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Tourism and Its Effects on the Community

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Essay title: Tourism and Its Effects on the Community

Tourism and Its Effects on the Community

Tourism is the largest industry in the world and the fact that it is still growing portrays a very bright future for the industry. Many countries have made billions out of this industry and are still earning more but to gain something, we have to lose something. In this essay I will discuss the effects of the tourism industry on the community taking into account important factors such as politics, economics, the environment and the historical factors.

Tourism is the premier industry in many South Pacific countries. Not only does it bring a considerable amount of foreign currency, it also provides employment to many people. Its economic benefits are unquestionable but an over dependence on it may cause the downfall of other industries and the livelihood of the people associated with it. Many countries, especially developing countries with little ability to explore other resources, have taken up tourism as a way to improve the economy. However, as a result their survival often has become dependent on customary tourism revenue arrival. In The Gambia, for example, 30% of the workforce depends directly or indirectly on tourism. According to the WTO, in small island developing states, percentages can range from 83% in the Maldives to 21% in the Seychelles and 34% in Jamaica (www.unatlas.com). Another such indirect case is the sugar industry in Fiji. Many people think that a larger portion of government time and money has been dedicated to the tourism industry and this has led to the decline in the earnings of the sugar industry. Thus many farmers have stopped farming sugar cane due to the lack of government support.

Another negative economic impact of tourism is the “all inclusive” vacation packages. Local businesses often see their chances to earn income from tourists severely reduced by the creation of these vacation packages. When tourists remain for their entire stay on the same cruise ship or in the same resort or hotel, because it provides everything they need, not much opportunity is left for local people to profit from tourism. The major point to consider here is that most resorts, hotels and even cruise ships are owned by foreigners thus a large portion of the income is leaked out of the Pacific countries. This is often called enclave tourism (www.mundus.com).

Infrastructure cost is another economic effect that should be considered. Tourism development can cost the government and local taxpayers a great deal of money on things such as road improvement and airport extension to name a few and this may reduce government expenditures in vital areas such as education and health. Increasing demand for basic services and goods from tourists will often cause price rise that harmfully affect local residents whose income does not increase proportionately. Additionally, tourism development and the related rise in real estate demand may severely increase building costs and land values which are very disturbing for locals.

One of the most critical negative aspect of tourism is its impact on the. Tourism destinations as well as the tourism industry both depend on natural environment quality. Many tourists want to escape to a peaceful environment to get a satisfactory experience (Page, Brunt, Busby & Connell, 2001, p293). Negative impacts from tourism occur when the level of visitor use is greater than the environment's ability to handle this use within the suitable limits of change. Uncontrolled conventional tourism poses potential threats to many natural areas around the world (UNEP, 1999). It can put enormous pressure on an area and lead to impacts such as soil erosion, increased pollution, discharges into the sea, natural habitat loss, increased pressure on endangered species and sharp openness to forest fires. It often puts a strain on water resources, and it can force local populations to compete for the use of vital resources.

Water, and especially fresh water, is one of the most important natural resources in the world. The tourism industry generally overuses water resources for hotels, swimming pools and golf courses (An average golf course in a tropical country needs 1500kg of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides per year and uses as much water as 60,000 rural villagers)(www.tourismconc.com). This can result in water shortages and degradation of water supplies, as well as generating a greater volume of waste water. In dryer regions like the Mediterranean, the issue of water scarcity is of great concern. Because of the hot climate and the tendency of tourists to consume more water when on holiday than they do at home, the amount used can run up to 440 liters a day. This is almost double what the inhabitants of an average Spanish city use (www.tourismconc.com).

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