What are the main problems facing international travelers


Norbert Suchanek

To person

born 1963, freelance journalist and book author.

Address: Organic news, Regensburger Str. 34,
D-94036 Passau
e-mail: [email protected]

Publications including: Fully booked - Tourism Curse of Civilization, Stuttgart 2000; Contribution to nature tourism in: Voyage, yearbook for travel and tourism research, Cologne 2001; Wilderness Myth, Stuttgart 2001.

On the ecological, economic and social risks of international tourism

Tourism is increasing steadily. Today there is hardly a region that is not a tourist destination. Cross-border tourism is now considered the most important export industry in the world.


Tourism is not a new phenomenon of our time. People have been traveling for thousands of years. Yet there are crucial differences between modern tourism and yesterday's travel. On the one hand, more and more people are traveling faster, more often and further and further. On the other hand, the travelers of past centuries did not book their vacation with TUI, Neckermann or Rewe.

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  • Modern tourism is a "big business" that is determined by a few large corporations. According to data from the World Monetary Fund (IMF), international tourism, with revenues of 504 billion US dollars, replaced the automotive industry as the world's largest export industry as early as 1998. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the international travel business is "only the tip of an iceberg". In addition to the approximately 700 million cross-border travelers annually, there would be another 2.3 billion tourists who go on vacation in their own country. The WTO therefore estimates the total global income of the tourism industry at 1.7 trillion US dollars annually. [1]

    Although the tourism companies - above all TUI (Preussag), meanwhile the largest travel group in the world - have been getting "greener" on paper since the nineties and using terms such as "ecotourism" or "environmentally friendly" and "gentle tourism" to advertise in reality hardly anything along these lines. Parallel to the inflation of lip service, three tourism trends that are dangerous for the environment and the social and economic situation in developing countries are on the rise.