The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism

Updated on March 27, 2019
PaulGoodman67 profile image

Since completing university, Paul has worked as a librarian, teacher, and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he currently lives in Florida.

Does tourism have a negative or positive impact on a travel destination?
Does tourism have a negative or positive impact on a travel destination? | Source

Many places in the world rely heavily on tourism as a key source of income and employment. Unfortunately, tourism can also be a source of problems, especially if it is not managed well. A huge influx of visitors can gradually deplete the beauty, uniqueness, character, environment, resources, and social coherence of a tourist destination over time.

It is easy to underestimate the scale of tourism. Every year, about a billion tourists take trips: That makes 30 tourists arriving every second. There were around 76.9 million tourists visiting the US In 2017. That many travelers can easily present huge challenges for many destinations. Transporting, providing places to stay, feeding, entertaining, policing, and cleaning up after that many additional people is not a simple or straightforward task. Is it worth it?

This article lists the main advantages and disadvantages of tourism.

The Advantages of Tourism

  • Economic. It brings in money. This is probably the main advantage of tourism and the reason why it has been promoted so much, especially in developing countries. The income generated can make up a significant proportion of both private, local, and national incomes.
  • Opportunistic. It provides jobs. Hotels, bars, transport, activities, shops, and restaurants all need staffing. Tourism can provide much-needed employment for people.
  • Infrastructural. It provides a means and an incentive for investment in infrastructure such as roads, rail networks, and local medical and education facilities.
  • Environmental. It can provide economic incentives for a place to preserve, maintain, and regenerate the environment in both urban and rural settings.
  • Cross-Cultural. It promotes international connections which can bring more business and cultural collaborations in the long term. It also promotes cross-cultural awareness for both locals and tourist and builds bridges of understanding between cultures.
  • Promotional. It "puts a place on the map": Tourism gives the locality a chance to show itself off and raise its profile in the world.

Did You Know?

° The money generated by tourism accounts for 5% of global GDP.

° For every job created in the core tourism industry, around 1.5 extra, indirect jobs are created in the wider tourism-related economies.

° Tourism provides jobs for 1 out of every 12 workers in advanced and emerging economies.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans usually draws about 1.4 million people... and their garbage. It takes weeks for the city to recover.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans usually draws about 1.4 million people... and their garbage. It takes weeks for the city to recover. | Source

The Disadvantages of Tourism

  • Environmental. Tourism can often cause environmental damage with risks like erosion, pollution, the loss of natural habitats, and forest fires. Even if tourists behave responsibly, the sheer number of them can cause damage. Ancient buildings, monuments, and temples often struggle to cope with increased traffic and suffer inevitable wear-and-tear. Reefs and other natural tourist attractions can suffer permanent damage.
  • Cultural. The commercialization of culture can undermine the soul of a tourist destination. Local traditions that have a rich cultural heritage are reduced to wearing costumes and putting on acts for the tourists in return for money.
  • Culture Clashes. Tourists often lack respect for local traditions and culture, refuse to follow local dress standards, get drunk in public, or behave rudely or inappropriately towards locals.
  • Service Economy. Although jobs are created by tourism, most are relatively low-level such as bar work, hotel service, restaurant serving, and so forth. These low-wage, low-skill workers have little prospect for advancement or promotion.
  • Seasonal Fluctuations. Tourism jobs are quite commonly seasonal and insecure, with no extra benefits such as pensions, sick pay, or healthcare. Some areas can be inundated with visitors during busy times, and then virtually deserted for many months.
  • Imbalanced Funding. Money can end up being directed to tourist areas when it could be used more effectively elsewhere in a country. The locals who don’t live in specific tourist areas miss out and suffer relative decline.
  • Foreign Poaching. Oftentimes, most of the tourism industry in a developing country is owned by big foreign companies. They make the major profits, leaving local businesses with relatively little benefit.
  • Tourism Dependence. Sometimes, tourism becomes so focal that other forms of income-generation are neglected and an economic dependence on tourism forms. This is fine in good times, but it can leave the country vulnerable to economic ruin in the long run and can contribute to political upheaval or natural disasters.

