All three forms of travel can also contribute unacceptable levels of noise, which must be considered a form of pollution. Waterborne vessels, by dumping fuel or waste overboard also contribute to water pollution which, in turn, affects the wildlife on the rivers.
Beaches give particular cause for concern in that polluted waters can lead to serious illness among bathers.
The environment, whether it is natural or man-made, is the most fundamental ingredient of the tourism product. As soon as tourism activity takes place, the environment is inevitably changed or modified to facilitate tourism.
It is not difficult to argue that tourism is damaging the environment. Tourism has its impact on the wildlife of Africa, on the pollution of water in the Mediterranean and on the coastal areas and mountains.
The environmental impacts associated with tourism development can also be considered in terms of their direct and indirect effects. The impacts can be positive or negative.
It is not possible to develop tourism without incurring environmental impacts but it is possible, with correct planning, to manage tourism development in order to minimize the negative impacts while encouraging the positive impacts.
In the Himalayas, a trek to Everest has to well establish a tourist path that in 1989 a special expedition was undertaken to clean up the litter that lay around base camps. To obtain hot water to meet the needs of tourist for a wash after the day’s trek, wood is cut down.
The trekking tourist burns about 14 lbs of wood per day resulting in further deforestation. This results in damage to the water drainage pattern. The Nepalese government should develop schemas of a forestation.
The World Tourism Organisation has mentioned five situations where tourism might harm the environment:
1. Alternation of the ecological situation of regions where the environment was previously in good condition both from the natural, cultural and human viewpoints;
2. Speculative pressures leading to destruction of landscape and natural habitat;
3. The occupation of space and creation of activities producing irreconcilable land-use conflicts;
4. Damage to traditional values in the zones concerned and a lowering of standards on the human scale in existing developments; and
5. Progressive over capacity which drains the environmental quality of the area concerned.
To counteract the problems posed by tourism development some writers have sought to promote the concept of Green Tourism. Green Tourism should be consistent with its environment and arise naturally from the activities that are natural to the area.
As an example, in the Swiss Cantons host communities have sought to impose regulations that limit tourism within the carrying capacities of the area.
It is increasingly recognised that tourism needs to be developed in harmony with natural resources. Tourism should be managed in such a way as to minimize its adverse impacts.
Noise pollution is a problem of twentieth century, living especially in towns but tourism has also made a significant contribution to the problem. In the resorts of the Mediterranean, the peace of the night is destroyed by the late night discos and bars, catering to tourists.
Noisy motorboats disturb the tranquility of yachts people on the waterways, while aircraft taking off and landing at busy airports severely disturb local residents, especially if there are no restrictions on flying.
Authorities have recognised the problem of air traffic noise and some have taken action to reduce it. For example, aircraft are categories under three classes known as chapters, according to the noise level they emit.
In USA, under government regulations, the most recently introduced chapter 3 aircrafts, such as Airbus, are 85 per cent less noisy than were chapter 1 aircraft and are consequently allowed greater freedom to operate.
Visual pollution can be ascribed to insensitivity in the design of buildings for tourism. Lake of planning control is very often to blame, as developers prefer to build more cheaply, leading to high rise concrete hotels lacking character and out of keeping with surrounding architecture.
Today, the skyscraper hotel is ubiquitous, from Waikiki in Hawaii to Ben dorm in Spain, with conformity of architecture which owes nothing to the traditions of the country in which it is built.
Some authorities insist that hotels must conform to vernacular styles of architecture. Others require buildings not to exceed a certain height for example; Tunicea requires that new hotel developments in tourist resorts should be no higher than the normal height of trees which will surround them.
Mauritius has imposed constraints on both the architectural style and the materials employed in hotel buildings.
Congestion and Erosion: Mass tourism has led to a new problem in the recent time that of congestion.
Some idea of the effect of erosion can be gained from a report in the Guardian which revealed that 400 tons of sand is removed from the beach of Ben dorm each year on the sole of holiday- makers feet.