‘Choose a Destination (It Can Be Anything from a Single Resort, to an Entire Country), Describe the Economic, Cultural and Environmental Impacts Caused by Tourist Development There and Judge the Extent to Which the

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The tourism industry has developed into one of the most powerful industries in the world. The impacts of tourism development growth can produce both benefits and costs to the host nation. In order to eliminate the negativities caused by tourism, and provide a more sustainable future for the ever-expanding industry, Government’s need to be actively involved throughout. However, the extent of their involvement is disputed. The Government’s of such nations must try to develop initiatives that will not only carry on boosting their economy through the maturity of tourism, but sufficiently limit the damage to the environment, all whilst protecting their own nation’s cultures, and in doing so; creating a more sustainable future. The WTO (1993) defines sustainable tourism as ‘meeting the needs of the present tourists and host regions whilst protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future.’ It also illustrates that sustainable development strategies must stress the need for due regard to be given to the ‘long-term appropriate use of natural and human resources’. Essentially, in order to achieve sustainability in tourism, the long term effects and impacts need to be assessed over the mass market. By developing sustainable forms of tourism in some areas, other areas that may be affected as a result of this are simply ignored. As Klemm (1992) suggests, ‘the real challenge for the future it to provide sustainable tourism for the mass market’. As the mass market is not given enough consideration in the early development stages of a countries tourism industry, this often contributes to the long-term problems associated with tourism development. Some tourism academics (Middleton & Hawkins, 1998, p.247) argue that sustainability in tourism is generally an aspiration or goal, rather than a measure of an achievable objective. What this essay will outline is the extent to which Kenya has been affected culturally, economically and environmentally as a result of tourism development, and assess how successful Kenya has been in attempting to achieve a sustainable future in regards to this development. The initial development of tourism in Kenya started in the 1920s when the colony became a popular destination for big game hunting expeditions, and was facilitated by European and North American developers, providing and managing hospitality facilities for these adventure seekers (Akama 1997). Since then Kenya has established itself as an extremely popular tourist destination (Kareithi, 2003 in Akama 1997). John S. Akama at the department of tourism at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, explained that the Kenyan Government in 1966 were focused on establishing and managing new hotels, restaurants and other tourist enterprises, particularly in areas with high potential for the development of tourism. Their main goal was to increase the overall contribution to the countries Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through increased foreign exchange and to create many thousands of jobs along the way. As a result, Kenya became an investment haven and initiated waves of local and foreign investments into the country and marketed Kenya’s tourism products in the domestic and international markets. The country’s unique tourism attractions, particularly the unique wildlife heritage, and pristine and glittering beaches, made it an ideal location for holiday planners to justify their visit (Akama 1997). Despite these new tourism policies succeeding in attracting increased foreign and multinational investment, as well as seeing the number of international tourist arrivals increase more than tenfold, from 51,000 arrivals in 1960 to around 700,000 in the late 1980s, and tourism revenues increase from K£27 million in 1970 to over K£1 billion in the late 80s (Kenya Government, 1989 in Akama 1997) Kenya was starting to develop problems associated with such rapid growth and expansion of its tourism industry. Problems that could be extremely detrimental to the idea of...
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