In developed countries, the rural areas are increasing!” being exploited as a source of recreation and as the places for sporting events.
Greater affluence and improved air travel have also encouraged an increase in tourism to such an extent that it is now the world’s third largest industry and accounts for about 12 per cent of the world’s GNP (Geofile, 1988). Tourism is also becoming an important industry in the developing countries. The tourism and recreation in the countryside and natural areas damage the vegetation by trampling, to accelerate the loss of soil and to disturb animals. Sports like skiing; boating, camping, trekking, riding and picnicking adversely affect the landscape and environment. Accidental fires can have devastating effects on landscape. Such fires damage the environment more severely, if they occur in summer season after a long dry period. In such cases, seed banks are impaired and even below-ground roots may be damaged.
Thus, the recovery of ecosystem is slow. Tourism, which is developing as an industry, is also bringing significant environmental changes. In tourism, people move from their home to the tourist places temporarily. The objectives of the tourists may be many as they undertake travels to enjoy cultural attributes, scenic beauty, wildlife and marine features. The uncontrolled tourism may result in the destruction of landforms, fauna and flora that first motivated the activity.
Planning and management of tourism is necessary if tourism industry is to continue as a source of income in developed and developing countries. The people and tourists need to be educated so that they may become part of the environmental protection movement.