Tourism makes an important contribution to the economies of both richer and poorer countries. For the GCSE, you are asked to look at how the geography of different areas can be used to attract tourists, the costs and benefits of tourism and how tourism needs to be managed in sustainable ways.

Plate tectonics influences human lives in many ways, in certain areas of the world, the movement of tectonic plates creates spectacular landforms like mountain ranges and volcanoes, that are attractive to tourists. Through the rock cycle, it creates and moves different rock types, each one of which produces its own unique scenery that can be exploited by the tourist industry.

Tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries.

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In 2010, the Middle East and Asia had the greatest increase in numbers of tourists arriving from other countries, but almost half of the world's international tourists visited European countries.

One of the main benefits of tourism is its contribution to the local economy, national economy and infrastructure as new airports, roads and buildings are constructed to cater for the needs of tourists. Take for example, Snowdonia in north Wales. This is a small area of glaciated upland which is a major tourist area. New car parks have been built, along with visitor centres and cafes in order to allow as many people as possible to enjoy the area. The tourists need places to stay, so people have set up accommodation like B&Bs, campsites and holiday cottages.

But tourism has its drawbacks too. Changing the use of local housing in Snowdonia to holiday cottages angered the locals as there were fewer homes available for them to live in. The footpaths and tracks suffer from greater erosion as visitor numbers increase and the presence of visitors disturbs the wildlife. There is even a railway to take tourists to the top of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales! These factors all add up to make the area feel less wild and so without careful management, it will eventually become less attractive to many people who would otherwise have visited the region.

But what has caused the global increase in tourism? Since the second world war, populations have become more wealthy, particularly in MEDCs. They have more disposable income. People have more leisure time than before the war as electrical goods have reduced the amount of time spent doing household chores. People also have paid holidays from work and, because of a better standard of living, retired people are more active and fitter than ever before. More people own cars which gives them more freedom to travel when and where they want and international travel is faster and more readily available.

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  1. From the 1960s onwards, the number of people visiting UK seaside resorts like Blackpool and Skegness declined. Which of the following is the most likely reason for this?
    As air travel became cheaper, travel companies could offer affordable package holidays to foreign destinations with a much better climate than the UK seaside resorts
  2. Tourism needs to be managed sustainably. This means:
    If tourism is not carefully managed, the attractions will be damaged to the extent that people are no longer interested in visiting them. This is called stagnation and unless something drastic is done about it, will lead to the decline and possible closure of the tourist industry in the area
  3. In hot countries, which of the following resources is likely to be placed under the greatest pressure by tourism?
    Diverting water for tourists can over-exploit local water reserves, leaving local people, plants and animals short of water
  4. A geographer named Butler proposed that tourist resorts or attractions go through six stages. The last stage can be either decline or rejuvenation (regrowth after visitor numbers have stopped increasing). Which of the following would be an example of rejuvenation?
    This would increase visitor numbers to the theme park
  5. Which of the following statements about tourism is NOT true?
    Tourism is an important industry to many countries of the world
  6. Extreme tourism is becoming more and more popular but which of the following best describes it?
    This form of tourism is usually targeted at well-off younger professional people with no families
  7. Which of the following tourist activities would be least likely to be advertised for a tourist resort in a mountainous area?
    Cruises may be advertised if the resort was on the shore of a large lake such as lake Geneva in the Alps
  8. Tourism is:
    The tertiary sector is also known as the service sector
  9. Which of the following is NOT a benefit of tourism in Snowdonia?
    This reduces the number of houses available for local people to buy and can push up house prices. This can then lead to rural depopulation as younger people cannot afford to buy homes in the area
  10. The Serengeti is a region of Africa that is rich in wildlife and contains several national parks and game reserves. This makes it popular for which type of holiday?
    Safari holidays in the Serengeti give tourists a chance to observe the annual migration of the wildebeest and zebra which is the largest migration of land animals in the world. It also offers many opportunities to see rare wild animals in their natural habitats

Author: Kev Woodward

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