Is tourism good or bad
Lush tropical trees, pristine white sand beaches, people languishing under the warm tropical sun and taking a dive in the deep blue cold water, the perfection in God’s creation is difficult for anyone not to appreciate. After all, one would definitely be hard pressed to find anyone who does not enjoy being in a tropical paradise or even seeing sights and sounds that are unique and intriguing. This is the lure of tourism. The chance to live, breathe and feel alive in another place without nary a worry in the world.
The impact of tourism on developing countries has been debated in several academic circles for a while now because of the different effects that have surfaced in different economic models. In most countries, tourism has had a positive impact, contributing to economic growth and providing jobs. In other countries, however, the effect has been different, leading to a deterioration of societal values and ethics that eventually leads to socio-economic crisis. This brief discourse shall attempt to shed more light on this issue by discussing the impact of tourism on developing countries and showing how the detrimental effects can be avoided through the creation of a sustainable tourism program.
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Countries and cities all over the world are all lobbying to increase tourism into their countries for the simple reason that it is profitable. With all the tourists coming, there is also a lot of money that enters. Previously isolated and poverty stricken areas are now booming tourist sites. Where the local villagers had to run miles to deliver messages, cellular phones have begun to appear and wireless internet connections have become available. It is not difficult to see that with tourism comes economic progress. Yet, the question that must always be asked is, “At what cost?”
Tourism, undeniably, is an economic boon for all countries, most especially developing countries that do not have the means to take advantage of their natural resources and raw materials. The untouched and unblemished beaches that their destinations have to offer are a beacon to tourists all over the world, particularly those from Europe. There is a trade off for all of this, however, and in return for the dollars and Euros that are spent a mark is left on the previously unexploited landscape.
As several reports from the Overseas Development Institute reveal, the net impact of tourism in developing countries is that it leads to exploitation of the local environment, people and culture. The reason for this is because most of these developing countries are not able to create programs that encourage Sustainable Tourism. In their haste to capitalize on the newfound wealth, these countries neglect the preservation and protection of their natural sites. The influx of tourists oftentimes becomes too numerous to handle that it creates an ecological imbalance.
Another important fact that must be discussed in reference to the impact of tourism on developing countries is the cultural aspect. As more and more tourists arrive, they invariably bring with them their own practices and oftentimes several people choose to relocate to these tourist destinations in developing countries. This is problematic because it upsets the local balance and also brings in the wrong types of elements. On certain tropical islands, prostitution has become a problem because of the influx of tourism and w.ith this comes organized crime.
However, if these countries are willing to repatriate a portion of the profits that tourism provides they would be able to encourage Sustainable Tourism. As the Pro-Poor Tourism model shows, it is possible to have international tourism and also protect the environment and the culture. The African model has also shown that in certain places in Africa tourism has improved the lives of several of the villagers and also brought about peace in the area. Reinvesting in environmental protection and cultural preservation remains to be the key to having Sustainable Tourism that will eventually act as a boon for developing countries.
As the UN reports, the development of ecotourism is also essential in preventing the harmful effects of tourism growth in developing countries. The vast natural resources and natural land attractions of developing countries, not to mention the rich and unique flora and fauna that abound in the national parks, make them an ideal place for ecotourism. Backpacking can became a major source of revenue for the local tourist destinations. Because ecotourism promotes the overall growth of the community, long term benefits are provided to the local populace to achieve what is known as “sustainable tourism”. This also allowed for the preservation of the local cultures that make these developing countries a unique and enjoyable tourist experience.
Tourism is essential to the growth of developing economies. While there are indeed questionable effects and socio-economic implications, as well as environmental damage, these effects can be remedied by encouraging sustainable and responsible tourism. The growth of domestic and international tourism promises to encourage the growth in local infrastructure and promises to make travel easier and also aids in the growth of several manufacturing and household industries.
As such, the next step for the tourism industry for many of these developing countries remains to be the continued development of the ecotourism sector which will ensure the sustainability of the local tourism industry. To remain competitive in the tourism industry and sustain its outstanding growth and development, these developing countries needs to be able to preserve its natural resources and continue to develop the natural sites which remain popular tourist destinations.