The Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism

Updated on December 11, 2017
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.

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.

  • 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

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.

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

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

— Guy Debord

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

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Paul Goodman

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Anna haihambo 12 days ago

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

      • profile image

        Nishanth 2 months ago

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

      • profile image

        student 4 months ago

        very helpful in doing my sba

      • profile image

        Ryan N. 6 months 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. 6 months 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. 6 months 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 7 months 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 7 months 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 9 months ago

        nice one

      • profile image

        Qpalzm 10 months ago

        I got 30 marks because of this website

      • profile image

        Bakajikaye Abel. 10 months 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 11 months ago

        So useful and this is really good

      • profile image

        Sujan Rai 12 months 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 13 months ago

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

      • profile image

        shama 15 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Bhagya 16 months 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 16 months ago

        Tourism does more

      • profile image

        heather 16 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Coryn 17 months ago

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

      • profile image

        bijay 19 months ago

        thanks man

        cheers up

      • profile image

        Archie 20 months ago

        thanks

      • profile image

        Wizz jug 20 months ago

        Tourism does more

        harm than good

      • Venkatachari M profile image

        Venkatachari M 21 months ago from Hyderabad, India

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

      • profile image

        Jeremy 23 months ago

        so helpful

      • profile image

        zahra 2 years ago

        the ad was useful thank you!

      • profile image

        Crissta 2 years ago

        i found it quite useful, THANKS!

      • profile image

        mukasa samson 2 years ago

        thank u for this article.

      • profile image

        adeola 2 years ago

        Nice article

      • profile image

        lavender 2 years ago

        good article

      • profile image

        Jennifer.Stone 2 years ago

        tourist may bring disease into the country.

      • peachpurple profile image

        peachy 2 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 2 years ago

        good article

      • profile image

        soolaf 2 years ago

        Thank so mich this article help me :-)

      • profile image

        Mariam 3 years ago

        Tourism has some how improved

      • profile image

        aysha 3 years ago

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

      • profile image

        lili 3 years ago

        true

      • pramodgokhale profile image

        pramodgokhale 4 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 4 years ago

        it destroys the beauty and serenity of a that place.

      • profile image

        waz 4 years ago

        helpful

      • profile image

        zeyad hosny 5 years ago

        thankyou

      • tanveerbadyari profile image

        tanveerbadyari 5 years ago

        mass tourism is the biggest disadvantages.

      • profile image

        lovely 5 years ago

        good to know about

      • PaulGoodman67 profile image
        Author

        Paul Goodman 5 years ago from Florida USA

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

      • profile image

        Nirajan Chaulagain 5 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 5 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 6 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 6 years ago from Utah

        Truthful hub. Voted up, marked useful and interesting.

      • stclairjack profile image

        Stclairjack 6 years ago from middle of freekin nowhere,... the sticks

        good article

      • IndiePharm profile image

        IndiePharm 6 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. :)

      working