Critically analyse and evaluate the relationship between tourism and development & illustrate your arguments with practical examples from a variety of destination areas.
In order to be able to understand the relationship that exists between tourism and development, it is important primarily to understand what is meant by the term ‘development’. One important point is that if development is linked to economic progress, then the majority of third world countries are currently not in a developmental stage at all. Sharpley et al (2002:25) state therefore that development should be classified as “the reduction of widespread poverty and unemployment”. However, this solely relates to third world countries, as poverty, whilst existing to some extent, is an extremely remote issue in developed countries such as England and France. Therefore, development should be seen as “the continuous and positive change in the economic, social, political and cultural dimensions of the human condition” (Sharpley et al, 2002:27). Tourism plays a dominant role in the socio- economic development of particular regions and is the principal economic sector of, for example, many of the islands within the Mediterranean area (Andriotis, 2003:23). Despite the obvious positive results of developing a resort for tourist’s consumption, Reid et al (2003) clarify that tourism can also result in negative impacts upon a destination, for example overcrowding of a resort. This essay will attempt to clarify, and then analyse, the effect that development has on selected destination areas, and link this to specific literature in order to understand the relationship that exists between tourism and development.
Tourism is “reputed to be the world’s largest industry with estimated revenues of US$3.5 trillion in addition to hiring one worker in nine worldwide in 2004” (Theobald, 2005:172). In addition, Lanza et al (2005:1) state that “since 1980 global tourism receipts increased at an annual rate of nearly 8 per cent”. It is clear that with this exceptional growth of the tourism market, an increasing number of developing countries will, or have become, targets for “income hungry ‘giants’ of the western world” (Reid, 2003:72). However, the extent to which western businesses can develop an area is limited by one fundamental issue. Every tourism destination, irrespective of size, will have its own ‘carrying capacity’, which is defined by Lindberg et al (1997:461) as “the level of visitor use an area can accommodate with high levels of satisfaction for visitors and few impacts on resources”. By this definition, any development, therefore, would impact on the areas carrying capacity, and thus leave less scope for future development. Nevertheless, as a resort continues to develop the number of tourists visiting should continue to rise, so logically there is a measurable balance between the development of a resort and the amount of visitors. As supported by Burns et al (2008), therefore, it is critical to forecast both the potential number of visitors to the resort or region in addition to the carrying capacity, in order to ascertain the scope for development of that resort or region.
In order to ascertain the investment level for a resort which is to be developed, then, it is clearly important to evaluate the demand for tourism within the region. A number of potential issues could affect the demand for tourism in a particular area, as supported by Lanza et al (2005:4) who state that “visitor numbers can be notoriously volatile, especially in the face of natural disasters, or threats (real and imagined) of terrorism”. In areas which have been recently affected by issues such as this, for example Bali (the subject of a terrorist attack in 2002), the critical importance is to guarantee that any development is matched by an increased number of tourists, to ensure that the region does not suffer economically (Baker, 2006). Additionally, Lanza et al (2005:227) stipulate that...
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