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Tourism has been more established than ever over the past decade. However, while it brings important advantages for countries, tourism also carries a negative influence on several elements. Mass tourism is one type of tourism that creates harmful effects on the environment and culture, particularly in developing countries such as Vietnam. Although mass tourism has rapidly diminished the charms of the country, travelers and the host country can address these troubles with proper solutions.
Mass tourism involves tens of thousands of people visiting the same resort, typically at the same time of year. It is the most popular form of tourism, as it is often the cheapest way to vacation, frequently offered as packaged deals. People commonly seek out untouched places with unspoiled beauty. However, as rumors spread and more travelers visit these places, it is undeniable that these sites can scarcely maintain their original condition. Vietnam’s tourism industry hopes to avoid over-development like Thailand, one of mass tourism’s victims. The initial impact of mass tourism leads to environmental problems. The destination may be contaminated by both visitors and locals. Many developing countries face major issues such as poverty and pollution. Although tourism is a promising industry to boost the economy, people are often unaware of the toll it takes on the environment.
How it works
For instance, Nha Trang, a popular seaside city in Vietnam, struggles with complaints about trash—most of it plastic bags, straws, and bottles—that end up in the ocean. This not only ruins the appearance of the beach but also damages the marine ecosystem. Another detrimental effect of mass tourism is sewage pollution. Local governments often feel compelled to build infrastructure such as hotels and restaurants to meet tourists’ expectations. Unfortunately, the resultant wastewater pollutes the surrounding tourist areas. For example, sewage runoff inflicts significant damage on the coral reefs and impedes their ability to survive. This not only endangers the marine environment but can also be harmful to humans and animals who consume contaminated seafood. Alongside environmental impacts, mass tourism may negatively affect local cultures and traditions.
The prevalence of entertainment and leisure facilities can overshadow native architecture and natural features, thereby damaging local culture. Consequently, locals often feel obligated to change their jobs to work in the tourism industry, providing services for visitors. However, tourists may lose interest when what initially attracted them—the unique and traditional lifestyle of the local people—disappears. This pattern has recently occurred in Vietnam, particularly in the countryside where people now work in factories and tourism instead of maintaining their traditional agricultural occupations.
Mass tourism is undoubtedly a significant factor contributing to the degradation of many tourist destinations. However, there are several solutions that authorities, local residents, and visitors themselves can implement. Firstly, to protect the environment from damage caused by tourists, government initiatives should be put in place to prevent activities such as littering. Moreover, countries can promote ecotourism. This approach allows tourists to travel and simultaneously contribute to the preservation of the environment and nature by exchanging knowledge on conservation with locals. Furthermore, solving problems related to the loss of cultural identity of indigenous people due to increases in tourist developments requires cooperative efforts from both the government and authorities. They should work together to educate people about their culture, traditions, and customs. Schools should instill greater understanding of one’s nation and the responsibility to protect and enhance its unique culture since these aspects are what make them unique and beautiful.
In conclusion, mass tourism can be potentially destructive to many developing countries as they grapple with several challenges in tourism. Considering the case of Vietnam, a country with a great potential for tourism development, it is crucial that proactive measures are taken before the negative effects of mass tourism take hold. Vietnam’s well-known tourism slogan, “Viet Nam, Timeless Charm”, reflects the country’s goal. Hence, if the Vietnamese are committed to protecting their tourism destinations, the beauty of Vietnam will undoubtedly endure.
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