The Effects of Tourism in Italy

Lecco, Italy image by Peter Jarvis from

Many millions of tourists annually venture to Italy, which has a population over 60 million, to enjoy the beaches, spend holidays, see the sights such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and to take in the Italian way of life.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the tourism industry accounts for more than half of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Italy and this includes development/construction and employment.

Environmental Effects

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), tourism in Italy destroys shorelines through the building of vacation homes, hotels, marinas, and urban expansion. The organisation states that 43 per cent of the coastline links to tourism development. Likewise tourism increases the need for water resources and waste disposal due to an increased population.

Tourism also pushes wildlife out of their habitats, for example the Mediterranean Monk is now extinct in Italy as well as France, Corsica, Spain, Balearic Islands, Croatia, Sardinia, and Tunisia, according to an article from the Monachus Guardian Library.

Economic Impact

According to the Voyages Photos website, tourism in Italy benefits the economy much more than its rich agricultural landscape. The tourism industry generates employment for locals and increases profit margins for the country. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 69 per cent of Italy's GDP is the services sector, specifically tourism. The construction sector makes up 29 per cent, which tourism greatly affects, and 2 per cent of GDP comes from agriculture resources.

Exchange of Cultures

Tourism also affects the way of life of local Italians. According to a Uzbekistan study, "The Economic and Social Impact of Tourism," by Batir Mirbabayev and Malika Shagazatova, tourism helps with cultural understanding, reduces negative stereotypes, helps develop respect for other cultures and brings a demand for quality resources such as water supply and sanitary housing.

However the effect of tourism in Italy doesn't exclude negative impacts like overdevelopment, lack of authentic construction and the displacement of local residents. Italian local produce, lifestyles and traditions are all affected by mass tourism.