Worldwide tourism is harmful to local communities and the environment

A lot of places in the world rely heavily on tourism; for a lot of people -and countries- tourism is a key source of income. For many countries stimulating tourism is a way of showing off national and local heritage and "success". On the other hand, tourism causes environmental damage and pollution and cultures get commercialized: local traditions are reduced to money generating acts.

Pros of tourism

  • tourism creates new jobs in hotels, restaurants, tour companies etc.
  • by travelling people meet other people; tourism stimulates a better mutual understanding around the world and it advances cultural connections worldwide
  • regions depending on tourism make sure they keep their are clean and safe, which benefits all residents
  • tourism benefits local infrastructure, schools; it gives a boost into local economies and local investments
  • tourism raises the profile of the region visited

Cons of tourism

  • tourism creates new jobs but these jobs are often low-paid jobs and seasonal
  • tourism increases crime in a region: bars, strip clubs, robbery etc.
  • tourism in popular places increases housing prices and decreases social coherence
  • a constant flow of foreign visitors can undermine the beauty and uniqueness of a tourist destination; tourism causes environmental damage
  • most of the tourism industry in developing countries is owned by foreign companies

Share your thoughts

  • do you see other pro's and con's of tourism as an industry?
  • which types of tourism -ways of travelling- are better than others and why?
  • while travelling, did you encounter tourism products & services with a positive impact on (mutual) respect, local income and environment?
  • do you think (govermental and/or environmental) campaigns can really discourage people checking into flights or travelling around areas?
  • what changes in the (mass) tourism industry do you think would be necessary to further stimulate the advantages and reduce the disadvantages?
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