The Student News Site of Henry M. Gunn High School

Con: Should students travel during the summer?

Travel might be a popular option for Gunn students during summer, however, there are many reasons why one should not do so—especially in 2022. Concerns relating to the pandemic, environment and economy should all be considered when planning to travel during the break. First, addressing the elephant in the room, COVID-19 rages on in many countries—especially those inEurope and Asia. Globally, currently there are 524 million active cases—a value increasing by 700,000 every week—according to Worldometer.

Because of this increase, many businesses in foreign countries are once again closing down, leading to a subpar traveling experience for tourists. Additionally, a study by the government of Wales found that tourism has detrimental effects on local ecosystems. Tourism puts immense strain on local land and water usage as it increases the amount of people in a given area. This strain may cause soil erosion and can lead to the destruction of a highly touristic area’s natural habitat.

Tourism not only has a pernicious effect on the local habitat, but also has extensive effects on the global ecosystem as a whole. One specific contributor to the destruction of the global ecosystem relates to one’s carbon footprint. Simply put, a carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by an individual or a group of individuals. Traveling increases one’s carbon footprint drastically as it is often a wasteful use of natural resources. Flying, driving or even leaving the air conditioning on in a hotel room all contribute to one’s carbon footprint. According to the website Carbonindependent.org, a Boeing 737-400 model plane emits 90 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions every hour. Overall, aviation leads to 3% of the global carbon emissions, but less than 5% of the population accounts for more than 70% of those emissions. Not only that, but according to the website Skift Research, tourism contributed to more than 11% of the total global carbon emissions in 2019.
Thus, the most effective way to solve this problem would be to travel less.

In terms of the economics of tourism, many argue that tourists help local economies, but most of the time they actually hinder it. This argument is based on the premise that the money from tourists goes directly to local businesses. In reality, however, many tourists reside in big hotel corporations that actually pull money out of the local economy. In this case, the money from tourists helps these large businesses headquartered elsewhere. As the number of visitors increase, the prices for goods and services for both tourists and local residents increase. Tourism also leads to a decline in traditional employment in a local community as workers move from “traditional” industries, such as farming, mining, and fishing, to the tourism industry. Because of rising COVID-19 cases and tourism being detrimental to both the environment and the economy of touristic areas, one should think twice before planning a trip this summer.

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