Too Much Tourism Threatens Conservation of Heritage Sites

Havana, July 15 .- Too much tourism is one of the greatest threats to the conservation of world heritage sites and to the lives of thousands of people, who are forced to move to less crowded communities.


According to statements made to Prensa Latina by Martha Honey, executive director of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) headquartered in Washington, in many of the most world famous cities tourism has ceased to be a pleasant activity to become an unpleasant experience.

Martha Honey set out that countries such as Spain, Croatia, the United Kingdom, France, Greece, the Netherlands and Italy should establish better planning and control to counteract excessive turnout in their cities.

Historical valuable locations in some of these countries, she added, are currently suffering from transport congestion or the exclusion of their inhabitants from rising rents and living standards.

Honey deems that some solutions to tackle this problem could be the following: to set regulations to avoid the increasing of house rents for short terms; to lead tourism to less visited places; and to limit the arrival of cruises and visitors.

In the case of national parks and nature reserves, the expert considered that administrations could assess the implementation of educational campaigns, the establishment of traffic controls, among other measures to deal with the impact on native wildlife of sites.

In reference to the beaches and coastal communities already damaged by the effects of climate change, the official recommended the design of programs capable of verifying the environmental impact of tourism as well as the community participation, vital to control and take care of their own habitat.

According to Honey, the promotion of responsible tourism is today compulsory for preserving those sites to which outsiders come in a massive and uninterrupted way.

The growth of cruise tourism, the cheapening of flights and the rise of tourism for a single day are some of the issues that make tourism grow almost disproportionately.

According to estimations of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) earlier this year, the arrivals of international vacationers totaled 1,400 million in 2018 (six percent in relation to 2017), two years before the forecasts estimated by such agency.

In the Middle East this sector grew by 10 percent, Africa by seven, while Asia and the Pacific and Europe grew by six percent. By 2019, UNWTO expects a leap of between three and four percent.

The boom for international tourism, Honey concluded, should not destroy the spaces visitors themselves aspire to know and whose existence a great part of humanity is proud of. (Prensa Latina)