Impact of Worldwide Tourism

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"Zion National Park Ranger Minute: the Zion Wilderness." In this video, a park ranger explains the importance of Wilderness areas. Courtesy of the Utah Government Digital Library, Utah State Library Division via Mountain West Digital Library.

Striking a healthy balance between tourism development and maintaining wilderness lands causes issues in the Mountain West. Annually, tourism is a multi-million dollar industry that brings in revenue for states and businesses and is huge source of jobs in the region, all of which enables other areas of the economy like housing and small businesses to grow and thrive. International tourism expands the types of goods and services offered in the area. And, the number of visitors can drive cities and state to improve public services such as streets, utilities, and public transportation.

The promotion of tourism also places extra demands on these same services that locals must pay for through taxes and levies. Overcrowding of cities can also push out locals who might be unable to afford skyrocketing property values in popular areas.

Increased human traffic into tourist areas can cause pollution, destruction of natural places, and law enforcement issues among others. Vandalism on public lands can cost state agencies thousands of dollars to clean up. Overcrowded campgrounds, roads, and wilderness areas place stress on native plant and animal populations and can cause conflict with animals.