Tourism and its impacts


Tourism and its impacts - Tourism was quite less before world war one. Only the elite class travelled to different places for pleasure, or those who were adventurous and wanted to explore. After both world wars tourism somehow came to a halt and revived itself thereafter, that is during the industrial revolution and the renaissance period. The introduction of qualitative and statistical methods after the industrial revolution gave a boost to the tourism industry.

People have travelled around the world for trade and commerce during the middle-ages too. Religion also encouraged people to travel, thus going on pilgrimages became a custom in many parts of the world. At the same time due to industrialisation the standard of living of the people gradually began to rise. Railways made travelling comfortable and modern steam ships opened the doors to different continents. Therefore tourism led the way for invisible trade in any economy.

Definition of a Tourist

A tourist is defined as a person who travels for pleasure or recreation.

Definition of Tourism

Tourism is the sum total of operators, mainly of an economic nature, which directly relates to the entry, stay and movement of foreigners inside and outside a certain country, city or region                                                                                                                       --by Hermann Von Schullard (1990)

Another definition was given professors Walter Hunziker and Kurt Krapf of Switzerland in 1942. They defined tourism as the totality of the relationship and phenomenon, arising from travel and stay of strangers, provided the stay does not imply the establishment of a permanent residence and is not connected with a remunerated activity.

Impacts of tourism

Economic Impacts:

It increases the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country. It creates employment opportunities. This is a major earner of foreign exchange. It contributes to the overall development of any country or economy. This helps or encourages rural development too. It improves the general infrastructure of any region. Tourism enables the circulation and income of new money into the nation’s economy which is multiplied as it passes through various sections of the economy.

Environmental Impacts:

The environment is an important resource for tourism and its development. It has both positive and negative impacts on the environment. Some of the positive impacts are tourist destinations such as sanctuaries and national parks preserve the environment. Many historical sites which attract tourists are restored and preserved. Marine wealth is also protected since attraction to nature and tourism helps in creating awareness about the environment. However, tourism also has negative impacts on the environment such as environmental pollution and depletion of natural resources.

There are three types of interaction between the tourists and hosts.

1. Social interaction: Social meetings and sharing of resources and facilities.

2. Economic interaction: Buying and selling of souvenirs and other material.

3. Cultural interaction: Experiencing the culture and lifestyle of the hosts.

Tourism and its impacts

The attitudes and behaviour of the tourist and hosts are very crucial elements used in the formation of relations. The relationship of tourists and hosts goes through four different stages as it develops. These stages are as follows.

Stage 1 – Euphoria

Stage 2 – Apathy (very formal attitude and an increase in the number of tourists)

Stage 3 – Irritation (resources are exploited and an inevitable increase in the number of tourists)

Stage 4 – Antagonism (open hostility)

Cultural Impacts:

Mass tourism has resulted in a shift from authentic natural culture to contrived culture due to the increase in demand for indigenous goods. To meet these demands handicraft are commercially produced on a large scale resulting in decreased authenticity of the native culture. This leads to misunderstandings between the hosts and the tourists affecting their relations. The negative impacts of tourism can be minimised by:

1. Management of tourists.

2. Provision of appealing and informative interpretation which is the responsibility of any host.

3. Codes of conduct should be recognised and followed strictly.

Political Impacts:

Growth and development of tourism depends on the political forces governing a country. Both internal and international politics play an important part in the development of tourism. Taxes charged or involved in touring or travelling may also act as a deterrent to travel. Excessive taxation would discourage tourist activity.

Tourism and its impacts

Other negative impacts like the international ban of air travel over Libya, the 9/11 terrorist attack on the world trade centre in New York or the 26/11 attack at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai have caused the number of tourists travelling to those countries to decrease. However certain political impacts have had a positive effect on tourism. For example, the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa generated an increase in the number of tourists there.