Even when tourists behave responsibly, their sheer number can cause damage.
Even when tourists behave responsibly, their sheer number can cause damage. | Source

Economic Pros and Cons of Tourism

Benefits
Detriments
Tourism-generated income can be hugely beneficial both private and public concerns.
Money can end up being spent only on touristed areas while other places and industries suffer.
It can provide employment opportunities for people who can work in tourism-related industries.
Most tourism jobs are relatively low-level and low-skilled, and these jobs may have drastic seasonal fluctuations.
Tourism promotes international connections which can increase business opportunities.
Attracted by opportunity, foreign companies begin poaching business away from local businesses.
*
The area may become dependent on tourists' dollars and risk loss and damage as a result.
Bangkok is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Approximately 20.5 million tourists visited in 2017 and  they contribute to the city's air pollution.
Bangkok is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Approximately 20.5 million tourists visited in 2017 and they contribute to the city's air pollution. | Source

Negative Environmental Impacts of Tourism

Although tourist money might be put to good use in preserving environments, tourism does put burdens on natural resources and often promotes overconsumption and unfair allocations of resources in places where resources are already limited. When tourism becomes unsustainable, it can permanently damage the environment. Tourism impacts the wildlife, vegetation, air quality, the quality and supply of water, and natural phenomena.

Pollution. When huge numbers of people visit, they invariably burden the transportation system and contribute to pollution—locally and globally. Flying one mile in a plane produces about 53 pounds of carbon dioxide, and tourists account for almost 60% of air travel. Some estimate that cruise ships to the Caribbean create over 70,000 tons of annual waste.

Environmental Damage. Many tourist activities have negative ecological impacts. Snorkeling, hiking, and fishing all affect and deplete the local scenery. There's a trail in the Himalayas that's nicknamed the "toilet paper trail.” A tropical golf course requires the amount of water that would feed 60,000 locals... plus over 3,000 pounds of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides per annum.

"Ecotourism." Oftentimes, even environmentally savvy travelers have a negative impact. By traveling to witness remote natural sites like rainforests and other dwindling and at-risk spots, tourist often damage the things they came to see.

Invasive Organisms. Tourism can spread non-native species. The increased human presence from many diverse geographical regions has a detrimental affect on native plants and introduces non-native species in these areas.

Negative Effects of Human Interaction With Wildlife. Increased human presence can severely damage the delicate balance of the food webs, ecological communities, and keystone species of an area.

Depletion of Natural Resources. Tourism can put pressure on natural resources and encourages over-consumption. This is particularly damaging in spots where resources like food and water are already scarce.

Environmental Pros and Cons of Tourism

Benefits
Detriments
If managed properly, it can provide economic incentives for a place to preserve, maintain, and regenerate the local history, infrastructure, and environment.
Tourism often causes environmental damage to both the local infrastructure and the flora, fauna, and historical sites in a location.
Ecotourism might promote environmental awareness and activism.
Tourism depletes natural resources, which can be dangerous in areas where resources are scarce.
*
Tourism contributes to pollution.

The fact that television and tourism have made the whole world accessible has created the illusion that we enjoy intimate knowledge of other places, when we barely scratch their surface. For the vast majority, the knowledge of Thailand or Sri Lanka acquired through tourism consists of little more than the whereabouts of the beach.

— Martin Jacques

Cultural Benefits of Traveling

The Opportunity to Challenge Stereotypes

When you visit another culture, you have the opportunity to be exposed to unfamiliar traditions and perspectives and to gain a broader, more informed, and kinder view of both the people and places you meet and of humanity and the world as a whole. Preconceptions and stereotypes might be replaced by complexity, empathy, and first-hand knowledge.

On the other hand, those that travel with a group and don't interact with locals or merely visit tourist sites and never wander off the beaten path may not enjoy this benefit at all. Merely visiting a place is not enough to expose a person to culture. Learning about people takes effort.

Gaining Cultural Sensitivity

An important part of understanding a culture is getting to know its unique social manners and etiquette. Things that you think are normal or benign might be interpreted as offensive, and vice versa. Wearing shoes indoors, showing skin, pointing with your index finger, and making certain sounds might be considered rude in some places, so it's wise to do your research on the local customs and morays ahead of time.

An Authentic Experience of Culture

Experiencing a community's traditions, rituals, festivals, celebrations, and rites can be a wonderful way to gain insight into a culture. When the local people get together to observe a tradition that has been performed for many generations, it is a great opportunity to understand that culture more deeply.

However in many touristed places, you'll find traditional dance, music, and other rites performed merely for entertainment and profit. For example when staged for tourists, the Hawaiian luau, Spanish flamenco dances, and Balinese ceremonies may lose their original meaning, energy, and purpose and become merely spectacle.

