Bursting Surf Travel's Bubble
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The sport of surfing is not excluded from issues that threaten its future existence in several places in the world. Although the oceans waves as an environmental resource will prevail in all times, the coastal areas of the world are under increased pressure. The way surf tourism has developed around several surf breaks presents a great case for how these unsustainable processes take shape. Especially in developing countries surfers have pioneered tourism developments in remote coastal areas with little infrastructure available. The availability of perfect waves, favorable climates, low prices and cheap lands have attracted entrepreneurs to these areas. In the process of marketing the new destination and increasing tourism infrastructure, the local communities who often live subsistence lifestyles are frequently ignored in decision making. Development occurs quite ad hoc, as it often does not take into account social and environmental capacities or waste management systems before new tourism amenities are built. In this sense surf tourism development can become a threat to its own survival. As unawareness to the needs of native residents generates conflict between locals and foreigners, unregulated growth creates over-exploitation of natural resources and possibly induces pollution, crime, drugs and prostitution. It also degrades the area that tourists come to visit and affects the residents that have, in the first place, settled for the economic opportunities and the tourist site’s pristine environment...