Nowadays the level of awareness is quite high that tourism has a general impact on the destination. Many times it is talked about the economical impact which is mainly considered positive as it creates jobs in that area and brings people to the destination that spend money there etc. The environmental impact is a popular topic as well that is covered continuously in the news mainly by claiming the airplanes for their carbon emissions but also stating the destroying impact of mass tourism because of littering, over visitation of natural sights etc. Due to this many tourism dedicate their CSR programmes mainly to this issue as it is the best known.
However, tourism also has another impact, namely the socio-cultural. This means that social structures, the culture and traditions can be influenced, changed or even completely substituted due to tourism. This can be mainly noticed by the local communities themselves and is less obvious for the tourists. Nevertheless, this does not mean that this impact is less strong or less negative than the ones mentioned before. It just gets less media presence. This was proved once more during my research as it was very hard and it took a long time to find proper material while economic and environmental issues constantly popped up.
With my essay I want to show that the socio-cultural impact of tourism is an important topic which definitely deserves more attention. I also want to make clear that this is nothing that just happened in the passed but instead is current as the communities have to live on with the consequences of the impact and every new discovered destination will face the same challenges.
In order to reach my goal I will use destinations from three different continents describing how they have individually experienced the socio-cultural impact of tourism and the consequences mentioning the positive and the negative aspects. This will be Lumbini a destination located in Nepal, two villages on the island Crete, Luang Prabang in Laos and the South Carolina Sea Islands in the United States.
Looking the examples it can be concluded that tourism definitely has a socio-cultural impact on destinations. Those can be positive but are most of the times outweighed by the negative ones. Those are that severe that this issue definitely needs more attention and more action to eliminate the impacts.
2. The cultural and social change of tourism destinations
2.1 Lumbini, Nepal
Lumbini is one the major tourism destinations in Nepal. Tourism could help to reduce one of its big social problems, the poverty of the population, as many new job opportunities have been provided. But this also has changed the society as not only unemployed people took on those jobs but employed switched jobs or took on additional ones. Due to research the majority of those that switched completely have been working in the teashop business which might cause this profession to disappear or a least loose importance. The whole traditional job structure has been changed but it could definitely enhance the survival of the population
The direct interaction with tourists in the new jobs as well as being exposed to them in daily life when they explore the community has impacted the lifestyle of the locals. A change in the type of clothing as well as in food taste has been noticed. Furthermore the attitude towards money and material possessions has changed because of observing the tourists’ purchase and spending behaviour. Now the locals also want to posses “luxury” goods like watches and electronical devices like cameras. Due to theory the confrontation with wealth and possessions can cause frustration and jealousy in the relatively poor resulting in crimes like theft and robbery and therefore risk the safety of the community. Being exposed to other cultures can definitely enhance the knowledge of the locals and make them more open-minded but it also includes a risk of loosing its...
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