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The impact of tourism on coastal areas

by E Gormsen
GeoJournal ()

Abstract

The manifold influences of tourism on coastal areas are analysed from three different angles: (1) The development of seaside tourism including the changes of socio-economic and settlement patterns; (2) its cultural impact on the local population; (3) its environmental aspects. Point 1 is described with the help of a model showing four peripheries in space and time: (I) the North Sea and Baltic coasts since the 18th century; (II) Southern Europe during the 19th century; (III) the North African shores around 1950; (IV) the tropical oceans after 1965. Within every periphery, several phases (pioneer, domestic, international) can be distinguished according to the origin of tourists, the investment, the know-how etc. While the beginning of every phase is dominated from abroad, later-on national actors play an increasing role. This applies also to point 2, which refers mainly to developing countries. As for point 3, mass tourism may result detrimentally on water supply, sensitive coastal landscapes, socio-cultural identity etc. Among the questions to be raised are: How far are industrial societies responsible for any negative impacts of tourism, and what are the chances for, and a general consciousness on, a sustainable tourism development?

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