Events and Tourism: An Environmental Approach and Impact Assessment

By David, Lorant | Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends, July 2009 | Go to article overview

Events and Tourism: An Environmental Approach and Impact Assessment


David, Lorant, Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends


Environmental Impacts of Events

This paper considers the sustainable planning and developmental principles of events, mainly festivals. It examines the most important services of environment conscious events. The environmental impacts caused by festivals will be analyzed through example of Sziget Festival in Hungary. The aim is to provide a conceptual framework emergent from existing principles and guidance that will underpin the importance of sustainable event management.

Introduction

The event industry is fast becoming one of the most important sectors of the world economy, which can have both positive and negative effects on the surrounding environment and local communities. Controllable events can be a viable option only if the short and long term interests of the environment are taken into consideration. If conscious planning and development is not taken into account so sustainable event management development could take an undesirable turn (Puczko-Ratz 2002, 2005, Vargane 2005). Thus during the planning and development phases the application of a conscious event planning and development attitude is required.

Events have direct and indirect connections with the environment. From the moment of decision making about travelling, people make some kind of impact on the environment. Natural resources, such as physical factors can be grouped into two larger sets (Puczko-Ratz 2002, 2005):

* Natural environment, which contains traceable lifeless natural resources, the flora and fauna, as well as the landscape.

* Man-made environment, which contains everything that has been introduced or built in a given area by humans.

Environmental Impacts

When analyzing the relationship between events and its environment the literature differentiates between the following groups of physical environmental factors from the point of view of impacts made on them (on the basis of Mathieson-Wall 1982; Jenner-Smith 1991; Boers-Bosch 1994, Puczko-Ratz 2002, 2005):

* Impacts on the natural environment: air quality, geological factors, water quality, depletion of natural resources, flora and fauna

* Impacts on the man-made environment: buildings and visual impacts, changes in the land-use, infrastructure

* Impacts on the ecosystem

The psychical impacts--like other impacts on the environment--are complex: there can be local and global impacts, direct and indirect impacts, reversible and irreversible, favourable (positive) and unfavourable (negative) impacts. In the following section the most important environmental impacts of events will be summarised (Puczko-Ratz 2002, 2005; Michalko 2007):

Air quality

Events involve a number of air polluting exhaust gas and steam emitting activities such as road and air transport. Moreover, there are significant emissions at catering and accommodation establishments, as well as during events. Consequently an increase in C[O.sub.2] , CO and N[O.sub.2] and different Freon derivatives are emitted, which swell the greenhouse effect. Noise pollution, which may result from transportation, the hospitality industry or from the operation of entertainment facilities, also belongs to the impacts that influence air quality. The increase in facilities, participants and business in a given area, the more intense the air polluting impacts become.

Geological condition

One of the impacts on the geological environment made by events is littering. Aesthetically, non-removed rubbish makes an unpleasant sight. Moreover, decomposition of litter may release toxic material into the soil. Unfavourable geological impacts may be caused by heavy metals, which are released into the air by the ever-growing traffic and washed into the surrounding vegetation, flora and fauna. Additionally, untreated sewage leaks can affect not only the soil itself but also the subsurface and underground waters. …

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