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Any topic that you like to write about, however it MUST be related to Hospitality, Tourism, Travel or Hotel filed. Essay Example

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Research Background

Tourism has become an important focus for most countries and has contributed significantly to various factors influencing the residents including economic, socio-cultural and environmental dynamisms. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism has grown to be the world’s largest industry to involve the activities of people travelling to and staying in places considered outside their usual environment for various reasons: leisure, business, and other purposes (Higham & Williams, 2014). World Tourism Organization (WTO) conducted a research in 2004, which revealed that international arrivals reached the heights of 763 million, which reflected an annual growth rate of 11%. Since then, there have been various challenges associated with the increased. In the 21st century, one of the greatest challenges is undoubtedly the reconciliation of the economic development, sustainability of the communities’ livelihoods, and preservation of the environmental conditions for the future generations. Initially, sustainability of nature often paved the way for economic development (Cannas, 2012). Since the national parks in the United Kingdom were found, they have played significant roles in the conservation of the cultural and natural landscape. Besides the provision of conservation of specific environment within the protected areas and averting the negative consequences within such areas, various tourist attraction sites have been able to provide livelihoods to the local communities. However, with massive development, population increment, and unsustainable tourism practices, various attraction sites have been on the receiving end of these negative practices (Verbeek & Mommaas, 2008). The purpose of this thesis is to explore various environmental impacts associated with tourism Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, Scotland, which are one of the well-known sights around the city; as a result, it easily draws attention of the tourists due to its natural beauty and picturesque panorama.

Problem Statement

There are different impacts of tourism activities such as diving, boating, snorkelling, fishing, and gaming on the environmental conditions. In addition, improper and irresponsible behaviour among the tourists are also considered to contribute significantly to the detrimental effects on various environmental attribute. Nonetheless, it is important to note that tourists have different levels of environmental literacy which is a concept consisting of both knowledge on the environment and disposition components of the attributes, motivation, and sensitivity (Macleod & Todnem, 2007). Tourism and environment are interrelated with such relationship evident from the increased demand for the tourists interacting with the natural environment. Various research indicate that tourism has the ability to either conserve or destroy the aesthetic nature of the environment; thus, conducting a study on the environmental impact is a vital component to understand the manner in which tourism activities affect the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park and other tourist attraction sites. Over the last years, it has been difficult to incorporate the concept of environmental sustainability into tourism due to laxity of the states and inadequate understanding of environmental protection.

The preservation and restoration of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park has been questioned for a long time due to the damages associated with the tourists visiting Scotland for various attraction sites. Pollution, reduction in the number of animals, and contamination of various natural resources have are associated with time and weather; however, tourist activities played important role in speeding the process through their behaviours. The tourism industry can contribute to economical development, which in turn leads to job opportunities, healthcare, education, and international recognition within the global markets. However, this is only achievable through practicing sustainable tourism and development. Without proper management and controlling of the positive outcome, tourism is likely to fade away making the negative outcomes to be predominant (Macleod & Todnem, 2007). It is important to note that negative consequences could result due to failure by the government and state agencies in taking the responsibility of the social environment and those considered less fortunate within the state. Some of the effects of uncontrollable tourist behaviour include faded culture, littering, environmental pollution, and exploitations. With such negative consequences, Scotland is far from witnessing the desired sustainable tourism development, which could erase the promising tourist attraction sites. To protect the social community, it is important to understand the complexity of the problem associated with poor tourism practices.

Research Aims and Objectives

The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of tourism activities on environmental sustainability. The intention involves analyzing the manner in which tourism contributes to the community in the creation of sustainable social development. To limit the scope of the research, the study focused on Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park and its activities in promoting sustainable social development in relation to the development of Scotland as the major tourist destination in the world. The purpose is also to reflect on the role of tourism is promoting environmental sustainability. To meet these aims, the study developed four specific objectives.

The objectives are as follows:

  1. To investigate the effects of tourism activities in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park on the environment

  2. To determine if both domestic and international tourists visiting Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park are aware of the tourism impacts on the environment

  3. To find out the measures undertaken to reduce the impacts of tourists behaviours on the environment

  4. To measure the attitude and responsibility of the locals and tourists towards sustainable tourism development

Research Questions

The research problem will be broken down into different research questions for provision of wider understanding of the concept of environmental sustainability in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. The main questions present in the research are as follows:

  1. What are the effects on tourism activities on the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park environment?

  2. Are the tourists aware of the behaviours and activities on environmental sustainability?

  3. Are there measures by the government and related agencies to curb the negative environmental impacts from tourism activities?

