What are the effects of growing global tourism?It is hard to measure the cumulative effect that the tourism industry has on the climate crisis as, unlike with other industries, there is not one clear product. It incorporates many industries, including lodging, transport, attractions, travel companies, and many more. However, a 2019 report from the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) stated that tourism-related transport alone was a significant contributor to climate change, with five percent of global carbon dioxide emissions being attributable to this.
Overtourism is another problem that comes with the growth of the global tourism industry. The UNWTO defines overtourism as "the impact of tourism on a destination, or parts thereof, that excessively influences perceived quality of life of citizens and/or quality of visitor experiences in a negative way". In essence, it is the overcrowding resulting from an overwhelming number of visitors to a specific location. Cities like Amsterdam and Barcelona have both fallen prey to this, as have tourist destinations such as Machu Picchu and Bali. This overcrowding has not gone unnoticed by travelers and, during a 2020 survey, just over half of the travelers asked stated that they would visit alternative destinations to avoid traveling during peak seasons.
There are also more nuanced issues that are caused by the growth of tourism, including the loss of natural heritage and biodiversity, loss of socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, and a lack of fairly distributed socio-economic benefits to local communities.