Tourism is the department or an organization that facilitates people to allow them to visit or spend vacations at places they like.
Tourism is one of the most important industries in any country. It is a large contributor to the economy of a country as it can provide revenue throughout the year. Tourism helps in keeping the employment rate of countries stable as several job opportunities are created due to the tourism industry.
Sometimes, tourism can be a major source of foreign income for the country. This is like Maldives where 40% of the economy is generated from the Tourism industry.
This transaction doesn’t only facilitate the vacation or relaxation of tourists visiting these regions, but also helps to provide a better livelihood to everyone involved in the tourism sector.
Developed countries like USA and UK have greatly benefitted from medical tourism. Medical tourism involves people travelling to developed countries to get treatments unavailable in their home country. These are usually people from developing countries with sub-standard health care. You can also call them a medical tourist!
However, even with the great number of benefits of tourism, there are several drawbacks to it. These disadvantages are sometimes ignored by the tourism sector of that country as their sole purpose becomes profit. We must consider all aspects of tourism which include environmental responsibilities, profit and sustainability.
Today, we will look at some of the Pros and Cons of Tourism;
Advantages of Tourism
1. Wealth Generation
One of the major advantages of Tourism is a constant flow of cash. It is very important not just for the economy of the country as a whole but for all those working in the tourism sectors.
Commercial and private airlines operating from these countries tend to make a ton of revenue as people from around the world fly to a tourist attraction. Hotels and guest homes in the hospitality industry make a constant income as travelers flood hotel lobbies looking for a place to stay. This makes sure hotels make money throughout the year.
These small sectors, that come under the umbrella of tourism help to generate money for the country throughout the year. This cash flow is even more essential for small, developing, and third world nations as for some of them the tourist sector might be the biggest contributor to their local economy.
2. The Progression of a Country
As wealth influx starts in the country, it helps the government to procure necessary funds for development and progression of the country. The tourism sector gives security and stability to the economy of the nation, preventing it from tanking in times of crisis.
The government also gets necessary funds to carry out large scale infrastructure projects like restaurants, hotels, casinos and theater which may further improve the tourism sector, providing more places for travelers to stay and more activities to indulge in. This will help to generate further cash influx.
Other than that, this wealth can also be used to improve the infrastructure of the country. This includes building roads, rail roads, better hospitals and education centers for natives as well as the tourists.
3. Creation of Jobs
Tourism has provided various jobs to people who were previously unemployed. The natives gifted with constant stable jobs have greatly improved their livelihood (there is a possible catch to this, I’ve explained in the cons).
These jobs include working in areas such as hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, theatres, zoos, parks, entertainment facilities, and more. Some of those you might remember from your last trip, especially the travel agent who booked your tickets or the tour operator who ensured that your trip went smooth or the captain of your cruise ship in the Caribbean. They work relentlessly, away from their families, to make sure you enjoy your vacations.
This has also led to the overall reduction of unemployment in the country, thus reducing burden on the government.
Did you know? 1 in 10 jobs are supported by Tourism industry across the world!
4. Unity among different societies
The unique feature of tourism is that it helps to create unity among people from different countries, cultures, backgrounds, traditions, and ethnicities who are all visiting to have some fun.
It allows people to learn different histories, traditions, cultures, diets, and lifestyles of the nations they are visiting. This helps to create understanding and oneness among people which can have a long-lasting impact socially.
Cross-cultural connections are developed as the natives interact with the tourists and may lead to further large-scale collaborations as well!
The main star of attraction for tourists visiting a country is its historical sites and landscapes, particularly the landmarks of the country. These landmarks may be in the form of churches, mosques, cathedrals, monuments, buildings, skyscrapers, beaches, amusement parks, and other attractions to say the least.
This means it becomes the government’s utmost priority to conserve these sites, for the tourism industry to be sustainable.
The government carries out regular maintenance of such areas and rules are placed concerned with damaging or vandalism of the property in order to protect these spots. Once these areas become a part of the tourism sector, they are no less than a cash generator for the country.
6. Improves geographical identity worldwide
Tourists often go back home and praise about the vacation that they had. Every person that goes back home brags to at-least 10 more people about the wonderful vacation they had, usually through social media. This allows more people to know more about the country and helps it earn its name and make a place for itself on the map!
