Outline the various impacts that skiing/tourism has had on the alpine area
The popularization of ski resorts has obviously led to the increase in number of people using the centres thought the various seasons. The increase in use of the ski resorts has brought with it many disadvantages as well as many advantages. The main disadvantages and advantages are outlined below:
Economic instability: in hard times, poor economy, and ever changing trends and fashions, ski resorts and holidays in general would be the first to suffer. Just imagine if tourism were to cease in a ski resort- the resort would not be able to survive. Jobs would be lost and many companies could possibly go into dept.
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Habitat Destruction: increases in tourism has meant that ski resorts have shelled out on new buildings, such as hotels, ski lifts, chalets, recreational grounds and holiday homes. All this development has led to pollution of the environment, both physically and visually. Also coinciding with the buildings are the construction of roads. Increased tourism has led to more vehicles in the area also leading to more air pollution.
The surges of growth in tourism have also pushed for new ski lifts and ski runs to be built. In order for these to be built- large areas of forestry has to be cleared away. In induces the process of deforestation and is often the cause to disaster.
With the buildings come sewage works- the need for new pipes is increased- so when built, they pollute the environment and also cause geographic instability.
Safety: with the cutting down of trees and disruption to the structure of the environment- landslides and avalanches are now more dangerous than ever. It would be such a problem in these resorts were no so heavily populated. If such a disaster was to strike in the peak season- many would loose their lived.
Seasonal employment: as many ski resorts are uninhabited during the summer months, many are left unemployed and/or are left struggling to survive until business picks up again. However- due to the green house effect, weather patterns have been unpredictably changing. Therefore, the require climate and snowline cannot be guaranteed in the years to come. If resorts were affected- holiday makers would most certainly find other sites to go to.
New industry- mining, forestry, logging: the effects of heavy mining, quarrying, deforesting and logging often leave the natural beauty of the mountains scared for life. They can potentially be life threatening as they weaken surrounding structures and may lead to deadly landslides. They could also lead to massive and wide spreading flooding which could have serious consequences on the environment and local wildlife.
Water Diversion: Ski areas do not just effect the environment on the grounds and slopes of the mountain areas, but also the wildlife and character of the streams and rivers that surround the mountains. In general, massive amounts of water are diverted from local streams and riverbanks to ski areas to supply their snowmaking systems with water. This most certainly effects the environment and wildlife in ways never imagined.
Increased Erosion: The constant pounding of tourist on the local environment really puts pressure on surface structures. Ski runs, foot trails, paths, valleys and rivers and constantly being eroded away and are spoiling the habitat.
Agriculture and Reservoirs: agriculture may also be affected by the increased population. Animals are kept in poorer conditions in order to maximise ski space for tourists. Reservoirs and Dams are also constructed in order to produced electricity. However when constructed, they often the often submerse and erode entire valleys away.
Halting of depopulation in regions: some regions in the alps were nothing before ski resorts came along. People here found their way of life very boring and hard and many decided to move into more urban areas. However, once development got underway in their regions and new tourism and business opportunities arose, many decided to stay saving many frustrated communities.
New jobs and professions: the development of the ski resorts have led to an increase in the demand for skilled professionals. New workers are required to fill job spaces such as ski instructors, hoteliers, cleaners, caretakers, medical staff, ski lift operators, mechanics, decorators, lifeguards, tour organisers and other activity specialists etc. many of the people given these jobs are long term locals and provide them with a way of life.