  4. What is the attitude and responsibility of the locals in fostering sustainable tourism development?



The tourism industry is increasingly becoming an important sector in global economic growth (Higham & Williams, 2014). Since the conception of civilization, travel activities have increased to the greater level. In the recent years, there have been increments in the number of tourists’ arrivals especially in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. Based on the study by UNWTO, tourism is expected to increase in 2050. However, in 2008 and 2009, the sector experienced a negative setup from the global financial crises. With improvements in the economic environment globally, there have been improvements in the international tourism, which ensured recovery from the negative functionality. Globally, tourism and travel industries are increasingly expanding and becoming dynamic in nature (Buswell, 2011). In addition, the sectors are expected to produce approximately 9% of the global Gross Domestic Product and more than 235 million job opportunities, which reflects about 8% of the global employment. WTO managed to set up its long-term forecast to assess tourism development within the first 20 years known as Tourism Vision 2020 that predicts that international arrivals would increase to more than 1.56 billion by 2020. Moreover, the organization predicted that the major receiving regions would be Europe, East Asia, the Pacific, America, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia. Most research has referred to tourism as the smokeless industry, which means that it has the ability to contribute maximum benefit to the local communities compared to the other economic activities.

Concepts and Theory

In this thesis, the theory involves the definition and analysis of environmental impacts associated with tourism. As a result, the main attention is given to various concepts of sustainable development, physical impacts of tourism, and the nature of tourism. It is important to note that the concept of sustainability is wide; however, the study will narrow on the practices within Scotland’s Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.

Sustainable Development

The main aim of sustainability is to explore the link that exists among social equity, economic development, and environmental quality. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment coined the term sustainability in Stockholm in 1972 in which the member states discovered the existing relationship between the quality of life and environmental quality. With continued research and increased understanding of the concept, sustainable development gained popularity. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as the development that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising its ability to meet the needs of the future generation (International Conference on Sustainable Tourism, Pineda & Brebbia, 2012). Such definition gave rise to community thinking of the complex decision making which makes it possible to integrate both the social and economic needs of the people with the ability of environmental resources to regenerate. Moreover, the concept of sustainable development is a dynamic process of change that involves exploitation of resources, orientation of technological improvement, institutional change, and directional investments that coincide with the future and present the needs.

Sustainable development needs to rest on the political will of the government while making critical decisions that touch the economic, environmental, and social factors. There are many definitions of sustainable development. However, the common features of all the definitions are the pillars of sustainable development: economic, environmental, and social. These pillars form the bottom line and are used to measure the success of various projects; hence, each component should be given equal attention to ensure sustainable outcome. This thesis focuses on sustainable development based on the environmental approach, which involve maintaining resilience and robustness of various systems: biological and physical. It is important to note that it is impossible to separate one pillar from one another though much attention is given to the environmental sustainability and associated impacts on the physical environment resulting from tourism.

Sustainable and Nature Tourism

Theoretical background to analyze data collected through observation of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park area needs adequate understanding of various concepts including nature tourism, sustainable tourism, and the physical impacts resulting from tourism in the destination. According to WTO, tourism involves temporary movement of people to the destinations outside their normal places of work and residence and the activity that are undertaken during their stay within the destinations and facilities created tend to cater for their needs. Based on that definition, it is clear that there are three important activities that impact the environment: transportation, facilities, and activities. WTO considered sustainable tourism development to require an informed participation of various relevant stakeholders and political leadership to ensure that there is wide participation and building of an effective consensus. It is important to note that achievement of sustainable tourism is continuous process that needs constant monitoring of the impacts and introduction of the preventative measures. Therefore, sustainable tourism needs to maintain great levels of tourism satisfaction to ensure meaningful experience to the tourists while raising the level of awareness on sustainability issues, and promoting sustainable tourism practices.

Tourism is one of the most promising industrial sectors that drive economic growth globally. The sector is increasingly becoming important from the global resource perspective considering its impressive reach and size. The key to successful tourism industry is having supportive political and economic force for conservation that ensures effective planning and management of environmental resources. Most of Scotland’s nature areas are important tourist attractions. The main purpose of the protected nature areas is to ensure adequate protection of the natural features though most of the areas are used for scientific research, outdoor recreations, and amateur nature studies. The main aim of practicing sustainable nature tourism is to provide tourists with the valuable experiences within the natural environment in a fully sustainable manner. Environmental sustainability requires respect for natural values with the potential to improve both the economic and social-wellbeing of the people though there are always challenges in balancing between provision of adequate visitor experiences and services, protection of environmental resources, and cultural values of the area.

