Effectof Tourism on Society
Overthe last two decades, tourism has gained momentum and in 2015 tourismrevenues reached over $2000 billion. As compared to other industrieslike the manufacturing sector, it can be argued that the tourismindustry has a higher capacity to enhance the distribution of wealthand promotion of a country’s development. At the same time, thetourism sector is said to offer a higher multiplier effect andguarantee a higher generation of consumption rates. However,according to Archer (704), there are a series of negative effectsassociated with the development of tourism activities in an economy.The research paper focuses on the presentation of a series ofnegative and positive impact of tourism in the society. In order tohave a clear analysis of the impact of tourism it is prudent toclassify the effects into three segments: economic, socio-culturaland environmental effects. Tourism correlates to both natural andmanmade activities. Natural activities include the freely availableresources like landscapes, flora and fauna, and the climate. Themanmade activities include social and cultural beliefs of the peopleand the economic related factors. A clear distinction between the twoenvironments is crucial in the research paper as it aids thehighlight and discussion of the impact of tourism to the society.
EconomicImpact of Tourism
Inhis research Archer (705) argues that studies conducted in the pastthree decades mainly focused on the economic impact of tourism. Theresearcher goes further to portends that the singular researchperspective was catalyzed by the easier quantification of economicgrowth and the fact that there was optimism regarding to the impactof tourism in economic development (707). There is no doubt thattourism has immensely impacted economic growth in the society.Employment opportunities, per capita and the gross domestic producthave immensely grown economies that rely on tourism. However, it isimportant to point out that tourism is mainly reliant on naturallyoccurring resources that are unique and freely accessible. Thus, itis easier to cloud the negative economic consequences that arise fromincreased tourist activities. As much as it may seem that thebenefits overshadow the costs, it is essential to clarify that thereare a number of negative implications of tourism in the society.There are three perspectives that can be used to illuminate theeconomic impact of tourism: tourists, local community and thegovernment. While the tourists pay to view the available resources inan economy, the local community benefits from the payments and thegovernment taxes the payments to boost the overall economy. However,the community must contend with negative implications of tourism atthe end of the day. This means that the community is most prone amongthe three stakeholders. A fourth perspective can be introduced tohelp illustrate the impact of tourism in the society: investors.Unlike the community that must bear the burden, investors are onlyinterested with the financial gains that accrue from tourism. Gosar(339) argues that investors tend to exhibit high levels of immunitywhen it comes to the costs of tourism.
Tourismis a major booster to economic growth in countries with limitedgrowth opportunities. In such countries fishing and farming are themain income generating activities and it is worthwhile to complementthe activities with tourism. People from such economies spur economicdevelopment through farming, fishing and tourism. At the same time,focusing on tourism paves way for growth in agricultural developmentas such countries are able to develop their transport systems(Seetanah 291-308). The introduction of the tourism activities in aneconomy with limited opportunities may lead to a greater impact onthe wellbeing of the people in the society. However, tourism is oftenconfined to certain areas that include the coastal regions and partsof a country with game reserves or national parks. The implicationsto people living around such tourist sites is that they have accessto better jobs and incentives as opposed to people living in therural areas. Improper distribution of resources will lead tohostility between people living in the rural areas and those in thecoastal towns where tourism has a huge impact. Wells (65) depictsthat in order for the people to enjoy equitable distribution ofresources it is important for local governments to institute properplanning and development.
Enhancedtransport systems in tourism dependent nations are indivisible in thesense that they can be used by farmers and business people in thedistribution of their products and services. Thus, based on thispremise it can be argued that tourism is an essential factor inenhancing social well being (Wells 64-65). The fact that a marketexist it does not guarantee that there is development in the longrun. Thus, tourism does not guarantee that there will be a positiveeconomic change in the society. From a superficial level tourism canbe said to have a positive impact in the society, however, this maynot be true because of the increased issues of terrorism andhuman-animal conflicts. Su (2723-2726) postulates that there is noguarantee that tourism leads to economic development because tourismrelated activities tend to benefit only a few of the people in thesociety. While investors reap millions of dollars from tourismrelated activities, the poor are only used as tools based on the lowwages and poor working conditions. It is within this premise that theresearchers points out that local governments should be in the forefront in ensuring that even the poor benefit from increased tourismactivities (Wearing 616-618).
Ruralareas tend to face the highest discrimination in relation to coastalareas which are the primary focus for tourists. Rural regions aresynonymous with less educated people, poor resource distribution andfailed infrastructure. The combination of the factors immenselyimpacts the performance of the people in terms of investments andaccess to opportunities. Thus, from their perspective it isworthwhile to depict that tourism has no impact in their development.Tourism creates employment, however, tourism based jobs are seasonalwith low wages and limited opportunities. As compared to otherindustries like the manufacturing sector, tourism requires employeeswith limited specializations and this explains the low wages in thesector (Jee, Kim and Lee 3777-3784). The economic priority of thesociety is to maximize on revenues while reducing the incurred costs.
