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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism

St Augustine Beach in Florida, USA.  Florida is a major tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers.  The state continues to thrive, thanks in part to the substantial income generated by tourists.
St Augustine Beach in Florida, USA. Florida is a major tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers. The state continues to thrive, thanks in part to the substantial income generated by tourists. | Source

So many places in the world rely heavily on tourism as a key source of income and employment nowadays, as well as a way of showing off national and local heritage, plus perceived successes.

Unfortunately, tourism can also be a source of problems too, especially if it is not managed correctly. A constant flow of foreign visitors can, for instance, undermine the beauty, uniqueness, character, and social coherence of a tourist destination over time.

It is easy to underestimate the scale of world tourism without being aware of the figures. There were estimated to be around 983 million international tourist arrivals In 2011 — this is nearly a 5 percent increase on the numbers in the previous year.

Travelers in those sorts of numbers can easily present huge challenges and problems for many destinations, including transport, places to stay, policing, and maintenance.

This article lists the main advantages and disadvantages of tourism.

I don't look down on tourism. I live in Hawaii where we have 7 million visitors a year. If they weren't there, there would be no economy. So I understand why a tourist economy is necessary.

— Paul Theroux
Tourists outside Buckingham Palace in London, UK.  Cities such as London generate enormous amounts of income from the tourist industry.  European countries generally have the infrastructure to cope with high numbers, some poorer countries struggle.
Tourists outside Buckingham Palace in London, UK. Cities such as London generate enormous amounts of income from the tourist industry. European countries generally have the infrastructure to cope with high numbers, some poorer countries struggle. | Source

In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion.

— Robert Runcie

Advantages

  • It brings in money. This is probably the main advantage of tourism and the reason why it has been promoted so much in recent years in developing countries especially. Whether in developing or developed countries, the income generated can make up a significant proportion of the national income.

  • It provides jobs for the locals. Hotels, bars, transport, shops, and restaurants all need staffing. Tourism can provide much-needed employment for people.
  • It raises the profile of the place generally. Tourism gives the locality a chance to show itself off and raise its profile in the world.
  • It can provide a incentive for investment in infrastructure such as roads and rail networks, as well as funding local medical and education facilities.
  • It can provide economic incentives for a place to preserve, regenerate, and provide upkeep in their urban and wildlife areas.
  • Visitors promote international links, which can provide more business and cultural connections in the medium to long term.

Bangkok, Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.  Approximately 15.98 million people visited the city in 2013.  Bangkok is famous for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, and its notorious red-light district.
Bangkok, Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Approximately 15.98 million people visited the city in 2013. Bangkok is famous for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, and its notorious red-light district. | Source

Did You Know?

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

- For every 1 job created in the core tourism industry, around 1.5 extra, or indirect jobs are created in the wider tourism-related economy.

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

The global phenomenon of poverty tourism - or 'poorism' - has become increasingly popular during the past few years. Tourists pay to be guided through the favelas of Brazil and the shantytowns of South Africa. The recently opened Los Angeles Gang Tour carries visitors through battle-scarred territories of urban violence and deprivation.

— Leslie Jamison

Disadvantages

  • Tourism can often cause environmental damage with things like pollution and forest fires. Even if tourists behave responsibly, the sheer number of the them can cause problems. Things like ancient buildings, monuments, and temples often struggle to cope with the vast amounts of tourist traffic and they suffer wear and tear or damage.
  • 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.

Top 10 Tourist Destinations (Cities)

According to MasterCard's new Global Destination Cities Index, the top 10 tourist cities for 2013 were:

  1. Bangkok, Thailand, with 15.98 million tourists.
  2. London, England, with 15.96 million visitors
  3. Paris, France, with 13.92 million people visiting.
  4. Singapore, with 11.75 tourists.
  5. New York, USA, with 11.52 million visitors.
  6. Istanbul, Turkey, with 10.37 million people visiting.
  7. Dubai, with 9.9 million tourists.
  8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9.2 million visitors.
  9. Hong Kong, China, 8.72 million people visiting.
  10. Barcelona, Spain, 8.41 million tourists.

  • Tourists can often lack respect for local traditions and culture, not following local dress standards, getting drunk in public, or behaving rudely or inappropriately towards locals.
  • 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.
  • Tourism jobs are quite commonly seasonal and insecure with no extra benefits, such as pensions, sick pay, or health care. Some areas can be inundated with visitors during busy times, and then virtually deserted for many months.
  • 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.
  • Often times, most of the tourism industry (travel companies and hotels, for one) in a developing country is actually owned by big foreign companies. They make the major profits, leaving local businesses with relatively little benefit.
  • There is often an imbalance, where it becomes so successful 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. This can lead to political upheaval, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters, and tourism consequently dips or dries up altogether.

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
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 brought about both advantages and disadvantages.  There is no doubt that tourists can transform a destination.
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 brought about both advantages and disadvantages. There is no doubt that tourists can transform a destination. | Source

Tourism, human circulation considered as consumption is fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal.

— Guy Debord
The Eiffel Tower in Paris.  Paris is the third most popular tourist destination worldwide and home to the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre.  It also boasts the 12th Century Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris. Paris is the third most popular tourist destination worldwide and home to the most visited art museum in the world, the Louvre. It also boasts the 12th Century Notre Dame Cathedral. | Source

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

See results

© 2012 Paul Goodman

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Comments 37 comments

IndiePharm profile image

IndiePharm 4 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. :)


stclairjack profile image

stclairjack 4 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

good article


pmccray profile image

pmccray 4 years ago from Utah

Truthful hub. Voted up, marked useful and interesting.


Chankeylong profile image

Chankeylong 4 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?


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 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.


Nirajan Chaulagain 4 years ago

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

ch_online15@hotmail.com

actually am from Nepal.


PaulGoodman67 profile image

PaulGoodman67 4 years ago from Florida USA Author

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


lovely 4 years ago

good to know about


tanveerbadyari profile image

tanveerbadyari 3 years ago

mass tourism is the biggest disadvantages.


zeyad hosny 3 years ago

thankyou


waz 3 years ago

helpful


tanveerbadyari profile image

tanveerbadyari 3 years ago

it destroys the beauty and serenity of a that place.


pramodgokhale profile image

pramodgokhale 3 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


lili 2 years ago

true


aysha 2 years ago

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


Mariam 23 months ago

Tourism has some how improved


soolaf 21 months ago

Thank so mich this article help me :-)


Nishi 20 months ago

good article


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months 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


Jennifer.Stone 19 months ago

tourist may bring disease into the country.


lavender 18 months ago

good article


adeola 17 months ago

Nice article


mukasa samson 15 months ago

thank u for this article.


Crissta 14 months ago

i found it quite useful, THANKS!


zahra 12 months ago

the ad was useful thank you!


Jeremy 8 months ago

so helpful


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 6 months ago from Hyderabad, India

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


Wizz jug 5 months ago

Tourism does more

harm than good


Archie 5 months ago

thanks


bijay 4 months ago

thanks man

cheers up


N Bless 3 months ago

I love tourism , most especially as it's got to do with travelling.good it's improving especially here in Cameroon with lot's of it's greenlight.


Coryn 2 months ago

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


heather 7 weeks ago

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


Ezile 7 weeks ago

Tourism does more


Bhagya 6 weeks ago

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


Tanzanian 9 days ago

something very interesting


shama 8 days ago

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

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    PaulGoodman67 profile image

    Paul Goodman (PaulGoodman67)495 Followers
    58 Articles

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



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