Coastal development problems: tourism

Topic Selected: Travel and Tourism

General Article icon Type: General Article
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Massive influxes of tourists, often to a relatively small area, have a huge impact. They add to the pollution, waste and water needs of the local population, putting local infrastructure and habitats under enormous pressure. For example, 85% of the 1.8 million people who visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are concentrated in two small areas, Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands, which together have a human population of just 130,000 or so.

Tourist infrastructure

In many areas, massive new tourist developments have been built – including airports, marinas, resorts and golf courses. Over-development for tourism has the same problems as other coastal developments, but often has a greater impact as the tourist developments are located at or near fragile marine ecosystems. For example:

  • mangrove forests and seagrass meadows have been removed to create open beaches;
  • tourist developments such as piers and other structures have been built

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