Cultural Pros and Cons of Tourism

Benefits
Detriments
It promotes cross-cultural connections, appreciation, and understanding.
When tourists don't understand or respect local culture and traditions, culture clashes result.
*
The commercialization of a culture can undermine its meaning and detract from tradition.

Top 10 Tourist Destinations (Cities)

According to MasterCard's Global Destination Cities Index, the top 10 tourist cities for 2018 were:

  1. Bangkok, Thailand, with 20.05 million tourists.
  2. London, England, with 19.83 million visitors.
  3. Paris, France, with 17.44 million people visiting.
  4. Singapore, with 13.91 million tourists.
  5. New York, USA, with 13.13 million visitors.
  6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 12.58 million visitors.
  7. Tokyo, Japan, with 11.93 million tourists.
  8. Istanbul, Turkey, with 10.7 million.
  9. Seoul, South Korea, with 9.54 million.

Cheap air travel has made it much easier for lots of people to travel to different parts of the world. The subsequent boom in tourism has pros and cons.
Cheap air travel has made it much easier for lots of people to travel to different parts of the world. The subsequent boom in tourism has pros and cons. | Source

Do you think that overall, the advantages of tourism outweight the disadvantages?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • What are the benefits of tourism?

    Tourism can bring with it economic gains, jobs, investment, improvements to travel infrastructure, as well as an increase in a location's international visibility and standing.

  • What are the disadvantages for the host of a tourist destination, that is, if tourists don't respect the locals?

    In some tourist destinations, there can be problems with tourists not respecting local customs and laws. For instance, drunken or lewd behavior, dressing inappropriately in a conservative country, illegal drug use, or child prostitution can cause issues. As well as causing public upset and opening up wider social problems, it can lead to issues regarding the policing and control of such behavior. In extreme cases, some destinations have opted to either limit or even curtail tourism altogether, rather than endure its negatives.

  • What are the challenges of relying on tourism as the primary economic activity?

    Being overly reliant on tourism might result in a number of problems such as:

    1. Broad economic difficulties if there is a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or some other event which diminishes the number of visitors.

    2. Damage and wear to cultural sites due to too many visitors.

    3. Local employment becoming seasonal and mainly low paid service industry positions.

    4. Social problems such as crime, drunkenness, and sex tourism may increase.

  • What makes a country a good tourist destination?

    Common features of a popular destination might include: desirable climate, cultural and historical sites of interest, entertainment and leisure facilities, iconic architecture or landscape, a safe environment, good value for money, friendliness towards visitors, relaxed atmosphere, developed infrastructure for travel and hospitality.

  • What benefits do emerging destinations bring in terms of tourism?

    Emerging destinations generate excitement and attract the more adventurous and experienced tourists who are looking for a new experience. They are great for introducing visitors to a particular city, region, or country that has previously been neglected. If successful, emerging destinations bring development, economic growth, and employment to the area.

© 2012 Paul Goodman

Comments

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    • profile image

      Shaglin 

      3 days ago

      Most useful article especially in studies

    • profile image

      Divoni 

      5 days ago

      This helps me a lot with my easy. It was a very useful article

    • profile image

      athia 

      7 days ago

      hi...this article is really informative,and you presented in a inrtesting way.thankyou

    • profile image

      ABDUL ONE 

      5 weeks ago

      Add Your own

      List any five countries that Nigerians frequent for any particular kind of tourism and state reason for it

    • profile image

      Precious 

      5 weeks ago

      Thanks i have learned alot from these notes

    • profile image

      Moi les yeux ça va mai 

      6 weeks ago

      It is very good and detailed in a way that I actually enjoy reading so keep up the hard and the good work

    • profile image

      Anna 

      2 months ago

      It’s amazing ❤️

    • profile image

      Crown 

      2 months ago

      I like, it's useful to me a little

    • profile image

      Emmanuel blessing 

      3 months ago

      I love this article it's really of help just keep it going.

    • profile image

      Pouya 

      3 months ago

      Hi guys im from iran,kurdstan province,mariwan city.that every year lots of tourists come here due to zeribar lake and they have more advantages than disadvantages

      And this writting it is so helpful to me,thanks a billion

    • profile image

      GOFAMODIMO THOLE 

      3 months ago

      Goodman is not merely a name...but it has an excellent meaning...This information is very essential for studies and reference.

