There are three principal impacts, which are economical, environmental, and socio-cultural. Both positive and negative impacts can be seen with our naked eyes. Tourism is the driving force of employment, revenue, and foreign exchange within many countries. In 2011, “the industry contributed 8. 7% of total employment or 1 in every 12 jobs”. The tourism industry also “donated 5. 3% of total exports through visitor exports”. Visitor export is the expenditures of non-local visitors in the host community. In terms of capital investment, “it contributes 4. % of the total investment” (World Economic Impact Report, 2012:2). Moreover, these figures are predicted to be growing by more than 1. 5% in 2012. It is unquestionable that the tourism industry brings about many benefits to various parties economically, from smallest communities to the biggest communities; either it is short-term or long-term effects. Countries in every part of the world, especially developing countries, struggle to develop their tourism industry by any means for the intention of improving their economic status.
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Kenya, which is famous for its ecotourism, “opened the first national park in 1947 and other industries based around the safari when it spotted the potential for tourism”. According to Tourism in the Developing World (2009), “tourism can help deliver peace and prosperity to developing countries”. All of the economical benefits are interlinked and interdependent of each other. One impact leads to other impacts on a bigger scale. The tourism industry encourages what is known as “the multiplier effect”. Tourism Multiplier Effect (2011) defines it as “how many times money spent by a tourist circulates through a country’s economy”.
For example, in the development of new hotels, not only are the hotel businesses at an advantage, but also the local farmers in terms of food supply, media outlets in terms of promoting the hotel, the government in terms of tax, and the locals in terms of employment. More people with jobs and stable income will lead to higher standards of living. More and more families living adequately, more families can afford better education and health services. This leads to lower literacy rate, lower immortality rate, and less people below the poverty line.
Simply put, the tourism industry raises the overall revenue of a country and directs a country to a country with a better economic status. Consequently, the tourism industry has several negative impacts. These include over-reliance of one country to tourism. A ‘healthy’ country should have a diverse economy (Harcombe, 1999). The fact that tourism is the principal and solitary industry of a country is indeed unhealthy and will put the country at risk and at a vulnerable financial position as the industries revenue may fluctuate unpredictably.
A leakage is also one of the most disadvantageous results. Leakages take place when expenditures of foreign visitors in “tourism-related economic activities (in the destination countries) are not available for (re-)investment or consumption of goods and services in the same host countries” (Hemmati, et al. , n. d. ). Instead, the money flows out of the generating areas and into foreign countries mainly because of the presence of foreign tourism companies, imported goods and services, royalties or management fees in franchising, and remittance of wages to expatriates human resources.
A study shows that “approximately 70% of all money spent by tourists ended up leaving Thailand via foreign-owned tour operators, airlines, hotels, imported drinks and food, etc” (Tourism Multiplier Effect, 2011). In addition, The Negative Economic Impacts of Tourism (n. d. ) stated that “an increase in demand of goods and services by the tourists will also cause inevitable rise in prices of overall goods and services for the locals by an average of 8%”. This affects the locals to a great extent, especially for those in a poor financial state.
The tourism industry also brings about beneficial positive and adverse negative environment impacts. The creation and expansion of tourist attractions lead to greater demand of facilities and services. Othman (et al) (2012:90-91) stated that these facilities include water, transportation, accommodation, electricity, infrastructure, superstructure, telecommunication, sewerage, and solid waste disposal. Issues such as depletion of natural resources, increase in solid waste, and pollution will certainly ascend as the number of tourists increase.
Land or habitat degradation for wildlife species, water and utilities diminution (such as gas and electricity), and food stock for locals are some examples of depletion of natural resources. Air, noise, and visual pollution are examples of pollution caused by escalating numbers of tourists. Nonetheless, the tourism industry helps to raise awareness among human beings concerning global environmental issues through advertising and campaigns. In addition, the presence of the tourism industry helps locals to conserve and preserve the nature through the generated revenue.
In a way, the tourism industry has contributed to environmental protection and conservation. As explained by Tourism for Tomorrow (2012), “the Banyan Holdings Ltd. ’s mission of “Embracing the Environment, Empowering the People” includes replanting over 90,000 trees, reintroducing wildlife to local ecosystem, regenerating coral reefs, conserving and protecting sea turtles, banning sales of shark fin and blue fin tuna, and researching and monitoring local biodiversity”. Eventually, the industry will give back what it owes to Mother Nature.
Tourism is the activity of foreign visitors visiting one or more destination countries for a certain period of time and for purposes such as leisure, business, education, etc. During these time and activities, communication and interaction between non-residents and residents is unavoidable. Thus, cultural exchanges will surely occur as part of socio-cultural impacts. From a negative perspective, the term cultural dilution will come to mind. It is the process of losing identity of one society because of contact and influence from another society.
An article titled ‘China’s President Lashes Out at Western Culture’ (2012) states how “Western expressions of popular culture and art seem to overshadow those from China” with “Avatar and Transformer 3 as China’s top-grossing films” and “the music of Lady Gaga as popular as that of any Chinese pop singer”. This is caused by frequent exposure to foreign cultures that the foreigners bring in that will ultimately affect and alter oneself. Looking at the bright side, we will also see how cultural revival will take place alongside cultural dilution.
An article titled ‘A Jewish cultural revival – minus the Jews’ (2012) mentioned how “reinvention of Jewish culture is Europe” is currently taking place as “there has been a big wave of interest in Jewish culture; tourists are flocking up to restored Jewish sites and heritage festivals”. Cultural revival is the reawakening and revitalization of indigenous cultures of a country. One of the reasons why people travel to another country is none other than to experience the unusual cultures, customs, and values.
Hence, natives have to preserve their local customs, cultures, and historical monuments, in order to attract more customers as their identity is their selling point. This is when cultural revival of destination country emerges. There is an Asian saying which states “Tourism is like fire: you can cook your dinner on it, but if you are not careful it will burn your house down” (Tourism, n. d. ). In fact, this saying is indeed true. Even though tourism serves and brings many advantages to the community, if greediness and human ego take over, it will bring about bigger negative impacts.
As long as we take control, we will be able to reap the flourishing benefits out of this industry. In my opinion, the positive impacts of tourism industry overcome the negative impacts as the industry brings more benefits than disadvantages to human beings. Without the presence of the tourism industry, one country would not be able to develop in every sector, especially the economical sector. Without good economic status, the country will not be able to excel in anything. Therefore, the tourism industry plays a very significant role in the development of nations.