Measuring Tourism Carrying Capacity: A Multi-Dimensional Framework for Assessment

Measuring Tourism Carrying Capacity: A Multi-Dimensional Framework for Assessment

Manju S. Raju (Independent Researcher, India), Nayana Udayashankar (Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS), India) and Swathi Seshadri (Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS), India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5843-9.ch003

Abstract

Tourism is used as an engine for economic growth and is considered a source of income and employment generation. However, like any other human activity, it causes changes to its surroundings. Planners often plan for growth and development of tourism, ignoring the rights of local communities, who are custodians of the resources and are dependent on them. Local communities are most harshly affected by tourism-induced changes. The concept of tourism carrying capacity tries to identify how much change is acceptable change, which would then guide planning and management of tourism in the area. In this chapter, the authors explore the different methodologies that have been developed for assessment of tourism carrying capacity and suggest a suitable framework for the Indian context.
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Literature Review: The Concept Of Tourism Carrying Capacity

TCC stems from the concept of the Hardin's 1968 classic, 'tragedy of the commons’. This theory says that in the absence of assigned responsibility, every individual benefits from overusing common resources in the short term, leading to its inevitable decline. This applies to tourist areas that rely on common resources such as seas, lakes, wilderness and heritage.

In 1980, Butler explained the Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model, arguing that without intervention, destinations would inevitably be subjected to over-development, loss of appeal and an eventual fall in visitor numbers and expenditures, creating a vicious cycle of decline (Butler, 1980).

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 1981) defined TCC as the maximum number of tourists that may visit a tourist destination at the same time without causing destruction of the physical, socio-cultural, and economic environment and an unacceptable quality of visitor satisfaction.

This definition of TCC led to efforts in estimating the maximum number of visitors a tourist area can take before degradation. (Castellani & Sala, 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Standards: Standards are ideal resource or social conditions, which are sometimes pre-defined by laws.

Livelihoods Baskets: A collective term of all livelihoods practiced by the people of the area.

Protected Areas: Areas that are delineated by law to have natural or ecological value, placing restrictions on human activities.

Sustainable Tourism: Practices and management of all resources in a tourist area in such a way that the social and cultural integrity, ecological balance and biological diversity is maintained and the democratic rights of the people are respected.

Gram Panchayat: Directly elected representatives of a small administrative area such as a village.

Adivasi: A collective term for indigenous people of India.

Indicator: An indicator is a criterion or set of criteria that can be used to gauge the prevalent social and resource conditions of the area.

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