Introduction: Rise of Domestic Tourism in Pakistan
In recent years, many parts of Pakistan has see rise in domestic tourism especially to the Northern Areas and Gwadar. It has been both a boon and a bane. On one hand, locals will benefit as their local economy improves and s does their means of earning livelihood and living standards, on the other hand, rise in domestic tourism means the environment is going to suffer as with no proper infrastructure or system in place, tourists visiting these places would litter, pollute and overall degrade the environment with no consequences.
You may also want to check out Environmental Impacts of Growing Tourism Industry of Pakistan
Positive Impacts of Tourism in Pakistan:
In 2020 before the pandemic stopped all tourist activities in Pakistan- local and international. Pakistan was experiencing very positive impacts mostly in these ways:
- Boosting local economy: there is no doubt that as domestic tourism increases, so do the monetary advantages to the local population. This not only raises their living standards and increases their source of income but in the long run also boosts national economy.
- Improvements in Infrastructure: when tourists visit such areas, this helps improve the national economy and GDP steadily. Thus, the officials and relevant government authorities are forced to take a keen interest in the development of the area to make it more attractive and enjoyable for the tourists by building parks, monuments, picnic spots, organizing festivals, heritage and cultural learning centers that not only generate further employment opportunities but also increase the stream of income for the local population. All of which once again that boosts the economy.
- Positive Image of Pakistan: Of course at the end of it all, with more tourists visiting, this would mean the image that is being portrayed of Pakistan internationally to a far wider range of people by word of mouth due to the beauty of these areas would only repeat the cycle of more tourists coming to visit these areas and that will again serve the national interests by boosting economy and social welfare of the locals.
- Opportunity for Development: as tourism increases, people would want to come visit more and often. Therefore there would be higher chances of the government building more roads, railway lines, airports, water supply, communication networks, hospitals and other necessary facilities required with proper standards that would present a neat and progressive image of the country and also benefit the people in the end.
- Community Pride: Along with the general improvement in lifestyles, there will be special attention given to local art, culture and traditions of the indigenous population in order to promote it at an international as well as national level. As more people (both local and foreign) get exposed to the vast cultures present in Pakistan, the more they will appreciate the diversity and it will also instill a sense of pride.
Negative Impacts of Tourism in Pakistan:
- Pollution and Habitat loss: due to infrastructure and developmental activities such as road constructions etc. there will be need of land for which forests will be cut down and this will lead to loss of habitat for natural wildlife. You may also want to check out: Impacts of Unplanned Development of Northern Areas
- Deforestation: Deforestation in itself will lead to harmful consequences for the local wildlife as there homes/ecosystems/habitats will be lost and there will also be less trees for carbon sequestration which will result in global warming as all the carbon would be released back into the environment.
- Endangered Wildlife: due to loss of their habitats, many species may become endangered and be at a risk for extinction.
- Global Warming: as trees store carbon, cutting them down and clearing the land for more development projects would mean a large amount of carbon would be released in the atmosphere which would cause global warming which is obviously very harmful as it speeds up the melting of polar ice caps.
- Pollution and degradation of the environment: due to huge number of tourists there will be increased likelihood of graffiti or chalking on the mountains, littering the roads and valleys, throwing trash in the lakes etc. by irresponsible tourists. Check out: Plastic Crisis: An Emerging Threat to Mountain Ecosystem.
- Over exploitation of natural resources: in a bid to increase the economy even more, there may be an imbalance between the boundaries of nature and constructional activities that would eventually become unsustainable for the area.
- Rise in harassment of locals especially women.
For further information, check out Environmental Damage due to Tourism Industry of Pakistan
Tourism companies and hotels catering to tourists in the area should play their role in educating those who visit and urge them to keep the environment clean in order to combat the negative impacts of tourism. Moreover, Government should raise awareness campaigns and impose heavy fines on all who visit; local or foreign for polluting the areas.
Locals themselves should serve as an example and take care of the environment so that the visiting tourists may see and follow their example. Change starts at the individual and local level and then expands outwards. Because only when we take care of our land, our resources and our natural gifts; only then will other people realize its value and also keep it clean.
Also check out: National Parks in Pakistan – Fauna, Flora and Importance
I hope you all liked this post! Please comment below if you have any suggestions, comments, or feedback! We at #envpk love hearing from our readers! Thanks!
An Environmental Science major interested in creating awareness about all things related to the environment and how we can protect it.