Environmental Impacts of Tourism

Like any other industry, tourism can have serious environmental, social, and economic impacts. This thesis focuses on the environmental impacts of tourism in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. Natural areas seem to experience major environmental impacts, which is the identity of the place. The fulfilment of such identity has impact on various impacts of the natural ecosystem ranging from wildlife to plants. Most research undertaken divide the physical environment destination: the natural and built environment (World Tourism Organization, 2008; Verbeek & Mommaas, 2008). The simplest classification of the impacts tends to draw attention from various dimensions: positive vs. negative, reversible vs. irreversible, local vs. global, and direct vs. indirect.

Positive vs. Negative Impacts

Positive and negative impacts are the common dimensions used in classifying environmental impacts. Negative impacts often get more attention than positive since the indirect nature of the positive impacts is observable more often compared to the direct nature associated with the negative impacts. The positive impacts are worth mentioning. It is important to note that tourism within the protected areas can be an important tool for environmental conservation. Currently, the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park is viewed as a positive factor that promotes tourism development with the network of nature conservation areas considered central attraction for the nature-based tourism. Tourism has the ability to build support while raising awareness on the significance of ecological, cultural, and recreational values associated with the protected areas. In addition, it also has the ability to generate income in the areas of operations used for conservation, quality of life, respect for the sacred sites, and support traditions.

Reversible vs. Irreversible Impacts

Reversible impacts mean that the initial state of the environment can be restored after degradation while irreversible impacts means restoration of the initial condition is impossible. Throughout the years, the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park has experienced encroachment from human activities such as development activities and growth in population and negative tourism practices which puts both the flora and fauna at risk (Buswell, 2011). One example of a reversible impact is the development of the park; however, the impacts resulting in the extinction of the species is irreversible. In most cases, the impacts are reversible over a long period, quasi-reversible impacts which are reversible in theory through practically the cost involved is often high. It is important to note that the natural environment impacts are irreversible like those associated with built environment.

Direct vs. Indirect Impacts

Direct impacts are those considered to be easily perceived by every person while the indirect impacts become obvious within a long period. In most cases, it is difficult to determine the source of pollution, whether tourism or community related. Whenever there is direct impact, the generator often has direct relationship with the affected factor. Globally, there are more direct impacts on the natural environment than the built environment. Some of the direct impacts experienced in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park include littering and trampling on the vegetation. Nonetheless, the indirect impacts need to considered from the global perspective considering that environmental consequences do not understand international boundaries (International Conference on Sustainable Tourism, Pineda & Brebbia, 2012). The greatest portion of the tourism industry is an addition to the urban infrastructural, transport network, and accommodation developments. The manufacturing and production of goods and services often involve various parts of the human economy that contributes to the increased levels of water and energy consumption, various types of pollution, and generation of huge amounts of wastes. Such activities affect the conditions of physical environment of the destination indirectly.

Global vs. Local Impacts

The tourism sector is increasing growing; however, with inadequate practices that protect natural resources, which in the end compromise the economic value of the tourism industry. Global impacts seem to influence any being across the earth, thus local actions have no ability to solve the problems associated with these impacts. Considering that global processes exhibit dynamic nature, they change with time and could take years for them to develop and perceived by the people (Higham & Williams, 2014). On the contrary, the local impacts are easily definable as they are easily managed compared to the global impacts. Research indicate that there is no clear distinction between the global and local impacts on the built and natural environment; nonetheless, both are affected by the local and global impacts such as mass tourism and acid rains respectively.

Tourism Support Model in Scotland

In the 21st century, researchers on sustainable tourism note that the main classes of impacts are positive and negative impacts, which both have direct occurrence on the host community due to tourism development (Johnston, 2013; Higham & Williams, 2014). Most researchers agree that the greatest impact on tourism would occur whenever there is a greater gap between the levels of income and culture for the tourist and the host. It is important to understand that the perception of the locals towards the impacts of tourism tends to vary significantly. Furthermore, if the residents have positive attitudes towards the impacts associated with tourism, then the development of tourism would be more successful within the community. This was the initial state of perception in Scotland; however, with increased development and impacts of economic recession, the focus on people changed to economic derivation rather environmental conservation (Macleod & Gillespie, 2011). If the residents benefit from the development of tourism, then they are likely to additional support on tourism planning and development within the community. To ensure the effective and efficient development of Scotland’s tourism sector, it is important that the developers consider the perceptions and attitudes of the people before undertaking investment in scarce resources (Johnston, 2013). Moreover, understanding the perceptions of the residents towards the impact of tourism may assist to identify various types of tourism that have the ability to build community capacity.