    • profile image

      Faggy Laylow 

      3 months ago

      very informative in the sense that really provides helpful information in studies

    • profile image

      Padma... 

      4 months ago

      Really I liked this article. It's more informative. please keep going....

    • profile image

      Virgomajolica 

      4 months ago

      Thank you for the very informative article. Please continue to share more of your work!

    • profile image

      me 

      6 months ago

      Thank you so much! Please write about the advantages and disadvantages of tourism on small islands. Especially, to the environment and the development.

    • profile image

      albatool 

      6 months ago

      What are some other benefits and disadvantages of tourism on the host country?

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 

      6 months ago from East London, South Africa

      A well researched article. As someone who has travelled extensively in the USA and somewhat in Europe my family and I have enjoyed our world in a wider context. A 6 month road trip in the USA in 2009 was a great experience. At the same time we now choose to travel more extensively in our own country and in so doing make a contribution to the South African economy. Sensitivity to the culture of a country is vitally important and we have always been aware of that. We have noticed that not everyone has however. Thanks for a good article!

    • profile image

      Bono 

      6 months ago

      Thank you, you helped me get an idea about my essay.

    • profile image

      Real G 

      7 months ago

      this is a proof

    • profile image

      Rondell 

      7 months ago

      Studying for cxc 2019

    • profile image

      Agbor E. Ojong Noble 

      8 months ago

      what are the reasons for tourism taking a centre stage in national economy?

    • profile image

      scott 

      8 months ago

      thanks

    • profile image

      angeles 

      8 months ago

      thank you very much it helped me do my assigment

    • profile image

      Jack 

      12 months ago

      Good job

    • profile image

      alamin 

      12 months ago

      very useful in doing my hand out

    • profile image

      lolzer 

      12 months ago

      Use this website,

      it is pretty good

    • profile image

      lawal ideraoluwa 

      13 months ago

      thanks it is very helpful

    • profile image

      smile 

      15 months ago

      this article is very much helpful for me.... special thank to author

    • profile image

      chelsea 

      19 months ago

      It,s very helpful but not to me

    • profile image

      KitKat gal 

      19 months ago

      Very helpful! Thanks for the article

    • profile image

      Jack Jones 

      20 months ago

      A very good article

    • profile image

      amol.singh 

      21 months ago

      nice

    • profile image

      Anna haihambo 

      22 months ago

      The article is very interesting and helpful , but still need someone to give me more information on tourism history

    • profile image

      Nishanth 

      2 years ago

      I support for disadvantage because it is important to protect resources than money.isnt it?

    • profile image

      student 

      2 years ago

      very helpful in doing my sba

    • profile image

      Ryan N. 

      2 years ago

      Racism is also one of the problems. Pls include that their as well. It is a major problem in the developing countries. Pls look into it.

    • profile image

      Ryan N. 

      2 years ago

      I totally agree with the disadvatages of the tourism industry. It is very rare in Sri Lanka that we get disrespectful foreigners but its a very annoying presence! It has to stop. I don't think that its fair of the locals.

    • profile image

      Ryan N. 

      2 years ago

      I loved the definitions and it certainly helped me with my assignment. This website was very helpful and provided a vast amount of imformation. Thank u.

    • profile image

      amanda mutara 

      2 years ago

      its true tourism is now the source of income in most developing countries and also local are now being employed although some of the jobs are seasonal but its better for the locals

    • bgamall profile image

      Gary Anderson 

      2 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Tourism is important because it acts like an export. Cut off tourism and you cut off the exporting effect on the economy. Great article but I am amused that Las Vegas is not at the top of total tourists list.

    • profile image

      kezy 

      2 years ago

      nice one

    • profile image

      Qpalzm 

      2 years ago

      I got 30 marks because of this website

    • profile image

      Bakajikaye Abel. 

      2 years ago

      Tourism have the both effects, bad and good but as long as it have the good effect, all i think is the good of it.

    • profile image

      Caralee W Davis 

      2 years ago

      So useful and this is really good

    • profile image

      Sujan Rai 

      2 years ago

      "Although often jobs are created by tourism, most are relatively low level, such as bar work, hotel service, restaurant serving, and so forth. They also have little prospect for promotion"

      Well I think that everyone has a role to play, and that every job fulfills a need.every job is equal.

    • profile image

      hi 

      2 years ago

      hong kong is not china ok?????????????

    • profile image

      shama 

      3 years ago

      can I ask about who is the publisher of this article ??