Increased recognition leads to further foreign investment and development, followed with increased tourism activity in the area.
Major Cons of Tourism
7. Damage to the Environment by Tourists
When it comes to tourism thousands of people may visit, even millions in some spots. This high influx of tourists can lead to immense environmental destruction, especially in destinations where tourists are more prone to visit.
This environmental burden is not solely due to the high influx of tourists, but it is associated with various other factors working together to bring environmental harm.
These factors include increased presence and use of cars, buses, trains, and other vehicles which may raise carbon emissions. A large number of flights at the airport could become a large contributor of air pollution as well.
Tourists can cause a lot of land pollution; as they throw a massive amount of garbage and waste, which is mostly non-biodegradable, leading to a massive number of landfills. All these activities may combine to greatly impact the environment of the region.
If these regions are not conserved and taken care of properly, they will lose their natural essence and subsequently be abandoned by tourists. This can lead to permanent damage of the natural tourist attractions!
Fortunately, we have been observing a rise in demand of sustainable tourism. We’ll be discussing that very soon.
8. Exploitation of Local Culture
Some countries, seeing the vast amount of tourists coming in their country to observe their unorthodox lifestyle and traditions, begin to commercialize their culture. It can be in the form of souvenirs. Usually, the natives are not offended by this.
However, in some regions this can be considered an outright disgrace and mocking of their culture. This is especially true for the regions where locals consider their culture to be their identity. Commercializing may result in people just wearing costumes and exhibiting traditions just to entertain tourists. Observing that the governments are using their culture as a tool for profiteering can cause them to feel sad and ridiculed by their nation.
9. Non-Compliance of Tourists
Sometimes, tourists do not honor cultures and traditions of countries/regions they visit. They may break certain rules and unspoken codes of conduct to which the locals have very high regard. Tourists get drunk in public and do horrendous acts at times. This creates certain hatred among the locals for the incoming tourists.
Racist remarks by tourists and the socioeconomic gap between the tourists and the natives may further exacerbate the issue. The tourists may consider themselves in much higher regard than the natives. Such thoughts may provoke the tourists to act wildly and unlawfully, and sometimes even end up mocking the nation.
Look at it this way; if you go to a friend’s house, you don’t outright break stuff at his home or start shouting remarks to his/her family. You respectfully meet your friend and have a good time, in good spirits. That’s the way you should treat natives when you’re visiting another country, because you’re visiting their home!
10. Lack of job security/Seasonal only
Although we did mention that tourism leads to an increase in the employment rate; sometimes these jobs can be seasonal depending on the region and hence, cannot be a dependable income throughout the year. This is more concerning in countries that have specific durations and seasons of high influx of tourists from around the world. These seasonal jobs, hence, offer minimal job security and employees can be left without a proper pension or insurance.
11. Confined to Service Jobs
Although tourism generates jobs for locals, most of these jobs are confined to service industry with minimal wages. These low-wage and minimum-skill workers have little ambition to promotion and getting higher up the chain.
12. Unequal Infrastructure growth
Massive income generated from tourism offers countries to build upon infrastructure of the tourist destination only. Sadly, the countries do not use the revenue generated from this infrastructure to build and develop other regions which require maintenance and development.
The wealth generated from tourism is put back into tourism-related things and regions that desperately need improvement are constantly neglected. The locals who don’t live in tourist-economy regions are neglected which leads to imbalance of infrastructure development.
13. Foreign business owners
Sometimes most of the places which are heavily infiltrated by tourists are owned by foreign businesses. This means most of the profits and money coming into the country are being used by foreigners thereby causing significant loss of local businesses.
Local industries miss out on the primary source of income that is required for them to stay afloat and to grow. This can lead to businesses going bankrupt and losing, overall damaging the country’s economy.
14. Neglecting of Other Sectors
Countries see that tourist is the major source of income for them, tend to ignore other various sectors upon which they are built. This leads to nations neglecting these sectors, thus causing a loss of income, jobs, and growth amongst these sectors. The country aims to put all of its resources in one basket which is the tourism industry, will leaving all others behind for them to crumble and diminish.
