarce natural resources, such as water became a shortage for the local people.

Land Erosion

The construction of new facilities on the hill slopes and building a ski-lodge are the major causes of land erosion.

The construction of resorts, types of hotels, and other tourist facilities on the beach can erode the sand dunes and affect marine life.

Loss of Natural Habitats

The development of tourism infrastructure is damaging to native plants and animals. This development causes deforestation. Due to this, it can lead to the removal of animals. The practice of wildlife safari threatens and disrupts the animals. Wild animals are not exposed to the noise of cars and humans. As a result, wildlife animals can be stressful.

Traffic Congestion

It is one of the most common problems in major tourist places. This impact takes place due to numerous tourist vehicles. When the vehicles are parked at the narrow roads, haphazard manner and no parking zone it creates traffic jams and increases in road accidents.

The Positive Environmental Impacts of Tourism

The industry produces lesser pollution as compared to other industries. Most of the tourist places are free from industrial pollution. Places such as national parks, wildlife, and bird sanctuaries help in maintaining the ecological balance.

Tourism helps in maintaining the ecological balance

It helps to preserve and restore historical sites. Besides this, while visiting these places, it creates awareness about past history

It helps to protect the endangered in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries

Tourism plays an important role to preserve wild animals. Besides this, it even assists in conserving natural resources.

It protects the Coral reefs and other forms of marine wealth.

It also helps to promote ecotourism.

Forest areas are protected. The protected forests are a good place for animal habitats.

It helps to generate money from the guests. The revenue generated from the guests can help in conserving wildlife and endangered species

It provides a place for captive breeding for endangered species of wildlife in zoos.

It provides employment to the local people. Thus, reducing deforestation and fishing by the locals.

The Economic Impacts of Tourism

Tourism is a major contributor to the country’s economic development. It has become the backbone of the economy for many countries. However, tourism has both negative and positive economic impacts.

This article explained in detail the economic impacts of tourism.

The Positive Economic Impacts of Tourism

Tourism has both positive and negative economic impacts of tourism. Let’s discuss both of its impacts.

Positive Economic Impact on Tourism


The tourism industry has great potential for direct, indirect, and Induce employment. It is a labor-intensive industry and many jobs require low skilled labor. Tourism jobs include hotel, transport, retail, travel and tourism, and so on.

Direct Employment:

Hotels, restaurants, airports, tourist offices, tour operators, etc.  provides direct employment to people.

Indirect Employment:

Indirect employment through tourism includes all service providers such as taxi drivers, electricians, plumbers, etc.

Increase Tax Revenue:

Tourism activities are a major source of tax revenue. Personal tax is hidden, i.e. they are part of the package or are included in the cost of airline tickets so guests do not know about such a tax.

Guests generate tax revenue by purchasing tourism products that are subjected to sales tax, charging service, VAT, etc. The government also receives tax from casinos, hotels, entry fees, import duties, etc.

Foreign Exchange Earnings:

Tourism has emerged as one of India’s largest sources of foreign exchange earnings.  In India, to collect the balance of payments data, the Reserve Bank of India calculates foreign income for tourism. Tourism is the only export trade that receives large foreign exchange rates without reducing domestic currency or exports. Thus, tourism is a major source of foreign exchange.

Rural Development:

In rural and underdeveloped regions, tourism generates jobs. To create jobs, domestic and ecotourism are the most common type of tourism. Due to the job they have, it stops the villagers from migrating and improves rural people’s living standards.

Improved Infrastructure:

It is one of the basic requirements for the success of travel. Tourism encourages the growth of infrastructure such as good airports, roads, hotels, clean water, etc. The infrastructure does not only benefit visitors but also the host and improves their health.

Increased Gross Domestic Products

Tourism creates 10 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This figure varies from country to country. In a growing economy, there is an increase in GDP every year. GDP indicates the economic growth of a country.

Thus, Governments have encouraged the growth of tourism. Especially with regard to foreign exchange earnings, because it creates revenue. Tourism revenue has a positive effect on GDP, surplus income, and government revenue.