    • profile image

      Bhagya 

      3 years ago

      TOURISM does both good and bad to a country..However, it is indeed a major source of income to a country.....

    • profile image

      Ezile 

      3 years ago

      Tourism does more

    • profile image

      heather 

      3 years ago

      how does the tourism effect new York in a positive and negative way

    • profile image

      Coryn 

      3 years ago

      Would there be a way of having tourism without the disadvantages such as loss of culture?

    • profile image

      bijay 

      3 years ago

      thanks man

      cheers up

    • profile image

      Archie 

      3 years ago

      thanks

    • profile image

      Wizz jug 

      3 years ago

      Tourism does more

      harm than good

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very informative and intelligent analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the tourism on our economy.

    • profile image

      Jeremy 

      3 years ago

      so helpful

    • profile image

      zahra 

      4 years ago

      the ad was useful thank you!

    • profile image

      Crissta 

      4 years ago

      i found it quite useful, THANKS!

    • profile image

      mukasa samson 

      4 years ago

      thank u for this article.

    • profile image

      adeola 

      4 years ago

      Nice article

    • profile image

      lavender 

      4 years ago

      good article

    • profile image

      Jennifer.Stone 

      4 years ago

      tourist may bring disease into the country.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 

      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      true, tourism brings in money from outside but there are pros and cons for every country. The citizens will face price fluctuation which is one of the disadvantages

    • profile image

      Nishi 

      4 years ago

      good article

    • profile image

      soolaf 

      4 years ago

      Thank so mich this article help me :-)

    • profile image

      Mariam 

      4 years ago

      Tourism has some how improved

    • profile image

      aysha 

      5 years ago

      can someone put it in easier and shorter word i don't get big adult words please

    • profile image

      lili 

      5 years ago

      true

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 

      6 years ago from Pune( India)

      Sir,

      I am an Indian, Indian government encouraged tourism and hospitality industry has grown since 7Os , generated wealth and employment.

      In the third world , tourism is promoted to earn foreign exchange and flow utilized for essential imports.

      Tourism and tourist, it's multicultural concept and i feel it's good cosmopolitan world without borders, short term assimilation with territory other than homeland.

      employment and revenue are the important issues of the tourism but at the cost of grass root people. In large cities star hotels consume more water and electricity and local people suffer the most.

      Small nations without resources, then tourism is the only source to run the economy.

      If there is recession then flow of tourists reduce and affecting business and employees lose the jobs.Human resources development

      suggests that the people should be more technical and blue collar workforce is always necessary to run economy.Hotel ownership change hands then they recruit new people and sacking old

      employees. It causes social unrest if wages to unemployed not provided by government in that country.

      pramod gokhale

    • tanveerbadyari profile image

      tanveerbadyari 

      6 years ago

      it destroys the beauty and serenity of a that place.

    • profile image

      waz 

      6 years ago

      helpful

    • profile image

      zeyad hosny 

      6 years ago

      thankyou

    • tanveerbadyari profile image

      tanveerbadyari 

      7 years ago

      mass tourism is the biggest disadvantages.

    • profile image

      lovely 

      7 years ago

      good to know about

    • PaulGoodman67 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Goodman 

      7 years ago from Florida USA

      You can link to it, but please do not copy it.

    • profile image

      Nirajan Chaulagain 

      7 years ago

      100% true hub, am taking your article in my web. can i?

      ch_online15@hotmail.com

      actually am from Nepal.

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 

      7 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Great article. This is true. Tourism bring in money, especially in poorer countries, but the majority of work in these industries is done by women and children. Opportunities are there, but controls must be in place to avoid long term social problems, like teenaged drunkenness, employee abuses and so on. Voted up and interesting.

    • Chankeylong profile image

      Chankeylong 

      7 years ago from Banana Republic

      I never thought of tourists as of the potential hazard to the nature and local culture, but yeap, you are definitely right.

      Are there any ways to avoid the damage tourists can cause?

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 

      7 years ago from Utah

      Truthful hub. Voted up, marked useful and interesting.

    • stclairjack profile image

      Stclairjack 

      7 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

      good article

    • IndiePharm profile image

      IndiePharm 

      7 years ago from Niš, Serbia

      But generally, tourism is a desire for both sides - tourists and inhabitants. Although there are bad sides of tourism, and there will always be, I believe that tourism is a modern-day profit, like agriculture and industry during last couple of hundred years. Tourism is great. :)

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