Is tourism to be seen only as a good source of income?
“Come to Morocco to play golf in the desert!”
The income of tourism, is indeed good source of income, but…
Tourism is the second strongest economic sector in Morocco, and it is indeed very well developed. However, the huge waste and consumption of water by tourists and touristic activities are becoming a problem for the whole country. In fact, the tourism, mainly focused in the desertic regions of the country, is exhausting water resources. As a matter of fact, in the summer and during the peak of tourism, the water resources and acquifers are over stressed and put under huge pressure, making them cantier.
Extra comfort touristic activities and attractions, such as golf courses, swimming pools, and aquatic centers are basic requirements of the hotels that European and American tourists usually choose in these countries. However, these comfort are some of the top consumers of water in the country.
Morocco, with an individual consumption of less than 1000 m3, is considered to be a poor country, as far as water resources is concerned. And according to the World Bank, the situation is going to be worse by 2050.
Playing golf in the desert…
A study called “Water and Tourism” conducted in the framework of MEDSTAT II programme, explores the issue of water use by tourism in some desertic countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, and some other regional countries.
Among its conclusions, this study underlined that golf courses seem to be consuming huge amounts of water in Morocco. An 18-hole golf course, for instance, consumes alone 3500 m3 of water a day, compared to the individual consumption of less than 1000 m3 a day. It is worth noting that Morocco, compared to the other countries concerned by the study, has the largest number of golf courses (17), compared to 9 in Tunisia and 1 in Jordan. Another fact is that water consumption in luxury hotels in Morocco is particularly high, according to international norms. Most of these hotels and resorts consume water from private water wells that are not necessarily subject to tariffs or control.
It is for this reasons that I believe that it is indeed important, as Johan Knols said in his post, to advertize the beauty of Africa in supporting the tourism, but an eco-friendly tourism, or at least a responsible kind of tourism.
For more info:
Impacts of Tourism Development on Water Demand and Beach Degradation on the Island of Mallorca (Spain), Celso Garcia and Jaume Servera, Geografiska Annaler. Series A, Physical Geography, Vol. 85, No. 3/4, Papers Presented: International Symposium on Land Degradation and Desertification (2003), pp. 287-300