CASE STUDIES

Tourism – Uluru, Australia and The Galapagos Islands

Tourism – Uluru, Australia and The Galapagos Islands

Uluru

Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) in Australia is one of the most famous sites in the world. This huge red rock, visible for many miles, is located right at the centre of this vast continent and each year millions of people come to see the rock. Their custom generates millions of Australian dollars for the local community.

However the influx of visitors is not welcomed by everyone. For the local Aboriginal community Uluru is a sacred site and should be treated with respect. They ask that visitors do not climb the rock, but many visitors ignore them. This has its own dangers: higher up it can be windy as well as very hot and sometimes people are blown to their deaths from the rock.

It has now been proposed that tourists only visit the rock at certain times; that climbing the rock be banned, and that tourists refrain from taking photographs of certain parts of the rock. Uluru is now listed as a World Heritage Site, and attracts over 400,000 visitors a year, each of whom pays an admittance fee. Some of the money goes towards maintaining the lifestyle of Uluru’s traditional owners, the Mutitjulu community.

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The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands were made famous when Charles Darwin visited them as part of his study of evolution. Although far from most major population centres the islands are popular with people who wish to see its varied and unique wildlife

and walk and swim in areas of great beauty.

Although tourists are welcome to visit the islands, there are a number of strict rules which are enforced to ensure they do not spoil things for future generations:

  • They can only visit on small ships of 10 to 16 tourists, most of which are owned by local people.
  • The tourists can only visit a limited number of places on the Islands, thus protecting the rest of the Islands.
  • Tourists are only allowed to visit in small numbers.
  • Visitors also receive information on how to conserve the Islands prior to their arrival there.
  • They also have to pay a £25 fee to promote conservation on the Islands.

However, some degradation is still taking place: the waters around the islands are polluted by leaking oil, and the limited water supply is put under pressure. Despite this, the tourists do generate money for the local economy so for many locals their visits are generally welcome.