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.
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.