In document What is Wrong with Extinction? Persson, Erik (Page 30-33)



2.3.6. Tourism

Tourism is often put forward as an important instrumental reason for protecting species.88 A species can provide instrumental value for us humans both because it provides us as tourists with inspiration, recreation etc, and because it generates income by attracting others as tourists to our area. The tourist and travel business is the world’s third largest branch of business.89 Nature tourism in turn is one of the fastest growing branches of tourism and is a large source of income in many countries – not least in poor countries or areas.90 The income from tourism tends to provide a very strong and very direct incentive for protection even for people who would not otherwise care for nature preservation, or would even be against protection of at least some species.91 This goes for instance for big predators that might be a threat to human beings or their life stock, but that are also very attractive to tourists. In many cases, both these and other animals are actually more economically valuable alive as tourist attractions, than they are dead.92

85 Melin 2001 p.23

86 Norton 1986:2 p.274

87 Ihse 2005 p.70

88 Andersson 2005 p.93, Hellmark 2004:1 pp.133f, Johansson, Birgitta 2005:1 p.8, Walsh 2004 p.65

89 Olsson 2004 p.35, Prosser 1995 p.118

90 Charter for Sustainable Tourism 1995, Hanneberg 2004 pp.59, 63, Hellmark 2004:5 p.51, Lindén 1990 p.73, Ricklefs 1997 p.599

91 Cooney & Dickson 2005 p.13, Doole 2005, Hanneberg 2004 pp.64, 71, Hellmark 2004:6 p.75, Olsson 2004 p.43, Rolston 1994 p.126

92 Doole 2005, Hanneberg 2004 p.64, Johansson 2005:2 p.110

Another gain from a protection perspective is that nature tourism might also influence the tourists by increasing their interest in the animals or plants they see (maybe even in species they did not come to see but as a bonus get to see anyway). It might also increase their understanding of the communities in which the species live, and make them more sympathetic towards conservation in general.93

There is a risk that tourism also contributes to the destruction, however.94 That is why some initiatives have been developed to counter the environmental impact of tourism. Both the UN and other organisations have held conferences and compiled policy documents aiming at sustainable tourism.95 The World Tourism Organization (WTO) discusses the matter actively, and there are several different types of labelling of environmentally friendly tourism – often referred to as “eco-tourism”.96 Obviously, the big bulk tourism can never be in the form of eco-tourism, and even eco-tourism is not without negative impact. Just getting to the destination often requires using plenty of energy, mostly in the form of fossil fuels. This in turn means plenty of pollution including carbon dioxide that increases the greenhouse effect with a tremendous impact on the environment, including on other species.97

Setting the standards for what is to count as eco-tourism is not easy, and there will certainly turn up borderline cases where it is difficult to say how much encroachment is acceptable in order to stay in business.98 It is easy to fall victim to the “salami-principle” – i.e. finishing off the habitat one slice at a time, where every single slice is not in itself a cause of concern, and where it is impossible to say precisely at which slice we have gone too far.

An inherent problem with eco-tourism is that it can never be allowed to be too successful, measured in the number of tourists. With too many tourists, the wildlife experience will inevitably be lost even if the impact on the environment can be held at a low level. It will therefore never be able to include the large masses of tourists.99 It may, however, be able to influence mass-tourism by showing that it is possible to pursue tourism in a non-devastating form, and by influencing mass-tourism to raise their standards of consideration for the

93 Hellmark 2004:5 p.48, Hellmark 2004:6 pp.75f

94 Delin 1997 p.9, Hanneberg 2004 p.69, Doole 2005, Hellmark 2004:2 p.25, Hellmark 2004:3 p.22, Hellmark 2004:6 p.74, Karlsson 2004 p.7, Leopold 1970 pp.294f, Olsson 2004 pp.35, 38, 42, Prosser 1995 p.119, Rolston 1998 p.8, World Conference on Sustainable Tourism1995, World Ecotourism summit 2002 p.2

95 Europarc Federation 2002, Prosser 1995 p.119, World Conference on Sustainable Tourism 1995, World Ecotourism summit 2002

96 Helllmark 2004:3 pp.15ff, Hellmark 2004:6 passim,, , Karlsson 2004 p.7, Olsson 2004 pp.41f

97 Hellmark 2004:1 p.134, Hellmark 2004:6 p.77, Olsson 2004 pp.39f. The Québec convention on ecotourism in fact calls for regulatory mechanisms regarding transport in connection with ecotourism:

World Ecotourism summit 2002

98 Doole 2005, Fall, Carl-Axel 2004 passim, Hanneberg 2004 pp.59, 69f, Hellmark 2004:6 p.76, Olsson 2004 p.43

99 Doole 2005, Fall 2004 p.155, Hellmark 2004:1 p. 134, Hellmark 2004:3 p.23, Hellmark 2004:5 p.48, Hellmark 2004:6 p.77, Olsson 2004 pp.38f, 45

environment, even if their standards cannot be as high as that of certified tourism. Some believe that this might be the most important benefit of eco-tourism.100

One problem with tourism as an incentive for protection is that it is selective. Only some species are attractive enough for people to spend money and time to see them.101 This means that tourism can only account for the instrumental value of a limited number of species. On the other hand one spin-off may, as pointed out above, be that tourists widen their interest to include a larger number of species. Therefore, in order to entice the customers to come back, the enterprises must consider a larger number of species than the original “target species”. It is also obvious that the popular species cannot survive in the wild in a vacuum. They need a habitable environment, which includes a large array of other species that thereby indirectly also becomes instrumentally valuable to us.

One risk we have to consider regarding both eco-tourism and other forms of tourism is that the tourists get an oversimplified or maybe romanticised view of the area they visit.102 The opposite is of course also a risk: That the inhabitants of the area get an overly romanticised view of life in the west by continually seeing rich westerners on vacation.

Apparently, tourism too has pros and cons as a reason for preservation. Like many of the previously suggested instrumental values, it is partly self-defeating in that it will destroy its own basis if it becomes too popular. This is a strong argument for proceeding with caution, but it might not be strong enough in a trade off between non-exploiting (or more correct “less-exploiting”) eco-tourism and more exploiting mass-tourism.

The effect on people’s minds may be the most important contribution of tourism. This change of mind can, however, go in both directions as we saw.

Things and events that have the effect of changing people’s minds concerning what they value have been labelled “transformative value” by Bryan G. Norton, and it might play an important role of its own when it comes to accounting for our intuitions concerning extinction. We will therefore devote a section of its own to that kind of value later in the book.

100 Hanneberg 2004 pp.70f, Hellmark 2004:1 p.134, Hellmark 2004:6 p.75

101 Ricklefs 1997 p.600

102 Doole 2005, Hellmark 2004:3 pp.22f, Olsson 2004 p.42

In document What is Wrong with Extinction? Persson, Erik (Page 30-33)