Thereis a strong relationship between tourism and the interaction ofcultures, behaviors and values of people (Das and Dirienzo 285). Whentourists visit a new geographical region they experience new culturesand traditions. At the same time, they expose the communities theyvisit to their own cultures and values. In fact, some coastal townshave developed due to cultural integration which is evidenced by thebuildings built, the songs played and the meals served in the region(297). Tourism is considered as a framework through which touristsand the hosts can learn through each other owing to directinteractions. Further, tourism requires host communities to exhibithigh levels of responsiveness and learn to provide quality servicesin a bid to foster a healthy relationship. Similarly, interactionsbetween tourists and the local communities lead to the generation ofnew ideas and values (Doran and Larsen 1023). At the same time, theinteractions enhance motivations for both economic and socialprogress. Moreover, tourism can revitalize the cultural life of thelocal community and it is within the premise of the interactions thatart and traditions are shared. According to Doxley, the attitude ofthe local communities crosses four major stages: euphoria, apathy,discomfort, and antagonism (1032).
Theeuphoria stage denotes an instance where tourists are freely allowedto access and view community resources without any specific form ofplanning and control. In the apathy stage the tourists are consideredby a community and the relationship between the two parties becomesformal and commercial. Discomfort stage explains the level wheresaturation is reached and the community starts to change itsattitudes towards the tourists. In this stage it is crucial fordecision makers to establish reliable infrastructure instead oflimiting growth. The fourth stage is the antagonism stage in whichthe locals tend to exhibit irritation towards the tourists and theentire tourism activities. The local authorities should remedy theissues exhibited in this stage by increasing promotional processes.The promotions will be instituted to clean community images. Further,there is a link between culture and tourism. Webster argues thatconsumerism forms a large segment of tourism in the society. Theresearcher defines consumerism as an instance where there is anincrease in demand and consumption of products and services (Websterand Ivanov 137-140). In their research Simpson et al. (253)illustrate that consumerism has a huge implication to the society andthis is true when it comes to the issue of products and servicesproduction and delivery in the market (Simpson and Bretherton235-246).
Lyonset al. (319-326) argue that consumerism leads to the destruction ofculture and impacts the society and the environment. The authors gofurther to depict that consumerism leads to traffic congestion andlong queues at tourist attraction sites. For example, the invasion ofthe San Marco Basilica tourist attraction site led to the damage ofthe frescoes due to condensations originating from the breath oftourists visiting the sites. Another example is the case of MasaiMara in Kenya which is one of the leading game reserves. Touristsvisiting the game reserve often drive off the designated paths intograzing fields and this has led to massive destruction of the oncegreen fields. Globalization has also been associated with negativesocio-cultural impact on the local communities, indigenous values,traditions and lifestyles. According to Su (2276) cities in the worldare not authentic, but instead they are disinfected and Mcdonaldized.The researcher goes further to argue that diversity gives way toefficiency, growth of the global culture and the development of thelocal culture. Through tourism activities a small village that maynot be known can leverage on the existing beautiful scenery, lack ofcongestion and tranquility to spur its growth (Momeni). Unfortunatelythe exposure of rural towns to tourism activities leads to erosion ofthe local traditions and values. The existing cultures are replacedby foreign cultures. Further, land in the rural areas is majorlyowned and purchased by the rich who in turn endeavor to transform theareas into shopping centers. The end implication is that the initialresources that attracted tourists are gradually replaced and erodedby tourist development.
Todayfishermen work in supermarkets while tourists experiencing fishing onauthentic boats. The situation has led to rapture in the initialstructure of events. Contributing to an overhaul of the events is thegrowing number of tourists expected in an economy annually and theadoption of new technology. Moreover the need for an authentic andreliable system has tarnished the traditions of communities. Forexample, the Keechak dance associated to the Hindu community in Baliwas shortened in a bid to be performed for foreign tourists. From atheoretical perspective there may be a feeling of being cheated fromthe tourists. However, the criticisms may not suffice as one needs aclear understanding of the cultural background or the localperspective to come to a conclusion. Large stores and shoppingcenters in urban areas can be depicted as a response to consumerism.Spaces in rural and urban areas have been converted into touristattraction sites (Das and Dirienzo 283).
Theimpact of the conversion is that the local community is deprived ofthe limited resources. In these controlled environments there is noroom for poverty, begging and other activities that may be termed asa bother to the tourists. The end result is that the local communityis shoved aside and not likely to benefit from the proceeds collectedin the end of the day. According to Oh and Kim (665-670), tourismcannot be fully blamed for the loss of cultural identity in themodern globalized society. The research portends that globalizationor McDonalidisation may not be caused by tourism. The role oftechnology in harnessing a paradigm shift in cultural beliefs andvalues cannot be forfeited. However, the researchers agree thattourism has immensely led to the transformation of the society. Ascompared to the past century, the coastal towns and rural areas didnot register high levels of immoral issues like prostitution, childtrafficking, drug use and crime issues that have cropped up due toincreased tourism activities (Shackley 133-141).
