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The effect of tourism in the French Alps.

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Introduction In this piece of coursework I will be focusing on the effect of tourism in the French Alps, in particular the area in and around Notre-Dame de Bellecombe. I will be looking at the benefits and adverse effects of tourism, such as the profit made by tourism, house prices, the environmental damages, and the damage to the agricultural industry. In addition, I will be looking at the new structures that have had to been built to accommodate the new amount of tourists, such as dams, trains, chair lifts and new resorts. The question I will be asking is there a place in the French Alps for huge amounts of tourists and will they ruin such a fragile environment. The data was gathered on a Geography Field trip with Bristol Cathedral School on the first week of August 2003. The data was collect by the GCSE group by using a questionnaire, it was then set out by a member of staff. The main area's I will be looking at in this coursework are Notre-Dame de Bellecombe, Chamonix, Les Saisies, Annecy, and Beaufort-sur-Doron (see map on next page for a general map to the area). In addition, a 'honeypot' Gorges du fier located near Annecy. In each of these places, I will see if tourism has been a benefit or had an adverse effect. In addition, I will see what the area has done to compensate the volume of tourist's; for example new car parks, toilets and commercial area's. I will also see if there is a pattern to these new resorts like there is with a seaside resort. Below there is a map of the area we visited with the marked location of where we were based and the areas visited. The Effect of the Increase of Tourism on the French Town of Chamonix Chamonix is the main town at the base of Mt. ...read more.


In addition, Annecy host markets to draw in both locals and interested tourists. There are less gift shops than in Chamonix because it has not been effected by tourism. This maybe because the locals do not want to change from their lifestyle. The stalls have meat, cheese, or olives for sale, which is all local produce. The Effect Of Tourism on The French Town of Les Saisies Les Saisies is a very new ski resort that has been built in the French Alps near to Beaufort. This resort is completely dependant on the tourists industry, more so than both Chamonix and Annecy. The reason for this is that Chamonix and Annecy are in the valleys and so if necessary resort back to their original industry of farming. However, Les Saisies is at the top of a mountain and so it would be near impossible to grow anything. In addition, Les Saisies has nearly no local residents. The reason for this is that the chalets are rented, or they are holiday homes. Therefore, the place is very much emptier in the summer than the winter. In an effort to stop Les Saisies becoming a ghost town in summer, various activities are available. Some of these are pony trekking, miniature golf, and various children based rides. There is also a small lake, which in summer, can be used for swimming, and in winter, ice-skating. Nevertheless, Les Saisies has caused various environmental problems for the Alps. The fast building of new chalets and more and more ski runs have had a bad effect on the landscape. The new wave of concrete has created the problem of fast surface run-off, which could cause a flash flood in the valley below. In addition, the ski slopes are destroying and eroding the soil. This means in summer the grass struggles to grow and so the slope seems bare, and causes sight pollution on the natural landscape. ...read more.


Maybe car types could have been recorded or simply a better recording of the number of cars. My results have shown me that the traffic and pedestrian levels in the French Alps is very high, considering that the towns are so small. From this data, I can see that too much pollution is being given off into the mountains, which will have damaging effects. This may cause big problems in the future. Evaluation The effect of tourism on Chamonix, Les Saisies, Beaufort, Annecy in the French Alps is damaging. However, I still cannot answer if it is too damaging or if it is out of control. Nevertheless, the effects of the ski slopes, chalets, and other concrete structures has to be harmful to the environment. I believe that the French Alps has suffered from the effects of tourism. We can see this in more than several occasions, such as Annecy's lake, ski slopes, trails, Mer de Glace, and Beaufort's agricultural industry. However, despite these effects the Alps remain beautiful and on the surface are still a place of beauty. I do think that there is a problem but it is not as big as it is shown to be. We can see this with Beaufort as it adapted to make money from tourism. Although, this maybe the case, actions may have to be taken to make sure the Alps do not become ruined. If they did, I do not think that could ever be salvaged like Annecy's lake. I believe this has been realised by some authorities, however, the main problem with the effects is that cannot be decided by one country alone as the Alps are split up into several countries. This maybe the reason why tourism in the long term may ruin the Alps. The study that I have done maybe useful as a guide to other students investigating a similar subject. It could be used for traffic surveys, as I believe I have been accurate and precise with the details. This may help give a better picture of pollution given off into the Alps. ...read more.

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