(Ambleside in the Lake District)
Many of the impacts of tourism are positive, but others present challenges which need to be overcome if tourism in the Lake District is to be sustainable.
Advantages of tourism
- Tourism provides employment and income for local people.
- People choose to stay in the area, which maintains other essential services such as schools and hospitals.
- Services provided for the use of tourists, eg leisure facilities, also benefit local people.
- Employment can be seasonal and wages low.
- House prices in the area can rise due to a demand for second homes.
- School leavers often look for work in larger settlements due to low wages and high house prices. This causes ruraldepopulation.
- Local shops on the margins of profitability often close to make way for more profitable gift shops and tea rooms. This leaves local people without essentialservices, eg butchers and greengrocers.
- Traffic causes pollution and narrow roads can become congested in high season.
- Large numbers of hikers cause footpath erosion, which is expensive to repair.
- Watersports cause erosion of lake shores and there can be conflicts of interests between different lake users.
Towards sustainable tourism
If tourism is to be sustainable then the impacts on local people, the economy and the environment need to be balanced. To achieve this there needs to be cooperation between different interest groups. In The Lake District, this includes:
- the National Park Authority
- the National Trust (who own a proportion of the land)
- other land owners
- the hotel and leisure industry
- conservation groups, eg RSPB
- local people and businesses
Possible strategies to achieve sustainable tourism could be:
- Restricting the number of cars and visitors – although this would have an impact on income from tourism.
- Fundraising to repair damage done to the natural environment and footpaths. But who should pay?
- Education of local people and tourists about sustainable tourism. But who will pay for this?
Underpinning any sustainable strategy is the successful involvement of the local people. With their cooperation, positive outcomes are far more likely.