Travel has a romance about it. Visiting new places holds the promise of adventure. However, as more people take to the road and air, the environmental effects increase. Biological diversity and the ozone layer are at risk. Increased environmental awareness and regulatory measures can help protect the places we love to visit.
Tourism roots can be traced back to Babylonian and Egyptian times, when the ability to travel to places away from home and visit unique points of interest became all the rage among those with sufficient wealth.
The World Tourism Organization reports that the U.S. is the second most visited destination, bringing over 110 billion international dollars into the economy in 2008.
Tourism negatively impacts natural resources by land degradation, depletion of local resources, pollution and deforestation, all of which alter ecosystems and the life they contain.
Of the 109 countries with coral reefs, 90 have suffered damage to the reefs due to cruise ships, harming a resource that will require over 50 years to recover.
With air travel predicted to increase nearly threefold by 2020, the impact of this fastest growing source of greenhouse gases will account for over 50 per cent of the projected ozone layer destruction.
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