 The Negative Economic Impact on Tourism


The leakages in tourism take place in different forms.

Import Goods Leakages:

It takes place when the foods, beverages, machinery, furniture, etc. for the use of the guests are bought from another country.

Foreign Employment Leakages:

This leakage takes place when the employees are hired from another country. When the staff is hired from foreign countries, the local people become jobless.

Foreign Ownership Leakages:

Foreign ownership is one of the most common economic leakages. This kind of leakage happens when the owner of the tourism establishment is from other countries.

Enclave Tourism:

Enclave tourism is related to the all-inclusive tour. It is commonly known as a package tour. When the guests purchase the package tour they have access to a variety of amenities such as swimming pools, spas, gyms, food, drink, etc. There is no need for the guests to leave their place of the enclave since they are given everything inside. Therefore, the local community does not have a place to benefit from tourism.

Cost of Infrastructure:

The government spends a lot of money to develop tourist infrastructures such as roads, airports, and other tourist facilities. To develop this infrastructure requires huge money. Due to these, the government may find it difficult to spend money on other important areas.

Increases in Price:

The mass movement of people resulted in the price hike of products. The tourists might be able to adjust with the increased price but the host people may find it difficult to buy the necessary product because of the price hike.

The development of Tourism has increased the demand for real estate and buildings. Due to this, the rent of the buildings and the real estate has increased. The local people find it difficult to rent the buildings that result in the migration of the local people.

Provide Seasonal Job:

Some destinations are seasoned in nature. Therefore, such kind of destination provides jobs during the season; the staff earned a significant amount of money during this time. However, during the off-season, the staffs remain jobless. Therefore, there is no guarantee of a job form one season to another. As a result, it has become difficult to train staff and recruit skilled workers.

The Cultural Impacts of Tourism

The cultural impacts of tourism refer to the changes in the lifestyle of the local people, their cultures, their customs, and their traditions.

It is also described as the changes in the lives of the people living in the destination. It deals with the people, their contact with the guests, the attitudes, and behaviors.
The cultural impacts of tourism also mean changes in the arts, lifestyle, and behavior of the host. Thus, it deals with social interaction and social relations.

Tourists are short-term visitors to the area; they have lasting social and cultural impacts on the host communities. The cultural impacts of tourism can be good or bad, depending on the type of activity. It creates a positive impact when it helps to preserve the customs, traditions, heritage, and cultures of the host people. It also creates a job and improves the living standard of the people.  On the other hand, it creates a negative impact when the local people modify the authentic products, e.g. Crafts, to fulfill the demand and to sell the craft at a low cost. This brings changes in the value of indigenous identity. This results in a loss of craft genuineness. As a result, it can lead to distress and confusion for both tourists and residents.

The Aspects of Tourist-Host Relationship are as follows

It is the contact between the tourists and the local people. This contact can lead to a shift in social norms and values, the prevailing dress code, and overall trends. Thus, social effects are noticeable faster than cultural effects.

Besides social contact, it brings together people of distinct cultural backgrounds and results in cultural exchanges. Cultural impacts mean long-term changes in the arts and crafts, religion and culture, etc.

The interactions between tourists and residents occur in the following cases.

Social interactions

It refers to the sharing of resources between the tourists and the locals at tourist places. It is an interaction while traveling by local buses and trains, bathing at the beach, or eating at restaurants.

Economic interactions

It is the contact between the guests and different types of hotels, shopping, handicrafts, etc. They involve buying, selling, and bargaining. For example, a tourist buys a souvenir from the local market.

Cultural interaction

It is the contact between the tourists and the host, local leaders, and tourist places of cultural importance and events. Hence, cultural interaction involves tourists to visit cultural places to learn the culture of others.

The Positive Cultural Impacts of Tourism

It Provides Job

The tourism industry provides a job for local people.  Therefore, it increases the income of local people. Due to their income, it helps people to travels from one place to another.  It improves their living standards and the quality of their life.

It promotes national and global peace

Tourism brings people in contact with distinct cultures. It plays a vital role to increase love and peace on a national and global level. It provides a platform for cultural exchanges between the host and the tourists. As a result, it builds a relationship between tourists and local people. Thus, it helps in a national and global friendly by breaking down language barriers.

