Last Updated 18 Jun 2020

Good for the Economy Bad for the Environment

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In June last year, the football world cup finals were held in Japan and Korea. What did this mean for Japan? Well the arrival of so many people from outside Japan presented many opportunities and also caused problems. Hosting the World Cup Finals gave Japan and Korea a superb opportunity to boost their tourism figures. At that moment, Japan was 36th on the global tourist list (based on the number of tourists who visit each year).

The Japan National Tourist Organization felt that this didn't match the country's economy and population. Pictures of the two host countries were going to be on TV screens around the world for the duration of the tournament and both Japan and Korea hoped that this would boost their numbers for annual visitors. It was anticipated that around 365,000 spectators (Japan Times, July 26 2001) were going to travel to Japan from overseas to attend the tournament. Most of them were going to travel by air. An idea to ease congestion was that Tokyo's main international airport Narita was to have a new runway built, so that two planes would be able to take off simultaneously.

Because the finals were going to be held in Japan and Korea, the number of flights between the two countries was going to increase. Spectators may have needed to get from one country to another as their team progressed through the tournament. The matches were being played in ten different cities all over Japan. So rail, road and air links between these cities had to be able to cope with an increase in traffic.

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The areas surrounding the stadiums also had to be able to cope with the huge number of people attending the games - over 40 000 for each. This meant that road access had to be improved, and in some cases, as in Shizuoka, a new railway station had to be built near the stadium. The more direct impact for so many people was litter, and waste disposal, with such a large increase in visitors into the two countries the amount of litter and waste disposal was also going to increase by a large amount. And what about hooliganism? One company, Yokohama Nisshin Fire & Marine Insurance Co. in Japan offered to sell insurance against hooliganism. This also was a major issue that the two countries faced.

Japan and Korea world cup organizers had to prepare for hooliganism. The World Cup Safety Countermeasure Headquarters had compiled a database on known foreign hooligans to prevent them from entering Korea. It deployed squads of riot police at every stadium to promptly quell possible disturbances. At the same time, they had to seriously consider prohibiting sales of alcohol at the matches. What will be the economic effects of hosting the World Cup? Well it was also possible to turn a profit on the event? The far-reaching economic effects of hosting the World Cup can be largely divided into two - a direct and an indirect effect.

Far Reaching Economic Effects of the World Cup

Unit: US$ 100 million won, 1,000 persons



Expenditure volume

Economic effects

Value added

Job creation

Investment expenditures

Construction of stadiums, surrounding roads




Consumption expenditure

Ordinary expenditure by the organizing committee

Tourism spending by foreigners


6, 825







The direct effect covered the boosts to the economy created by the construction of infrastructure such as stadiums and the access roads, expenditures by the organizing committee to run the event and spending by foreign tourists. In a report, the Korea Development Institute (KDI) predicted that the event would create 350,000 jobs and raise industrial production by 11.48 trillion won ($8.82 billion). The income derived from spending by the 400,000 foreign visitors was estimated to reach 682.5 billion won ($525 million). In particular, it forecasted that it would create 5.34 trillion won ($4.10 billion) in value added, amounting to more than 1 percent of GDP in 2000 (517 trillion won, $397 billion). The report concludes that the overall value added created would surpass the total expenditure of 3.47 trillion won ($2.67 billion), resulting in a "surplus" of 1.87 trillion won ($1.44 billion).

The indirect effect covered the benefits that became apparent in the post-event period. They were associated with improvements in the external images of the host country and its corporations and were measured through increases in exports and the volume of inbound foreign investment. It was no exaggeration to say that prime attraction of any government in hosting the World Cup is to maximize such intangible publicity effects.

The contrasting leisure activity that I had chosen is skiing in the French Alps. Ski tourism has prospered and grew since the 1060's in the French Alps, and as a result, a large number of resorts have been developed to cope with the high demand. There has been a lot of heavy investment, which has been put into the expensive infrastructure, such as the creation and construction of new ski lifts, the creation of new ski runs, and the maintenance of the resort. But this continued growth of ski tourism in the Alps is having its turn of serious negative effects on the physical environment. The main negative effect on the mountain environment, caused by ski tourism and the resort, such as "Serre Chevalier" is that its starting to scar the landscape, and with deforestation occurring where ski runs are and have been created on the wooded mountain sides, it's resulting in the increase of run-off, erosion and the potential for environmental hazards, such as flooding to occur.

The effects of the skiing industry on Mont Lozere can also be investigated. Heavy ski-traffic after good winter snow conditions leaves its mark on the landscape for many years. The ski tows on Mont Lozere operated for 85 days during the 1998/1999-ski season. The 1999/2000 Season was poor, with the ski tows only open for 5 days. Skiing on Mont Lozere is at best of times unpredictable! Since the 1960's, local and regional authorities have encouraged the development of downhill skiing in the Massif Central in an attempt to bring some of the economic benefits associated with this huge growth industry, to the area. Unfortunately, due to the rather unreliable snow conditions in the southern part of the Massif Central, not all the ski developments have become commercially successful.

There are also many environmental issues associated with alpine skiing, such as gulling, deforestation and the positioning of unsightly ski tows in the core zone of the Cevennes National Park. Another case study would be "Ski Chalet du Mont Loz�re". The on-piste and off-piste transects are used to assess the damage caused by skiing to the physical environment. The visual impact of the ski chalet and the resort infrastructure are assessed, and the attitudes of a cross section of people are included, for example those employed in the industry, tourists, and local people, to assess the impact of the skiing industry on the local economy.

The Creation of Ski Resorts-The creation of such ski resorts, in scenic and un-spoilt environments, has placed great pressures on the physical landscape with large numbers of tourists using the mountain ski slopes each year, not always in ideal snow conditions, creating stresses on these unique alpine environments, due to tourism.

Problems Created by Ski Tourism-Ski tourism creates many problems, such as increased traffic, problems with access, congestion and pollution. Increased numbers of people result in the need for more houses, hotels, and facilities to be constructed, causing problems with water demand, waste disposal and visual intrusion. Ski tourism has ecological impacts on the environment and physical landscape, with erosion of soils, depopulation of plant species and deforestation, leading to increased erosion and probability of hazards occurring.

The Environmental Impacts-The environmental impacts of ski tourism in the ski resort of "Serre Chevalier" can be clearly seen. The scars that are created by ski runs are visible in all seasons. It does not just affect the aesthetic quality of the area, but more important are the resulting consequences. Such devastation of forest, in large paths and swoops, across the mountainsides, causes soil degradation, erosion, landslides and increased run-off leading to flooding.

Deforestation and Erosion-Deforestation due to ski run development can cause an increase in erosion due to increased run-off. Deforestation in effect, removes the protection of the canopy and as a result, the soil underneath that was previously protected, is then susceptible to the effects of raindrop impact and increased amounts of run-off, which would have been previously stopped or delayed by the trees. As a result erosion takes hold and more importantly the rate and amount of run-off increases, causing potential hazards to occur such as flooding, especially in these high mountain areas, where sudden downpours of rain, with snow melt can cause surges of water to be sent down the tributaries over a very short period of time.

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