Ascompared to the economic perspective, environment impact is the mostevident and has become a major theme in a wide range of studiesconducted between the 90s and the present period. In order toaccurately argue that tourism has an impact on the environment it isprudent to consider the large number of actors involved in thetourism activities. The main players in the industry include thelocal authorities, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations,the local communities and the tourists the common denominator of theparties involved is that they are all human beings (Okazaki, Andreuand Campo 10). Thus, when illustrating the relationship betweentourism and environmental depletion or conservation it is prudent toillustrate that the interaction between the two can also be depictedas an interaction between natural resources and the people. Further,in order to evaluate the impact of tourism on the environment it isimportant to consider the price attached to nature, the culturalfactors, and the ethical relationship of the people. The environmentis the fundamental factor in the experience of the tourists. The mainaim of tourists is to get attractive natural resources and experienceunique cultures and practices. Unfortunately, the development oftourism leads to creation of wastes and to some degree requiresmassive construction of infrastructure that can lead to degradationof the environment.
Pabeland Pearce (357-364) claim that the relationship between theenvironment and tourism has crossed four major stages: coexistence,conflict, idealism and realism. Coexistence denotes a stage wheretourism activities are said to have minimal impact on theenvironment. at the conflict stage there is mass tourism anddestruction of the environment. The idealism stage connotes aninstance where there is mutual coexistence or symbiosis by thedevelopment of green tourism programs. The last stage is the realismstage where different techniques are employed in the development ofboth the tourism activities and environmental protection (Semin340-349). At this stage there is a need to strike a balance betweenthe needs of the tourists and the locals as well as the environment.it is very difficult to point out with certainty that the environmenttourism has an impact on the environment because:
There is no clarity on the role of tourism on environmental degradation
Visibility on the impact of tourism on the environment is questionable
There is lack of a measuring yardstick on the direct and indirect impact of tourism on the environment.
Ragavan,Subramonian and Sharif (403-411) hold that tourism has a positiveimpact on the environment. the authors argue that tourism has led tothe development of conservations and protection of natural resourcesthrough the establishment of national parks and game reserves.Further tourism is said to have a huge appreciation of nature andthis explains why tourists flood various designated tourist locationsaround an economy. There is a direct link between tourism andenvironmental protection and tourism is viewed as a betteralternative to the manufacturing industries when it comes toenvironmental protection. However, Sebele (136-146) argues thattourism has led to emergence of negative effects to the environment.Tourism is said to impose pressure on the limited resources in aneconomy. High tension on the resources owing to the large number oftourists leads to environmental degradation. The high pressure can bemeasured in terms of the number of tourists relative to the maximumcapacity of the environment, large number of luxury centers andnumerous parks. Some of the major impacts of tourism on theenvironment include:
Disruption of the flora and fauna
Soil erosion and degradation
Exhaustion of the existing resources
Thereis no doubt that the impact of tourism on the environment is massiveespecially when not addressed before they escalate. Unfortunately thepeople who bear the costs are the local people. Environmentaldegradation is only felt after a period of time.
Tourismhas both positive and negative impacts on the society. Theconsequences of tourism are influenced by the ability and capacity ofthe community to handle and accept changes that arise. As discussedthe impact of tourism is threefold: economic, socio-cultural andenvironment. for some communities in an economy, tourism can sufficeas the only source of income generation and this is especially truein societies located in dry regions. In such regions the onlyalternative to tourism is farming or fishing. People are able togenerate income by working in tourism related activities. However,the problem that accrues from reliance on income generated fromtourism is that there is no proper resource distribution processes.Coastal regions and rural areas with tourist sites are likely to takemore of the income generated as opposed to other regions thus,creating inequality.
Tourismis viewed as a means of enhancing interaction between differentcultures. At the same time, tourism acts as a platform to share ideasand foster development of new cultures and intermingling of diversepeople. Through sharing people are able to develop more reliable andefficient systems as opposed to continually relying on ancient meansin enhancing their activities, however, exchange of ideas tend tocloud the cultural traditions and values. While tourism hasfacilitated the creation of conservation agencies, national parks andgame reserves, tourism is also blamed for the rise in pollution inthe once silent rural areas. The large number of tourists floodingcoastal regions has led to immense development and leading to thecollapse of the initial cultures and traditions. However, in a bid toprevent the unpleasant negative implications of tourism, there is aneed to plan and control the activities appropriately. The localauthorities must partner with the local communities to ensure thattourism becomes a success. A closer analysis at the implication oftourism on the society, it can be concluded that the challenges oftourism as an industry do not outweigh the benefits. Tourism shouldbe viewed as an economic, social and environmental development drivenprocess as much as the right policies and regulations are imposed.
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