The Pros and Cons of Tourism

Tourism is a massive industry everywhere in the world, and there are some remarkable advantages to this in each country.  Sometimes tourism is the main source of foreign income, boosting the economy for the beautiful countries around the world. For tourists themselves, the benefits to happiness and wellbeing are immense!

However, even with these benefits, there are some downsides that may balance the scale when it comes to tourism. The negatives involved can have lasting effects as well – we will have a look at some of these in this article.

It can be very easy to overlook these darker aspects of tourism. Why would you want to look at the negative aspects, when you look at the way tourism has brought vast wealth to many countries that needed it and thrive from it. The thing is though, we need to see the big picture, and in order to do so – we indeed need to consider all angles.

If we ignore the negative effects of tourism and do not deal with them appropriately we will be responsible for them spiraling out towards chaos.

So, without further ado, here are the points we have from both sides of this sword.

Tourists taking a picture

Top 5 Pros of Tourism

There are plenty of upsides to tourism! It is because of these upsides that all countries across the globe embrace the industry. Here are some points that highlight the value that tourism gives and the advantages of a country investing in this industry.

1.   Wealth Generation

One of the most obvious and essential pros for tourism is, of course, the money it brings in. Tourism can easily generate a massive amount of wealth. This positive factor becomes ever more important for all third world countries. Is is especially beneficial for countries that use tourism as their primary source of income.

2. Development of Country

 Along with the wealth brought in, countries can further develop and grow. The money that comes in from tourism provides security and ensures countries that have poor infrastructure or no lucrative exports the opportunity to grow.

Catering to tourists also leads countries to improve their infrastructure – not only with the money, but for the money. This means that poorer countries will be able to generate the means needed to build:

  • Roads
  • Hotels
  • Highways
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Other general infrastructures

This growth is important for the wellbeing of a nation. It allows for plenty of internal growth, thus further improving the tourism sector and creating a positive cycle.

Amsterdam canals

3. Job Creation

Tourism is responsible for generating many different jobs within a country, thus being a hugely positive influence on the economy. One of the other direct benefits of tourism on a country is the undeniable growth in jobs, and the number of business opportunities that open up for the local people.

Hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities all see an immediate influx in business from tourism. This then leads to them seeking more employees, giving more opportunities to the locals of each country.

4. Encouraging Unity

Tourism is a unique industry that boosts the unity between people of all different colours, backgrounds, and traditions. It also allows people to learn more about each individual country’s history and culture.

So, culturally speaking, tourism helps to build links between different people from all kinds of backgrounds and social standings. This then generates understanding amongst various types of people and can help to encourage lasting economic, political and social relationships.

5. Conservation

One of the biggest pluses of tourism is that it becomes the main reason that countries put money into protecting and preserving local wildlife, and even historic monuments or structures within both rural and urban surroundings.

Once an area or structure becomes part of the tourism sector, it helps to financially support the country it is in because it is bringing in tourists who generate wealth.

Top 8 Cons of Tourism

Let’s move onto the darker side of this industry, so that we can understand the full picture. Although the cons of tourism aren’t always obvious, they can cause serious, long-term damage to a country.

We must not forget that the disadvantages can be solved, and if we address them correctly, we can minimize the effects drastically. Sometimes we can even combat these negative aspects before an issue arises. But in order to do this, we need to be aware of them.

1.   Environmental Damage

When it comes to tourism, we are inviting thousands, and in some cases, millions, of foreigners into countries for a vacation. This can lead to immense environmental damage, especially in destinations that are extremely popular and tourist-heavy.

This does not usually happen because the tourists themselves directly cause the damage, but rather it happens because of the higher number of planes flying and cars driving. This peak in activity leads to higher carbon monoxide production within a country, thus negatively affecting the environment.

This is only one example of how tourism can negatively affect the environment, but there are plenty more examples to look at. For instance, let’s have a look at ancient structures.

A country such as Thailand has many ancient, sacred temples that have become massive tourist hotspots, meaning that hundreds of thousands of people are traveling to this destination every year.

A structure simply cannot see that many people without experiencing immense wear and tear.

2. Exploitation of Culture

With so many tourists coming to enjoy certain famous lifestyles and traditions, we begin to see the commercialization of culture. This is something that can negatively impact the local people of a country, because instead of respecting and admiring the culture from a distance, we impose countless tourists into the traditions.

In this way, we have started turning ancient customs into a product that is sold, which severely undermines sacred cultures.

3. Poor Behavior from Tourists

The more people a country invites within its borders each year, the more the possibility of bringing in tourists who do not honor the local traditions and customs. Sometimes, tourists do not respect local cultures, and will break certain unspoken (or spoken) codes of conduct that are held very highly by the indigenous people of a country.

For example, the customs of not being intoxicated in public or not bearing the shoulders can be made a joke amongst tourists, and can once again undermine the traditional beliefs of the local people.

Rome tourism

4. Loss of Jobs

Although there is a sudden growth in the employment market, which can be amazing, there can be major downfalls. Sometimes the jobs provided are seasonal and therefore not consistent, which leaves some local people only working for a few months a year.

This can also lead to many locals stuck in a dead-end job that offers no room for growth.

5. Lack of Job Security

Continuing on from the point above, seasonal jobs that are generated from tourism, more often than not, don’t come with any benefits or packages. This means that employees can easily be left without a pension and insurance. This is due to the nature of the inconsistent work, and the way that the company does not have a set customer base.

6. Unequal Infrastructure Growth

With the massive income generated from tourism, countries often do not focus on the areas within their borders that do not attract tourists, but nonetheless need to be grown for the locals’ sakes. This means there is wealth that gets redirected to where it is not desperately needed, leading to a huge separation between wealthy and poorer areas.

This can sometimes be starkly apparent in countries where the tourist hotspots are overly developed and the rest of the country is still in urgent need of infrastructure.

Tourists posing for a picture

7. Foreign Business Owners

There are many cases when travel agencies, hotels or restaurants within popular tourist hotspots are owned by foreign businesses. These are usually the companies that are making the money from a country, while the local businesses fall short.

With the foreign businesses taking most of the profit from tourists, it leaves local industries missing out on prime sources of income that are needed to keep them going. This can lead to local businesses closing, thus damaging the country’s economy.

8. Neglect of Other Sectors

A huge disadvantage to tourism in some countries is that when the tourism industry is doing well, the country neglects to build upon its other sectors. The country will pump all of its major resources into building the tourism industry, thus leaving other sectors to diminish.

There is another factor to consider, and this is that when a country is relying on the tourism sector, it will focus on this industry and ensure that it is run correctly. This is great, but on the other hand, this strong foundation can be quickly destroyed.

Sometimes natural disasters or political unrest will completely stop tourism, leaving the country with no resources. This means that countries who focus too much on tourism are more vulnerable to economic and social disaster.

Thailand building

Final Thoughts on Tourism

We now understand the full spectrum of tourism, and can, therefore, see both the undeniable benefits of tourism and the negative truths of it as well.

With tourism comes economic growth, a welcome influx of wealth, social and environmental growth and an abundance of opportunity. However, we cannot turn our cheeks to the disadvantages of tourism because of these positive aspects.

We need to face the negative effects and find solutions, both as individuals and as a whole, so that tourism can be enjoyed without causing harm. When we address these issues, we allow space for answers to be found and ways to grow that will ultimately benefit everyone.

Last updated on October 13th, 2023 at 02:43 pm

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