It preserves the Local Culture and Tradition

Culture is one of the major attractions of tourism.  It attracts a large number of guests. Thousands of ancient and historical sites are spread across the country. Therefore, these places provide the avenue to learn ancient history and culture. The guests travel to study and experience the culture of different societies. Thus, tourism recognizes and respects the local cultures and helps to preserve them.

It benefits the Local people from the Guests Facilities

The local people get benefits from the facilities that are designed for the use of the guests. In addition, tourist facilities improve the living standard of the local people and the quality of their life. Facilities include hotels, health, transport, etc.

The Negative Cultural Impacts of Tourism

Demonstration effects

It is described as modify in attitudes, values, or behaviors that can result from mere tourist observation and imitation. When the tourists come from distinct cultures to developing nations, they bring and show a very foreign way of life to the host people. This can be positive if it stimulates certain a person to work for stuff that they do not have. It is often dangerous and causes discontent and dislike among local people, especially in developing nations, due to the absence of riches to fulfill these wishes.

Thus, it has the greatest influence on young people.  It may create generation gaps and class differences between young people with those who wish to retain the traditional way of life. The young, the educated in particular, tend to migrate. This type of change may be a disruptive force to traditional kinship overtime.


It takes place when the culturally weak society comes into contact with a strong one. The values and attitudes of the strong nation are transferred to the weak nation. These changes happen slowly. Hense, acculturation is more likely to take place in less developed countries. Especially those have had less contact with western society in the past.


The changes in the local language are one of the reasons for acculturation. Language is the medium to communicate between the host people and tourists. As a result, young people tend to dislike regional languages and dialects.


In some places, they promote religion as an attraction. Therefore, religious places attract a large number of guests. When the guests may or may not believe in a particular religion, it can create conflicts between the guests and worshipers.


It refers to the shift of the local people from one place to another. Due to the construction of tourism facilities, the land is taken by the government, or the local people need to make way for tourism. This can result not only in the forceful movement but also loss in the lively hood of the local people.

Increases in Prostitution

There are certain places which are well-known for sex tourism. Young people tend to enter into a brothel to earn an easy way of money.

Certain agents provide sex tourism information where such practices are commonplace. We can even find a tour operator who offers package sex tours.

Loss of Culture Genuineness

Due to mass tourism, there is a large demand for cultural products. As a result, the producers change the originality of the cultural products to meet the mass demand. Thus, handicrafts and culture products are modified to meet the growing demand of tourists. As a result, it may lead to distress and confusion for both the tourists and the local people.

Steps to Reduce Cultural and Social Impacts

  1. To reduce the negative impact, you need to ensure that tourism starts slowly.
  2. Local people must have enough time to adapt to the changes in their communities.
  3. They must understand and contribute to the development of tourism in their region.
  4. The host community must be told the benefits offered by tourism to their area
  5. The significance of the place needs to be explained to the visitors.

Apart from the above positive and negative discussion, so, we have summarised the above impacts. 

The Environment Impacts of tourism:

Environment refers to the natural or physical state of landscapes. The environment plays a powerful tool for tourism as it is a major role in attracting tourists.

Tourism creates positive and negative impacts on the environment. The impacts are greater when the area is not developed or fragile.

The Positive Environment Impact on Tourism:

  1. The tourism industry emits less environmental pollution as compared to other industries.
  2. It helps to preserve and restore historic buildings and sites.
  3. It helps to maintain the quality of the wildlife reserves.
  4. The preservation of wildlife and sanctuary helps to maintain the ecological balance.
  5. It supports the creation of national parks and wildlife sanctuary.
  6. It preserves the coral reefs and beaches.
  7. The income generated from guests is used to conserve the environment.
  8. It helps to protect the Forest areas.
  9. It provides a place to breed for endangered species of wildlife.

