Mangrove forests are often seen as obstructions to one’s view from a bay-side hotelor obstacles to easy beach access. They are frequently looked at as mosquito infested muddy swamps holding back progress and hindering tourism development.
They may be vilified by developers, lending agencies, and governments alike, and allowed to be rapidly cleared without thorough environmental impact studies in order to make way for the promise of great profits from industrial-scale developments.National, regional, and local governments have failed to adequately regulate the tourism industry. At the same time, multi-lateral lending agencies have rushed headlong to fund these kinds of developments without meeting their own stated ecological and social criteria.
Tourism is spreading along mangrove-fringed coasts
Mangroves are being felled and filled to construct:
- golf courses
- cruise ship ports and pleasure craft marinas
- hotels, condos, and restaurants
- Declines in fisheries due to habitat loss
- Traditional fisherfolk populations forcibly evicted from coastal areas
- Mangrove greenbelt buffers are weakened or lost
- Areas are left more susceptible to tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes, rouge waves, etc.
“Natural” disaster impacts are greater due to mangrove loss from tourism developments.
Although the 2004 tsunamis were caused by the 9.0 Richter scale earthquake, itself a natural event, the tragedy which followed was amplified by unnatural events which no man-made, ocean-based warning system could alter. Marinas, golf courses, tourist hotels, and beach front restaurants and bars with tables set neatly on the sand took precedence over caution.
Regional Case Studies
Alternatives to Industrial Tourism
Various initiatives have arisen in response to tourism’s negative social and environmental impacts.
MAP collaborates with several groups working at the local and regional level to carry out programs in: