Case Study: Snowdonia

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Case Study: Snowdonia

This Case Study really highlights the positives and negatives of tourism, how management can accentuate either of these and how your opinion will be very important during the exams.

Snowdonia is one of the UK's national parks designed to protect areas of the countryside whilst allowing access for recreation. They are primarily owned by private landowner such as farmer and the forestry commission but provide access to the public. Snowdonia includes coastal and mountain landscapes including Snowdon, Wales and England highest mountain.


The table shows the good and bad effects of tourism in Snowdonia. You need to think about your stance on several issues:

Should locals expect to be able to live in their village just because they were born there? Or, should everybody be given the chance to live in these places?

Is a bit of footpath erosion, flora loss, traffic congestion a small price to pay for the happiness and pleasure of millions?

Who decides when the level of destruction is too much?

Should locals tolerate a little inconvenience because they are getting jobs?

Good: Bad:
Economic Jobs - tourism in the Snowdonia area provides the local population with a significant number of jobs directly and indirectly. This is particularly important at the moment as the farming industry is facing one of its worse ever recessions and hill farmers are amongst the worst hit. By diversifying the farmers can generate an alternative source of income, i.e. B+B, campsites, open farms. House prices can be driven above the means of the locals by the demand for second homes/ holiday homes. This leaves the locals disgruntled and often with no option but to leave their home village/ town. This is bad for the economy of the area as those forced to move are often the youngest and the potential earners of tomorrow. This point could also be classified under culture/ society as migration is forcing the dilution of cultures.
Jobs can also be found working for the national parks themselves and these often incorporate training opportunities. Dogs are a frequent problem as they worry livestock and the litter left can often injure animals.
A large percentage of the community could potentially benefit directly or indirectly from tourism. Tourism in the UK is very seasonal - what happens in the winter months?
Environmental Visiting different environments raises awareness of that environment and the unique and delicate nature of its flora and fauna. In Snowdonia information boards are used to raise the awareness of visitors. For example, walkers are damaging rare arctic alpine plant communities inadvertently. Hopefully information boards will highlight these problems and walkers will act accordingly. Footpath erosion is a major problem on Snowdon. About 1 million people walk on the mountain every year with more than a third of those reaching the summit. What the walker's boots start heavy rainfall can finish, as footpaths become streams and gullies washing soil off. As walkers stray from paths to find easier routes the problem spreads.
Greater environmental awareness will hopefully lead to greater environmental respect both locally and globally. Leaving the marked footpaths can also inadvertently damage local flora such as the rare arctic alpine communities.
There are also problems with traffic congestion in the summer months particularly around popular spots. This can also lead to economic conflict as locals are prevented from do their jobs.
Culture and society By providing jobs you are reducing migration so helping to preserve traditional rural societies. It should be noted however that the increase in house prices can counteract this effect. Dilution of culture as house prices force local to leave.
As with more distant travel it is often good for different cultures to meet to break down racist stereotyping. The traditional farming communities are being lost as farmers look to tourism for an income.

Management solutions

You may be asked to discuss possible ways of minimising the problems. Try and think of advantages and disadvantages for the following options:

  • Open up new paths to the public and close those in most need of repair.
  • Provide more information boards.
  • Invest money in too conservation - possibly the profits from the car parks.
  • Fence of delicate areas.
  • Promote certain areas but not others to try and limit the damage.
  • Limit the numbers of people allowed in the park as they do in New Zealand.
  • Subsidies locals with their house purchases.

Remember: you have an opinion and the examiner wants to hear it! You must support your opinion with rational argument and Case Study knowledge.

As you obviously have access to the Internet, it is worth conducting searches on each of these case studies to gain a wider understanding of the issues involved.