Environmental Effects of Tourism on Thai Coral Reefs

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The tourism industry has grown exponentially over the previous twenty years, it is now a worldwide industry, both in terms of tourists and host destinations, and ‘is no longer confined to the developed countries that traditionally provided the demand for world travel’ (Page & Connell, 2006, pp.4). World leaders have long been recognising the huge economic advantages that a booming tourism industry can bring to their nations, and vast amounts of money have been invested set up the infrastructure to support such an industry. However, aside from the large economic advantages to the industry, there are inevitably negative impacts to the host nation and the world as a whole. These negative impacts usually materialise in the form of…show more content…
It is widely believed that this continuing construction work around the coastal areas is the biggest problem in terms of coral destruction; Nipon Pongsuwan of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre backs this argument up by saying ‘sludge and debris washed into the sea from building work across the island was the main factor responsible for the reef destruction’ (cited in CDDN, 2004). The sludge and sediment deposited in the water contributes the ruin of the reef by blocking out the sun’s rays to the bottom of the sea, and preventing the algae from photosynthesising which in turn leads to the bleaching of the coral. Thailand’s coastline, in particular around the low lying river estuaries, is primarily made up of mangrove forests. Over the previous year’s Thailand has seen a major decrease in its mangrove land. This can be attributed to several things; tourism being one of them (Poonnachit-Korsieporn, 2000). Where coastal land is in high demand, many of the mangrove trees are ripped out to create the space for building hotels and tourist complexes. Mangrove forests are a major world ecosystem in themselves that provide a home to many species of animal; such as shrimp and different varieties of ape, so obviously the declining mangrove forests alone are a negative environmental impact of tourism. However, this deforestation also creates issues for the coral reefs. Mangroves act as natural barrier to the sea; they prevent the erosion of the coast and stop
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