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Arizona Tourism: Socio-Cultural and Environmental Impacts

Ashworth 53 states that tourism has become one of the leading ways of sustaining Arizona’s economy. Just as other areas experiencing rapid tourism growth, there have been rapid developments of resorts as well as business opportunities which in total have strained both natural and human resources. Though the industry has lead to economic growth in the region, but there are worries concerning social well-being. This article provides a pool of knowledge concerning the issue of socio-cultural and environment effects of tourism to practitioners, apart from identifying barriers that are limiting sustainable tourism development initiatives. Through this article, practitioners also get to learn tourism trends, hence identifying problems at either a regional, local level or how practitioners can mitigate such problems.

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Tourism socio-cultural effects have been perceived as being only negative by many people, but the reality is that, there are negative effects as well as positive effects. In general, any contact between the visitors and the local communities, automatically results to social cultural effects. According to my experience, this is very true, because, tourists have been influencing the behavior of Arizona communities. It is true that when some tourists are away from their country, they usually behave differently and adapt different attitudes. As a result, those individuals interacting with such tourists, might end up copying their attitudes and behaviors which they then influence the members of Arizonan population. This ends up producing what is referred to as ‘indirect cascade effects. It is true that’. As a result, tourism might lead to changes in human values, traditions & beliefs, lifestyles, behavior patterns, dressing codes, time management, as well as attitudes towards visitors.

According to me, though tourism has been blamed on affecting the above named parameters negatively, but the reality is, there are some parameters which have been affected positively. For instance, though many has blamed the issue of changing dress codes among young people on tourism, but the reality is, this effects is majorly as a result of celebrities in the region. Most young people like associating with celebrities, so they have ended up copying their behaviors. So, this should not be blamed on tourism alone. In addition, though tourism has led to culture change, but this should not be seen as a negative effect; because, the best culture should accept change, provided that it has retained the capability of determining the appropriateness of this change (Craig 34).

On the issue of environmental effects, I concur with Ashworth Ronald that, since tourism has brought economic productivity in Arizona, there has been an increase in population due to availability of employment opportunities. This has exerted lots of pressure on Arizona’s environment. For instance, there has been an increase in improper disposal of litter as well as construction of tourism developments which have reduced the aestheticism of Arizona. However, Ashworth45 does not recognize positive effects of tourism like wildlife conservation among others.

In there article, Blanca, Katy & Tazim 23 states that the Sun Francisco Peaks found in Arizona are considered as being very sacred to more than 13 nations and a home of many plants, pure water as well as soils. Apart from being used by the local communities, they are also used by some resorts in the region like the Arizona Snow-bowl Resort for snow skiers. This article outlines poorly addressed socio-culture in the events of sustainable tourism. The article outlines that though sustainable tourism conferences have outlined the environmental conservation issues, but they have not addressed equitable distribution of environmental costs and benefits accrued from tourism in Arizona.

This article is very resourceful to practitioners in this industry of tourism as well as policy makers as it discusses the environmental justice associated with sustainable tourism. In addition, the article develops guidelines which practitioners can use in protecting or nurturing cultural relations between human beings and their environment. It also article also offers insights on the issue of ecotourism as well as management of protected areas (Floyd, Myron & Cyrus 76).

It is true that tourism has led to eco-cultural discrimination and eco-cultural racism as stated by Blanca, Katy & Tazim 26. The two have led to adverse effects on cultural relationships in communities. This is because, there are those communities particularly minorities, which have been excluded from using their natural resources due to tourism. As a result, this has created social classes because; there are some who have benefited a lot from the tourism activities as compared to others. In addition, tourism has resulted to increased racism in a manner that there are some minority and indigenous communities which have been excluded from conducting their traditional activities while others have been relocated just because of laws, policies, tourism initiatives among other things related to tourism. Though Blanca, Katy & Tazim 25 blames the increase in prostitution and crime around Arizona region on tourism, but I suggest that tourism is just one of the causes, but not entirely.

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Concerning environmental issues, Blanca, Katy & Tazim 26 and Ashworth 67 concurs that tourism activities in Arizona has led to greater utilization of natural resources like water due to higher population. In addition, tourism activities have lots of negative effects when it comes to issues water quality, air quality as well as noise levels. This is very true as increase tourism activities mean increased transportation, recreation facilities and other polluting activities. In general, Blanca, Katy & Tazim 32 assumes that tourism activities have only negative impacts on both in the environment as well as socio-culture. However, Blanca, Katy & Tazim 33) proposes the inclusion of environmental and socio-cultural framework in the management of tourism.

