GCSE AQA Geography B - Global Tourism Case Studies

Set of Case Study revision cards for the Global Tourism unit

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Machu Picchu, Peru / Aguas Calientes

Managing conflicts, Honeypots, Negative effects of tourism

Machu Picchu  (LEDC, Honeypot)

  • Important archeological site in South America
  • Visited by almost 500,000 people per year
  • Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983
  • Only 500 people are allowed on the paths per day and pack animals are banned
  • Each year, in February, the footpaths are closed for maintenance and conservation

Aguas Calientes (Tourist town in the valley below the site)

  • Landslides are a major problem due to unrestricted over development (Hotels replace forests)
  • Large amounts of litter blow around surrounding mountains
  • Sewage and rubbish is dumped in the Urubamba river (Major source of water for people downstream)
  • The town's infrastructure is ill-equiped to cope with numbers and hotels
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Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Negative effects of tourism

  • 3 Million visitors per year
  • The majority of visitors arrive by car
  • The building and widening of roads means less space for wildlife
  • Smog is a major issue - Pollution from car exhausts means the smog can be so thick the valley is hidden from site, this also has negative impacts on both plants and animals
  • Noise pollution caused by vehicles and humans scares away animals
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  • 40% of the workforce relies on tourism
  • In the 2004 December Tsunami visitor numbers dropped by 70%
  • 75% of the GNI is supplied by tourism so this had negative impacts
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St Lucia


  • In 2007, tourist arrivals decreased by 7% due to an international boycott (Whaling Industry) 
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Las Vegas

Negative effects of tourism

  • In 2007 there were over 39 million visitors
  • On average, Las Vegas consumes around 870 litres of water per person per day
  • Environmentalists are warning that water supplies could run out within the next 50 years
  • 84% of visitors spent more than 3 hours a day in casinos
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Specialist tourism, Wilderness tourism

  • Majority of visitors are from the UK and USA
  • A key attraction is the wildlife:  Ornithologists visit for the thousands of nesting birds.  Other wildlife includes the leopard seal, humpback whales and emperor penguins 
  • Another attraction is the scenery - Ice burgs, glaciers
  • Activities include climbing and kayaking
  • IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) was created when travel companies joined together.  The IAATO promotes responsible tourism:  Small visiting boats, all tours must be guided, no tours should enter environmentally sensitive areas.
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Mass tourism

  • In the 1950s, Benidorm's main industry was tuna fishing
  • In 1967 an airport opened in Alicante
  • In 1977, the town received 12 million visitors even though the permanent population of the town was only 60,000
  • Today, Benidorm receives 4 million visitors a year.  Each hour, tourist spend £500,000 (1% of Spain's national income)
  • There are 20,000 apartments and 35,000 hotel beds
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Costa Rica (Lapa Rios)

Eco tourism, Long-haul

  • 27% of the land in Costa Rica is either protected or under the national park system
  • Costa Rica attracts tourists looking for an eco-tourism experience
  • In Lapa Rios, an award winning eco-lodge, tourists can go on rainforest walks, bungee jumping and white water rafting
  • The lodge is sustainably built and uses solar panels.  There is no air conditioning as there are no panes in the windows.  So overall, there is almost no impact on the rainforest whatsoever.
  • All of the 50 staff employed at the Lapa Rios lodge are local people (They act as guides, cooks etc)
  • Profits from the project are put back into the local community (A new primary school was constructed)
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Lake District (Windermere)

Managing Conflicts, Honeypot

  • Visitors cause congestion during weekends/holiday periods - To manage this, local authorities have opened 'local only roads' so that the local residents can still travel to work etc
  • Prices are higher than they would usually be to make a higher profit from visiting tourists, this is an issue for local people
  • Visitors buy second homes, this affects the local community with services such as schools closing down
  • Tourists may walk over farmers' land damaging crops and also leave gates open causing animals to escape
  • A 16 km/h speed limit was put in place as it was argued that having power boats on the lake was like having formula one cars in a children's playground, the speed limit would also allow canoeists, swimmers and anglers to enjoy a more peaceful lake.  The speed limit would bring a new type of tourist to Windermere; tourists looking for a more relaxing location.  However, the speed limit could cause a disastrous effect on the local economy and cause unemployment.
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  • Barcelona is easily accessible for people living in the UK  (2 hour flight from airports such as Bristol and Birmingham)
  • The Nou Camp Football Stadium is a key attraction 
  • The work of Gaudi, a famous architect, can be seen around Barcelona
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Community tourism

  • Guests can stay in bed and breakfast accommodation in rural areas or stay with families in their homes
  • Tourists can spend their money at local shops such as art and crafts businesses
  • Through community tourism, tourists can gain a greater cultural understanding and they can know their money is going to the local people
  • The local community also benefits by bypassing big tourism businesses and receiving more money directly in communities and rural villages
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