International tourism is a common feature of many modern geography syllabuses and examination questions tend to focus on three main issues.
1. The size and nature of international tourism, including reasons for its variable rate of growth in different parts of the world.
2. The advantages and disadvantages of developing an international tourist industry. Here candidates need to be able to analyse tourism’s intertwined impacts - social, environmental and cultural as well as economic. 3. Management strategies for addressing the negative impact of international tourism. This Factsheet will summarise the key points of the above issues and, through examples, will consider how some countries have attempted to deal with the threats and opportunities of international tourism. Finally the opportunities and challenges of ecotourism will be briefly discussed through three case studies
The Scope of International Tourism
1. The world has shrunk - almost
everywhere is accessible and travel has
become much quicker. International tourism
now involves every country in the world as
senders or recipients of tourists.
2. International tourism includes both
business and leisure tourism. It is highly
complex in its operations, with different sectors
providing travel services, transport, amenities
or accommodation, based in countries
generating tourists and in destinations.
Increasingly, large companies operate
throughout the sectors - a phenomenon known
as vertical integration, e.g. transport
provider British Airways also acts as a tour
operator and owns hotels.
3. Countries may allow these sectors to
grow ‘ad hoc’, responding to market demands
or they may decide to regulate the nature and
scope of tourism.
Kenya Case Study- An example of government-led tourism growth Tourism is Kenya's greatest source of foreign exchange and the Kenyan government have skilfully stimulated the tourist boom. Kenya made the most of an existing Safari industry and transport infrastructure left over from colonial times, rather than starting from scratch. It succesfully diversified what it had to offer, so that tourists could combine a safari holiday with a sea/sand holiday on the coast.
• An entrepreneur was hired to raise
the profile of Kenyan wildlife and
Kenya has a unique
wildlife resource habitats range from
mangrove swamps to
• Tourist officers were posted to
• Visa and immigration procedures
• Tax incentives were offered to major
airlines to encourage them to
develop game lodges and hotels.
• Strict guidelines were, and continue
to be, imposed on foreign tour
operators. Local people must be
preferentially employed, import of
foreign food at game lodges and
hotels is restricted.
National Game Reserve
Huge inland lakes,
dense wet forest and
grasslands, give rise to
10% of land area is
either National Park or
Reasons for the Growth of
• Changes in the nature of industrialised
societies: increased standards of living
among middle and working classes;
introduction of paid holiday time; new
work patterns; more holidays and earlier
Why does the size and scope of the tourist industry
vary between countries?
As tourist fashions and global economic trends change, national tourist industries grow or shrink, in constantly shifting patterns. Factors such as these affect the way tourism has developed in a particular country:
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