This over-reliance on a specific sector for the stability of the nations can sometimes cause a massive impact, especially during times of war, political instability, or natural disasters as it will be led to the long term closure of the tourism of those countries due to unrest. This can eventually drain the country down as its only resource which is tourism is no longer function, and it didn’t have any other sector nor did they built any other sector in a way for them to become sustainable in times of economic crisis.
5+ Fun Facts on Tourism
- Tourism is responsible for 5% of the Global GDP!
- China stays as the world’s top tourism spender, spending more than 260 Billion Dollars!
- Global tourism industry being the largest industry contributes more than 7.5 trillion dollars in the world economy.
- Almost 10% of world’s jobs are sourced from Tourism Industry.
- Tourists spend the most cash in Dubai. Around 28.5 Billion dollars yearly!
- Osaka in Japan is emerging as the hottest tourist spot in the world.
Negative Environmental Impacts of Tourism
The government may choose to put the wealth generated from tourism into preservation of the environment. However, tourism still goes on to put sufficient burden on the natural resources of our planet and prompts over-consumption of natural resources in regions with already limited resources.
Once tourism becomes unsustainable, the surrounding environment starts to deteriorate. Tourism has a wide impact on the air quality, vegetation, water supply, wildlife, and the natural ecosystems of the region.
Most of the tourist activities have a negative impact on ecosystems. These include fishing, hiking, and snorkeling; all of which tend to affect and deplete the local scenery.
To run a tropical golf course for tourists requires water that can feed up to 60,000 locals. There is a trail in the Himalayas known as “the toilet paper trail” which shows how much damage tourism has caused to the environment.
Once there is an influx of tourists to a common destination, there is an overuse of transportation systems which heavily contributes to pollution (Mainly air pollution). Tourism accounts for 60% of air travel worldwide, and flying one mile in a plane can produce 53 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Even travelers conscious of hurting the environment also cause a negative impact. Tourists that travel to natural sites located remotely, tend to cause damage to natural ecosystems they come to see.
The increased human presence on many geographical regions can alter the number of native plants in the region and introduce non native species in those areas.
Even species brought in as pets into the country are sometime released into the wild and could bring havoc upon the ecosystem if they turned out to be invasive species.
Negative Impact on Wildlife
Human intervention and presence can disrupt food webs, ecological communities, and harm keystone species in an area. Others take an active approach and hunt foreign animals as a tourist activity. They can also damage the natural habitat of native wildlife by engaging with it. All of these contribute to wildlife endangerment and extinction.
Loss of Natural Resources
Tourism can shrink the natural resources by causing over-consumption. This is particularly damaging in areas with food and water scarcity.
This may also lead to hatred among the locals for tourists who use up the limited water supply for luxuries. A natural resource like water could be used to fill up Jacuzzis at a 5-star hotel but could much better be used in feeding a child who suffers from dehydration.
|Environmental Pros of Tourism||Environmental Cons of Tourism|
|Helps to generate revenue||Causes environmental degradation|
|Revenue promotes preservation |
of natural environment
|Pollution (Air Pollution mainly)|
|May promote environmental |
awareness and activism
|Depletion of natural resources|
Cultural Benefits of Traveling
When you get to visit another country and observe their culture, you get the opportunity to be exposed to unfamiliar perspectives and traditions and gain a more broad, much informed, and kinder view of the locals and places you encounter.
Perceptions and stereotypes might be replaced by first hand view of the people by the tourists themselves.
Gaining Cultural Sensitivity
People get to see traditions and learn manners of different cultures. Manners and etiquette tourists may not have practiced in their native countries.
Pointing with your index fingers at the indigenous people, showing excessive skin, wearing shoes indoors, and making noises may be considered rude in some places.
So it is important to do a little bit of research on the local customs and traditions before visiting so you can try to avoid being offensive or inappropriate.
Authentic Experience of Cultures
It can be a wonderful way to experience the insights of a different culture through the experience of traditions, rituals, festivals, celebrations, and rites. It gives the visitor a chance to understand the cultural heritage of a region much more deeply.
Tourism has its benefits to the economy but the environmental component of tourism shouldn’t be ignored. Think about that the next time you book your tickets. We are also working on reducing your environmental footprint when you travel…Can’t reveal more. Stay tuned!
For now I’d like to leave this picture for you to ponder about Eco-tourism.