Beach Carrying Capacity Analysis for Sustainable Tourism Development in the South West Coast of India
The rapid growth of coastal tourism that has been seen in the last 10 years is frequently described as one of the major reasons for the development of these areas and also is responsible for many current coastal problems. The beaches perform, in this context, a fundamental role, where the issues related to planning and management are increasingly more important when it comes to an implementation of a sustainable development philosophy. In Kerala, where coastal tourism plays a major part of the state’s economy, the management of beaches is crucial for maintaining their quality and therefore continuing to attract tourists. Since the 1990s, with the application of Coastal Zone Management Plans to the whole Kerala coast, beach plans are now required. The concept of capacity has received considerable attention as a result of increasing anthropogenic pressure in certain natural environments. Much consideration has recently been given to an increase in coastal population, with the implication that the carrying capacity of the world’s coast is finite, and such consideration forms part of several coastal management initiatives. Tourism is the world’s largest industry, which accounts for more than 10% of total employment, 11% of global GDP, and total tourist trips are predicted to increase to 1.6 billion by 2020. The ecosystems, typically stressed by development activity along the Indian coastal areas, are particularly vulnerable to socio-economic driving forces. The planning and management of coastal tourism can be improved through more careful understanding of social and ecological systems and their linkages, with a view to ensure a development that lasts, not only for tourism but also for the host destination. The present study gives a comprehensive idea on both sustainability of coastal areas and a prerequisite for the carrying capacity based development in tourism destinations.