Floyd & Cyrus 59 highlight that, environmental effects as a result of tourism are in many parts of the world and most communities are trying to find a balanced situation. The increasing negative impacts of tourism development around Arizona have ended up fragmenting residents to their support as well as perception towards tourism. This article aimed at examining the perception of environmental effects of tourism on ‘protected areas’ conservation. This article is very helpful to practitioners. For instance, planners in tourism sector can use these parameters in the development of codes of conducts, certification and accreditation programs for sustainable tourism development. Policy makers can also base on the environmental effects listed in this article to come up with environmental protection policies.

As opposed to Blanca, Katy & Tazim 25 and Ashworth 67, Floyd & Cyrus 62, starts by highlighting the possible environmental benefits accrued as a result of tourism development. Floyd & Cyrus 59 states that tourism encourage productive lands that might not be conducive to agriculture and other activities, hence making such areas to remain covered by vegetations. In addition, tourism development leads to the creation of parks and nature reserves, leading to ecological preservation. As opposed to (Ashworth 45) who stated that, tourism leads to poor disposal measures, Floyd and Cyrus 64, states that since tourist like aesthetic places, there are possibilities that improved management will be provided by those encouraging tourism. As a result, awareness along with concerns of environment might increase since it is one way of attracting tourists.

Though they have stated positive environmental impacts of tourism development, but they also highlight some of the negative environmental impacts of tourism. They start by stating that, tourism development affects physical integrity negatively. For instance, using all terrain vehicles might end up eroding sand dunes, and construction of tourism centers in one way or the other detracts aesthetic values in the area. Since Arizona has been undergoing rapid development, (Floyd & Cyrus 60) agrees with (Ashworth 4) that overpopulation and development can permanently change the physical environment. Though they previously stated that improvement waste management system might be improved, but they concurs with the previous articles that high population can lead to erosions and pressure on sewage systems and infrastructure, hence increasing their wearing and damages.

Last but not least, Craig 770 states that, in case the Arizona tourist management is not going to make any efforts, there are high chances that the State wills at one time loss its natural resources apart from having experienced socio-cultural changes as a result of tourism. As a result, the state will end up losing visitors who have been coming to enjoy its culture as well as natural resource. This article is very useful to practitioners as it examines the effects of tourism development on the economy, physical infrastructure, natural environment as well as socio-cultural impacts on the population around the tourist destination. The article also provides an analysis of potential consequences on the tourism impacts which can be used by policy makers as well as tourism planners in coming up with sustainable tourism.

Craig 890 also highlights both socio-cultural and environmental effects of tourism on the local communities. He states that tourism can lead to the creation of both cultural and recreational facilities which can also be used by local communities as well as domestic as well as international tourists. This is very true as there are some sporting games like ice skidding which have been developed in Arizona by some resorts like the Arizona Snow-bowl Resort. However, such facilities are not being accessed by all local communities. Only the rich are accessing them. So, the poor are being discriminated from using some of their traditional resources, just as how Blanca, Katy & Tazim 26 stated. In addition, he adds that, “Tourism enhances local community esteem and provides the opportunity for greater understanding and communication among peoples of diverse backgrounds” (Craig (2009, 890), but what about the issue of racism in tourism? Some tourists have ended up enhancing the issue of racism by only associating with people from a particular background and color. This has ended up making other races feel inferior towards visitors of different backgrounds and color. So, when Craig 890 and Blanca, Katy & Tazim 23 claimed that it improves ways through people view each other, I hold a contrary opinion On the other hand, (Craig 900) concurs with (Ashworth 46) that tourism has the ability of changing the community lifestyle beyond acceptable levels in some communities. However, I tend to blame this issue of lifestyle not only on tourism, but also in the influence of celebrities.

Works Cited

Ashworth, Ronald. Barriers To Sustainable Coastal Development . London: CAB International. 1993. Print.

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Blanca, Camargo, Katy, Lane, & Tazim, Jamal. “Environmental Justice and Sustainable Tourism: The Missing Cultural Link”. The George Wright Forum. 21.2(2005): 23–33. Print.

Craig, Finney. “Recreation and Tourism Management”. Resort and Hotel Management. 250. 818 (2009): 677-3202.

Floyd, Myron & Cyrus, Johnson. “Coming to terms with environmental justice in outdoor recreation: A conceptual discussion with research implications”. Leisure Sciences 24(2002): 59–77. Print.

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StudyCorgi. "Arizona Tourism: Socio-Cultural and Environmental Impacts." December 7, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Arizona Tourism: Socio-Cultural and Environmental Impacts." December 7, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Arizona Tourism: Socio-Cultural and Environmental Impacts'. 7 December.

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