Tourism overuse has had disastrous impacts on precisely the coral reefs on which the tourism industry depends.
The revenue streams in coral reef areas are being threatened by the deterioration of coral reefs. Damage to the reefs has often been caused by the increase in tourism itself, through direct damage by careless tourists and through the unregulated construction and the irresponsible operation of tourist related facilities. Mass tourism poses a threat to reefs and to the income that coral reefs provide to the local population. Sustainable tourism, on the other hand, is a source of income to people in reef areas. It even forms an alternative to destructive fishing practices for local communities.
The main human impacts related to mass tourism development include sedimentation and loss of habitat by land reclamation, dust, and disposal of solid waste, sewage and sludge. This has, among other things, increased turbidity thereby reducing the levels of light needed for growth and survival.
Alongside this, careless practices have direct impacts on coral reef ecosystems, as corals are damaged and killed by contact with fins, hands, knees and also boat or anchor damage.
Photo: Tourist trampling on coral (by Marc Kochzius)
Photo: Divers sitting on coral, while waiting for thresher shark at Malapascua Philippines.
A lot of tourist boats drop their anchor in the reefs. Every time they do it, they breaks some coral.
Photo: Anchor on coral reef.
Tourists like to buy souvenirs for at home or family. Like this beautiful shell of the Triton’s Trumpet. The animal who lived in this shell is the natural predator of the Crown of Thorns. Because the Triton’s Trumpet is being overfished, the natural balance is disrupted and the number of Crown of Thorns can increase enormously. Unfortunately the Crown of Thorns eat coral.
Photo: Triton’s Trumpet
Photo: Coral eaten by Crown of Thorns