On Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, the Keystone XL pipeline bill was defeated by a narrow margin. This is a victory for now but it won’t stop the oil industry from funneling millions of dollars in support of legislation that allows fracking and pollution to destroy the land, air and water.
What is the tourism industry doing to block legislation that promotes the destruction of the environment? Not much on a large scale. There has been some efforts by the National Parks Conservation Association to protect public lands from fracking, but we know that it takes big money to influence legislation, and it also doesn’t help that some environmental groups gave almost a million dollars in support of Keystone XL. In addition, various oil companies spend a lot more than a million dollars to influence legislation in their favor.
What does this have to do with tourism? To put it in business terms, the environment is the tourism industry’s “product.” Let’s take the product of the Gulf of Mexico, for example. Wildlife Tourism in the Gulf of Mexico generates $19.4 billion in spending— and that’s just wildlife tourism, then one would assume the tourism industry would want to protect its investment. It is for this reason that I wish there was a large scale effort on behalf of the tourism industry to combat every single legislation that is a threat to the environment.
I don’t personally view the environment as a “tourism product”, except within the context of this article. From a business perspective, it’s insane to let national wonders such as Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park, or the entire Gulf of Mexico to be destroyed by the effects of fracking or other environmentally destructive policies.
How many people are going to want to visit the Florida beaches if the water is contaminated from fracking? I don’t think people will want to wear gas masks on the beach.
Yes, there are many organizations that do excellent work to preserve protected places which benefits the tourism industry. However, I have yet to see a large scale effort on behalf of the tourism industry to protect its “product”– the environment.