The Perceptions of the Residents towards Tourism

Sustainable tourism development in any part of the globe is achievable when all the stakeholders are involved in the process tourism development (Lohmann & Dredge, 2012). Based on the concept of tourism sustainability, it is important to note that the community is the focal point in tourism and planning process. Besides, determining the perception of the residents towards tourism is important as it influences the behaviours of people towards tourism. Studies indicate that the perceptions of people on tourism differ (Lohmann & Dredge, 2012; Lu & Nepal, 2009). Sustainable tourism depends on the acceptability of the hosts countries, tourism related activities, programs, and offerings by the local communities. Through the years, the government of Scotland has focused on improving environmental sustainability by establishing tourism friendly environment, increasing the level of awareness on the significance of environmental conservation, and ensuring that the views of the local communities are integrated in the decision making process. The major indicator that affects the development of tourism sector in the destination is the host attitude. In Scotland, another factor that is responsible for shaping the tourism industry is the negative and positive impacts within the tourist destination and the attachment of the residents of the community (Buswell, 2011). Research by the WTO indicate that the more people live within the community, the more negative they are likely to be towards the development of tourism. Thus, the time of residency tend to have direct impact on the development of tourism.

Environmental Impacts of Tourist Industry in Scotland

In Scotland, Wild Scotland is the body that represents nature tourism. Over the past years, tourism in Scotland has gone through transformation. From the niche sector, both the adventure and nature-based activities have shifted from the fringe of tourism to the mainstream. The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) undertook a study in 2011 on the economic impact of the nature-based tourism and found that the sectors contribute about £1.4 billion in the revenue and generate 40,000 job opportunities, which makes it one of the most important sectors within the Scottish economy. The topic on environmental and sustainability issue produced a wide range of responses with most of the researchers citing the current economic situation as the most important sustainability issue (Macleod & Gillespie, 2011). As a result, it puts emphasis on the positive environmental outcomes, which cannot be unhitched from the financial performance. Considering the economic aspects of sustainability, the main environmental challenges highlighted in most research experienced in Scotland include conflicting land use practices, especially tourism vs. wind farms and forestry and accommodation which involves finding accommodation partners sharing similar commitment to environmental and sustainability performance. Scotland also experiences carrying capacity issue, conflicting land users, and transportation.

Identified Gap

Based on the analysis of the literature, it is evident that there is limited research undertaken on the relationship between tourism and environmental sustainability. This thesis identified a gap in the coverage of the natural heritage-related economic impacts studies. The analysis revealed that tourism is global system that affects the environment and is affected by the environment. Therefore, it is important that tourism address the challenges of environmental conservation in various aspects of the systems. This needs a system wide approach to the environmental challenges based on the adequate understanding of the complexity of the tourism system and the interrelationship of various components. It is evident from the empirical literature review that most of the studies focus on various aspects of ecotourism such as social, environmental, and economic. Moreover, research on tourism has inclined towards the topics that relate to the economic and social impacts of the tourism industry. The current literature suggest various corrective measures to overcome the challenges associated with development of tourism (Cannas, 2012; Buswell, 2011). To such end, it is clear that no systematic study has been undertaken so far to evaluate the impacts of tourism related activities on environmental sustainability, associated impacts on the locals, and significance of the protected areas in Scotland. Despite the increasing demand for tourism across the globe, research on the effect on environmental sustainability has been limited. Thus, the in filling of the gap, through this study, indicate that the study has much relevance.



In this chapter, the research will elaborate on the ways that will be used to collect data, the methods to be employed, the sampling frame selected, and the method to be used in the data analysis. The chapter will also give an indication on the limitation of the study.

Research Design

Research design outlines the strategies used in answering the research questions. In this research, both qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used. Qualitative research design is subjective in nature considering that it depends on how people feel and reflect on certain issues and arrive at certain decisions. Under the qualitative approach, the interpretive researcher tends to develop an understanding of social life and discover ways in which people construct meaning within the natural contexts (Fisher, 2006). On the other hand, quantitative approach is more valid and accurate; therefore, it is used commonly where questionnaires are considered the main tool for data collection.

