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What are the impacts of tourism in a selected region of the UK?

Tourism is the industry that looks after the needs and welfare of tourists and provides the things that help them travel to places where they can relax and enjoy themselves.

I am studying both the positive and negative impacts of tourism on the Lake District because the Lake District is being overwhelmed with tourists each year but without the income that tourism generates the Lake District wouldn’t survive.

The Lake District is one of 15 National Parks across the UK which has 2 main purposes.

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– To enhance and preserve the natural beauty of the landscape.

– To provide a place for recreation and enjoyment.

A third aim is;

– To protect the social and economic well being of people who live and/or work in the National Park.

The positive impacts of tourism are associated with the economy and employment.

Tourism can also start off a cycle known as the positive multiplier effect; the tourism industry locates in an area which provides jobs for locals. This gives workers more money to spend and so more local shops open and more jobs are created and so on and so on.

But as well as positive impacts, there are also many negative impacts of tourism.

The first is footpath erosion. This occurs when people (tourists in this case) are walking along a footpath, as they do they wear away the vegetation which loosens the soil and exposes the soil to the elements. Then when it rains the footpath becomes muddy and so people veer to the edges of the footpath to avoid the mud. The vegetation next to the path then becomes eroded until the footpath ends up like the picture above This is of course an extreme case but this footpath erosion literally ends up leaving a scar on the landscape. Since 1999 the National Trust has been trying to stop this happening by setting up a 10 year plan to repair and maintain the paths.

This will cost an estimated �5.1 million of which �1.46 million has been donated by the Lottery Heritage Fund. This money will be spent on a number of different sustainable strategies like stone pitching. This is when local stone is buried into the ground to make footholds. Alternatively steps have been put on steep hillsides made from local stone so that they fit in with the rest of the natural landscape.

The second negative impact of tourism is litter. When tourists visit the Lake District, some drop litter on the floor. People come to the Lake District to see the natural beauty of the countryside but are put off coming back because of the litter on the floor therefore the Lake District loses further income. Animals and their habitats are damaged because of pollution. Bins have been placed in many different areas of the Lake District, especially the honeypot sites to discourage this. Daily warden patrols have been set up to try to clean up any mess created.

Conflict on Lake Windermere is another controversial issue in the Lake District. Since 1976 people have been worried about the disturbance of the peace on Lake Windermere by power boats etc. Surveys have revealed that on an average day there are 812 crafts on the water, of which 368 are speed boats. The reason for the conflict is that other lake users such as fishermen and canoeists want peaceful, safe conditions to undertake their leisure activities. Another concern is that the wake from speed boats is causing erosion along the banks of the lake. On the 29th March 2005 a 10 mph speed limit was introduced on the lake. This however did not benefit everyone because power boat enthusiasts had to find alternative locations to use and some local businesses (e.g. Jet Ski rental companies etc) had to modify their companies so they didn’t lose custom.

I personally believe that we need to manage tourism in a sustainable way if we are to preserve the Lake District’s natural beauty for future generations. Strategies like the footpath maintenance may be extremely costly but in the future will benefit the Lake District’s economy and the people who live in and visit it.