Needed: a new kind of tourist

In Britain, you can't wander among the awesome prehistoric monoliths of Stonehenge anymore; you have to keep your distance because of damage done by previous tourists. In the United States the time is coming when you will have to make reservations to visit some of the national parks; the preservation of the wilderness demands control of human impact on it. All over the world the shrines of tourism are threatened by what tourism does to them.

A new kind of tourist is needed, one enlisted to help preserve the places he visits.

Many travelers already respect the sights and sites they enjoy. They don't litter, don't deface. But with the growth of tourism even "normal" wear and tear can be too much. Pollution of the air and water increases. According to a forthcoming report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), environmental degradation in certain areas has gone far that tourism id declining in them.

With a membership of 24 industrial countries, the OECD is concerned about the environment for fundamental economic reasons. It sees that, if the tourist industry is to flourish, so much the environment that attracts tourists. It suggests linking tourism-promotion efforts with environmental considerations. It wants all nations to foster the sort of tourism that can perpetuate itself by stressing the visitor's part in protecting the environment.

Of course, no one has to wait for a nudge from OECD to start being the right species of tourist. Have you been kind to a national park today?

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.