Tourism in Britain
Tourism in Britain is a success story. Our history and heritage, culture + countryside provide an unrivalled tourism experience. The industry provides jobs for 1.5million people and contributes £33 billion to the economy, which represents 5% of our GDP. Over 20 million visitors came here in 1995.
Why has tourism increased?
- People have more leisure time than at any other time in our history
- Increased number of retired persons - 'active wrinkleys'
- Shorter working week + the introduction of Flexi Time --> more short breaks.
- Increase in the length of entitled paid leave for employees
- Since the 1900s average income in the UK has risen steadily --> more consumer spending - holidays are a popular element.
- Greater Mobility
- Car ownership has risen rapidly
- Aircraft design improvements have lowered the cost and convenience of air travel
- Rise in popularity of the package holiday
- The service provided by tourist operators has increased the enjoyment of holidays. A greater variety of destinations are provided and the facilities at resorts continue to improve.
Case study: The Lake District
The lakes have inspired artists and poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. Its beautiful scenery is home to just 41,000 yet the area attracts 4 million tourist trips each year. The visitors create many jobs and many facilitites are improved as a result - especially services + roads.
In 1994 tourists spent over £425 million, but there was a price to be paid:
Problems brought by tourism [1/2]
- Traffic congestion - 80% of visitors come by road, the bulk arriving between April and September. The narrow + often twisting roads of the region cause considerable congestion
- Pollution - Road traffic congestion inevitably causes air pollution. In addition tourists drop litter + their facilities are often visually intrusive (large campsites)
- Soil Erosion - Some sites are so popular that the amount of feet passing over the paths create significant footpath erosion. Paths get wider as the surface cuts up - landscape significantly damaged.
Problems brought by tourism [2/2]
- Conflicts between tourists and locals - there are potential conflicts between walkers and farmers (gates left open, sheep worried by dogs). Locals resent their towns and villages being taken over - second homes (push up prices for locals) and just the congestion of people.
- Conflicts between the different types of tourist - the many different activities offered in the area all have to compete for space - many of these activities disturb the tranquility for other tourists (jet skiing, wind surfing, sailing, water skiing vs fishing). These problems are magnified in some of the busiest centres, eg. Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness - such areas are often referred to 'honey pot' sites.
- Conflicts between tourists and other activities - the Lake District is used to supply vast amounts of water to nearby cities (Manchester). The MoD also has land in the area and there is a conflict between live firing on ranges and walkers and riders who use the area and demand access.