Soci-Cultural Impacts of Tourism

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19TH FEBUARY 2013

Tourism is a social, cultural and economic trend which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business purposes. These people are called visitors and tourism has to do with their activities, some of which imply tourism expenditure (UNWTO 2007). According to Mowforth and Munt (1998), “it is an industry that facilitates not just the movement of people going from one country to another, but the accompanying mass displacement of communities, its impact on traditional communities and the involvement if large business corporations in this process.” Tourist activities have had implications on the economy, the environment as well as the local population of these tourist destinations. These impacts are due to tourist destinations producing a wide variety of goods and services for tourists in an effort to satisfy tourists’ needs. Stakeholders of tourism are greatly affected by tourism activities and as such, a sustainable tourism development approach must be implemented, managed and monitored in order for tourism to strive and minimize the negative impacts of tourism in a destination (UNWTO 2007). The focus of this essay is on the negative socio-cultural impacts of tourism and ways in which it can be managed to lessen the negative effects on the host population. Businesses are particularly interested in the economic impacts of tourism at all levels of the economy. Multiplier effects are often used to identify the secondary effects of tourism expenditure and show the how the different sectors in a community benefit from tourism. Tourism activity involves different economic costs such as the direct cost incurred by stakeholders, governments and private business for tourism products and services. Communities and governments debate about the positive and negative economic effects of tourism at the destination, therefore sound decision making based on the effects of tourism on the economy must be considered where marketing and managing tourism is concerned (Stynes 1990). Tourism economic activity at a destination aids in the improvement of a destinations economic status. Tourism can lead to an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which is the measurement of economic production and wealth in a country. The balance of payments account is a record of transactions during a period of time, between residents of a country and the rest of the world. Improving the balance of payment account is a significant factor used by governments to promote tourism. For developing countries involved in tourism, improving their balance of payments account will aid in the economic development of that country (Page and Connell 2009). Tourism development creates inflationary effect on local economies. Increased demand for resources such as land, leads to an increase in prices and locals are forced to compete for these resources at the inflated price. Foreign exchange generated by tourism activities may not always remain at the destination. Foreign investors who are often the owners of hotels and other tourists businesses at the destination often soak up a significant amount of income causing a leakage (Page and Connell 2009). Tourism is heavily dependent on the environment, both man-made and natural. It involves many activities that can either destroy the environment or protect it. The negative environmental impacts of tourism are due to the development of infrastructure and tourist facilities used to accommodate tourists. Tourism development can eventually destroy the environmental resources that it depends on, once it’s not properly managed. But, tourism can also bring about positive effects on the environment. Contributions to environmental protection and conservation aids in raising environmental awareness and it can be used to finance projects that aid in the protection of natural areas and increase how important their existence is to the economy (Srinivas 2001)....
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