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There is no tourist activity that does not rely on environmental resources in some way. For example, natural resources are used to supply tourists with heat, power, food, sanitation and drinking water. The environment is called upon to absorb the waste that is generated (e.g. household waste dumps). Tourism often neglects this resource dependency. The pressures, exerted as a result of tourism, may be so great that the activity can become unsustainable and leads to a decline of the resources in the long-term.

Coastal and sea resources are very important world-wide for tourism. Coastal tourist developments embrace both water and land but often cover a surprisingly narrow area. Travelling only a few miles inland from such well know tourist centres as the Riviera in France can bring you into areas virtually untouched by tourism. The infrastructure needed to support the narrow tourist zone, can extend over a far wider region. This involves services such as water supplies, road and rail access, airports and housing for staff and others. Tourism can be very concentrated in terms of location, but its effects and influence can extend over a much wider region.

 

Example
Epiros, Greece: footpaths which connect the coastal area with places inland can diminish the pressure on the coast

The Epirus region is situated in north-western Greece and is rich in natural and cultural resources. The man made environment includes traditional villages and monuments from all the major historical periods. In line with an EU ICZM Demonstration Project, old footpaths, which connect the coastal area with places inland were restored in order to present an alternative activity to visitors of the area. Most of the tourists are currently focused on sea activities. Through the footpaths tourists could be diffused towards the mainland and this relieves the coastline. The first footpath can be found near Parga, a traditional coastal town; it starts from the magnificent beach of Valtos and stretches along olive groves, abandoned watermills and streams until it reaches a relatively well-preserved castle and the hill of a small village. The second footpath is located near Sayada, a coastal community very close to an important wetland and the Delta of Kalamas River. Tourists following this path have the possibility to admire a splendid panoramic view of the delta from the specially designed kiosk and to explore the village with the traditional stone buildings at the end of their walking excursion (Further information: Barbara Tzialla, Region of Epirus - Department of Environment and Spatial Planning, Greece and ipirpeho@otenet.gr).


The coastal area in Sayada (Epiros, Greece). Photo: Region of Epirus - Department of Environment and Spatial Planning

 

 


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