The Negative Environment Impact on Tourism:

  1. Unplanned tourism has led to a decline in the quality of the environment.  Therefore, the idea of mass tourism has impacted the environment to a large extent.
  2. It results in a decrease in natural resources.
  3. It leads to the loss of landscapes.
  4. Loss of natural habitats.
  5. The tourists’ boat creates oil pollution.
  6. Pollution of inland waters.
  7. It Litters and causes Marine Pollution.
  8. It results in the disturbance of nesting birds.
  9. Pollution from sewage outfall.
  10. It leads to the Extinction of species.

The Economic Impacts of Tourism:

Tourism has contributes to the economic development of nations. For this reason, the government has invested in tourism facilities and gave importance to it. Thus, economic importance is absolute.

The Positive Economic  Impact of Tourism:

The importance of tourism is that it provides income for many countries. The earning from foreign exchange is the most crucial benefits of tourism.

  1. It creates employment.
  2. It has increased foreign exchange earnings.
  3. Tourism has improved the facilities of the locals.
  4. It generates tax revenue for the country.
  5. It leads to the rural development of the country.
  6. Roads, airports, hotels are constructed for tourists.
  7. It has increased the gross domestic product.
  8. It generates income from the tourists spending of money by the tourists in the host country.

The Negative Economic  Impact of Tourism:

  1. Tourism activity tends to bring unwanted and unexpected negative impacts.
  2. The income earned from tourism can cause economic leakage. If the money spent by the guests does not remain in the country, it is known as economic leakage.
  3. When global companies or MNCs operate tourism, it leads to economic leakage.
  4. For the development of tourism facilities, the local government spends huge money.
  5. The increase in mass movement may demand to improve the road, airport, and other costly facilities.
  6. The money spends on the development of tourism facilities is expensive. As a result, it reduces government money.
  7. The increasing demand for basic services and goods from the guests results in price hikes.
  8. The local people might find it difficult to purchase basic commodities due to price hikes.
  9. The mass movement of tourism increases the demand for buildings and land. As a result, the price of the rent has gone up, forcing the local people to move away.
  10. Tourism results in seasonal employment and demand.

Socio-Cultural Impact of Tourism

The changes in the cultural value, traditions, customs, etc are regarded as Socio-Cultural impacts. Therefore, the changes in society might be in the form of a direct or indirect impact on the host communities. These impacts have a lasting influence on the host communities. It can be a negative or positive impact.

The Positive Socio-Cultural Impacts of Tourism

  1. Tourism raises the importance of cultural sites.
  2. Tourism supports and recognized local arts, cultures, and traditions.
  3. It helps in preserving the heritage and culture sites.
  4. The host communities can benefit from tourism facilities development.
  5. It may contribute to peace by accepting other cultures.
  6. Tourism involves interaction between the host and the tourists; which results in accepting other cultures.
  7. It helps in a national and global friendly by breaking down language barriers.
  8. The tourism facilities can bring a better living standard for the residents.

The Negative Socio-Cultural Impacts of Tourism:

  1. Tourists-host interaction can lead to cultural changes.
  2. Tourism may convert local cultures into commercial products.
  3. Tourism increases the demands of arts, crafts, souvenirs, etc. To meet this demand, the craftsman may change the style of art, souvenirs, and crafts.
  4. The craftsman may change the genuineness of arts and souvenirs for personal profit.
  5. Cultural erosion may happen due to the changes in local arts, culture, and tradition.
  6. The host communities may perceive tourists as superior and copy their behavior and way of dressing.
  7. The cultural and heritage sites may be destroyed if it exceeds the cultural carrying capacity.
  8. The sacred sites of the host communities may not be respected by the guests.
  9. The lack of respect may be in the form of littering, vandalism, etc.
  10. It may increase the crime rate.
  11. The locals may involve in drug abuse and gambling.
  12. It may increase the activities of prostitution.
  13. It may spread epidemic.
  14. The conflict between the tour operator and the local may occur in the process of development. Usually, the locals do not want to see drastic changes in the community.


Thus, from the above discussion, we can see that tourism has both positives and negatives impacts. It will be wise if the government and tourism stakeholders take certain positive steps towards the benefits of the tourists and the tourists generating country.

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