Do the positive effects of tourism in Africa outweigh the negative effects?| Jo-Anne Mc Alister Student Number: 11028468 Lecturer: Avasha Rambiritch|
Tourism in Africa
Tourism is a fast growing economic industry, particularly in Africa, which, as a developing continent, has a vast amount of potential. Studies done have shown that tourism is a growing industry worldwide. It grows at an average of 10%-15% annually (Miller quoted in Wikipedia-Ecotourism, 2009). Studies have also shown that the growth of the tourism industry has had a positive effect on countries’ economies. Although tourism does help bring revenue into countries, there are, however, many negative effects associated with tourism. There are economic, environmental and cultural implications, both positive and negative, that arise as a result of tourism. It needs to be decided whether the positive effects of tourism outweigh the negative effects.
Tourism’s primary benefit is the revenue that it can generate for a country, particularly the local areas. Studies done in Sub-Saharan Africa have shown that a 10% increase in tourism in a country leads to a 0.4% increase in GDP per capita income (Fayissa, 2007). According to studies done in West Africa, there has been a 6.5% growth per annum on the number of tourists between 1950 and 2006 (Odularu, 2008). Up to 75% of the world’s poor live in rural areas (Nedelea, 2008). It is in these areas where the majority of a country’s cultural sites, national parks and national heritage sites lie. This creates ample job opportunities that enable the local community to support themselves and their family. Because the sites attract tourists, the locals could use this opportunity to work or sell products. Selling traditional products would be the most practical idea because tourists are always looking for souvenirs and the making of these products is a traditional activity that has been developed and passed down through the generations. Activities that locals could use to generate an income could include the following: making floor mats, pots, jewellery, ethnic costumes and brewing traditional beer (Nedelea, 2008). 43% of women in South Africa indicated that they sell their traditional arts and crafts outside their community (Nedelea, 2008). This is a very small percentage compared to the potential the industry has and government should be involved in providing information and funds to help locals develop their community’s potential.
There are, however, negative effects that arise as a result of tourism. The main is that it could become a financial burden on the community to maintain the tourism industry. If they are unable to maintain their standards, they will not get many tourists and the industry in that area will crash. There are many problems associated with setting up and maintaining a community’s tourism industry. Many people are unaware that they are able to make a profit from selling their products or knowledge to tourists. The other main problems that have been noticed in South Africa are: financial constraints (88%), lack of information (84%), no access to credit (83%) and crime and violence (61%), (Nedelea, 2008). Another problem is that if an area has too much untapped potential, it creates an opportunity for outsides to encroach on the local community’s industry. The outsiders can then take over the community, funnelling majority of the profits away from the local community and into their own pockets.
The main positive environmental effect is that tourism can help to sustain a county’s environment. This is because if a country notices that a particular area is a thriving tourist attraction, they can turn it into a historic site or nature reserve. This will stop both tourists and locals from over-exploiting or destroying the environment and it will be able to be preserved for...