Sampling Design

The aim of sample frame is to illustrate important elements of the targeted population. For the purpose of this study, the selected sample of the respondents will be those more than 18 years to reduce the risks of acquiring biased information. Moreover, the study will apply convenience sampling technique which is a non-probability sampling method that involves the selection of subjects due to their accessibility convenience and proximity to the researcher. Besides, convenience sampling will be applied considering the impossibility to test the whole population since the population is quite wide to include each individual. In this research, this will be carried out with assistance of self-administered questionnaires which will be given to both the local residents and tourists available within and close to the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. During the survey, if an individual refuses to the participate in the research, then another individual will be intercepted and invited to participate. The focus of this research are the people living around the park and tourists: local and international. The purpose of survey will be explained to each participant. The study will distribute 300 questionnaires among the research targets with questions put in English for easy communication. Nonetheless, if the researcher will come across respondents who do not understand English, then questions will be translated verbally in Creole.

Study Area

In this study, the sampling frame will focus on those living within tourism areas which experience tourism expansion. As such, the study area of the research will be Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, which attracts significant number of tourists. Therefore, four strategic areas will be identified in Scotland from different parts: North, South, East, and West including the town councils of Scotland, Argyll and Bute, Cowal, Perth and Kinross, West Dunbartonshire, and Stirling. The national park was identified due to its strategic location and because it attracts significant amount of tourists and the locals living within perceives the impacts of tourism differently. The study considered other areas in Scotland since the residents of non-tourism zones tend to view the impacts differently compared to those close to the national park. However, it is believed that if the residents interact frequently with the tourists, then there are high chances that they would report negative attitudes. There are two measures to such interaction: the proximity of the residents to the tourist attraction area and concentration of the tourist within a given area. As a result, it is important that the research explore the perception of the residents towards the impacts on tourism on environmental sustainability.

Data Collection Design

This study will use structured questionnaire as the survey instrument. The method is chosen as it offer better rates of response compared to the methods used in traditional studies (Fisher, 2006). The questionnaire will be designed in a simple way and simple grammar to make it easier for the respondents to answer the questions. Furthermore, the survey questionnaires for the local residents will consist of three parts. A covering note will be placed on top of the questionnaires to explain the purpose of research. In Part A, the questionnaire will have questions related to demographic characteristics of the respondents though no names will be collected which assist to retain the privacy of the participants. Some of the elements to be included in the demographic characteristics include age, length of residency, education level, gender, and occupation. In Part B, the research will aim to capture the perception of the respondents on environmental impacts of tourism. The items included in this section will involve both positive and negative aspects of the environment; as a result, a five-point Likert scale will be employed for respondents to indicate their levels of agreement. The Likert scale is important in tourism research as it offers superior validity. In Part C, there will be closed-ended questions since they are easy to collect, analyze, and interpret the derived data; as a result, the respondents will use less time to answer the questions.

Primary Data Collection

Data collection will be undertaken with the assistance of some colleagues at various sites. In this research, the primary data collection is the survey questionnaire. From the definition, a questionnaire is a data collection instrument in which the respondents fill in the questions for the study.

Secondary Data Collection

Secondary data include collection of information from already existing research. The sources to be used include journals, books, reports from Scottish Ministry of Environment, documentaries from various wildlife foundations, and tourism state departments.

Pilot Testing of the Questionnaires

After completion of the questionnaires, the study will undertake a pre-test to determine the idea on the response to be obtained during the data collection exercise. In the questionnaire pre-test, ten people will be used as the sample to determine the validity of the questionnaire, which will make it easy to refine and simplify the questions to meet the expectations.

Ethical Aspects

The research will consider various ethical aspects of the respondents. The researcher will ensure that information acquired from the respondents remain confidential and anonymous and the derived information will be used only for academic purpose. Through negotiations between the researcher and respondents, there will be a deep emphasis on the research. Therefore, to acquire better results of the survey, the researcher will explain about the study purpose.

Data Analysis

The data from the research will be analyzed through descriptive data analysis. In addition, analytical method will be more effective since it provides quantification methods that guides understanding of the result, which formed the core principle of this study (Fisher, 2006). This approach will assist to model the data with an aim to provide clear impression the information under discussion. The analytical process will be aided through the pie charts to show the existing relationships between the effects of tourism activities and environmental sustainability.

Limitation of the Study

The research is likely to experience various setups during the survey including refusal by some people to participate in the study while others are likely to feel annoyed while answering the questions. Moreover, some respondents are likely to be difficult since the questionnaires have many questions. Due to time constraint of the research, the researcher will be unable to take larger sample size.


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