Travel & Tourism, Impacts of Tourism

Positive and negatice impacts of tourism on the following:
Economic
Environmental
Socio-Cultural
Political 

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Economic - Positive impacts

Positive impacts on the economy:

  • Creating employment opportunities, direct and indirect, for host population/locals and global companies
    - direct -jobs within hotels, restaurants, catering and hospitality
    - indirect -indirectly related to the direct jobs, including aspects such as maintainence and repair work
    -host population -job opportunities for the local people, for example, becoming tour guides around certain areas of the destination as they will have advanced and original knowledge they can use to educate tourists
     
  • Ensuring balance of payments - this inclued making sure that the balance of payments and foreign currency earnings are equal and the income earned can be used by the country's governments to fund resources and facilities that will benefit both the tourists and the host population, for example, libraries
  • Improved infrastructure - this means improving and ammending a variety of different aspects such as transport links and access including roads and airports and other factors such as communication facilities and waste disposal
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Economic - Negative impacts

Negative impacts on the economy:

  • Decline of local/traditional employment opportunities - large global and international holiday companies provide popular accommodation options but where the hotels are owned by these private companies, the staff employed are normally from the company/organisation and locals are not offered job opportunities as they are seen as not having the correct or standard skills and qualities
    - in addition to this, the money and income made by the global companies doesn't directly benefit the host population as instead it goes straight back into the companies finances 
  • Increased living costs - many tourists and visitors decide that they would like to buy a property at their chosen destination and the development of these is costing the local economy vast amounts of money. The result and impact of this on the host population is that the cost of buying property is constantly increasing and this means that smaller numbers of locals can afford to do so.
  • In some destinations, for example Majorca, popular resorts can become extremely reliant on the income provided by tourism (85%). This can then link to the loss of traditional employment opportunites and using Majorca as an example again, only 2-5% of GDP is earned in popular resorts through traditional labour such as agriculture and farming.
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Environment - Positive impacts

Positive impacts on the environment:

  • Conservation - the conservation and protection of environmental areas, AONBs (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and heritage sites is usually achieved through the work of voluntary organisations. The National Trust works to protect both land and coastlines through implications such as designated footpaths and the distribution of resources such as leaflets and booklets which work to educate tourists. The English Herritage on the other hand mainly focuses on the protection and conservation of historical buildings and landmarks. In connection to the economy, the income received to ensure that these organisations can continue is received through aspects such as donations and entrance fees to the designated sites.
  • Regeneration - the regeneration of run down areas benefits the environment particulary visually. An example of this is the regeneration of Portsmouth dockyard which has now incorporated a large shopping, dining and entertainment complex. 
  • Building regulations - building regulations are put in place to ensure that planned development projects do not affect protected and conserved areas of the environment. These decisions are made through local governemts but are strongly influenced through the input of voluntary groups
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Environment - Negative impacts

Negative impacts on the environment:

  • Pollution - this can occur in a variety of ways and link to a range of different aspects, for example, air pollution is caused by overcrowding particularly through the excessive use of  cars. The increasingly easy access to cheap car rentals results in tourists disregarding the option of using local/public transport which could transport larger groups of visitors than independent travel. Visual pollution/panoramic view damage is also a problem due to the creation and development of hotels/motels/resort complexes. For example, if you booked to stay at a seaside resort there is the common problem that the views expected are 'blotted' by towering buildings that are being constantly developed.
  • Erosion of natural resources - the erosion and destruction of natural resources such as woodland and coastal footpaths means that there is restricted access to the areas that are the main reason for tourists to visit the destination. This may then lead to a decline in the appeal to visitors and tourists as the original and natural attractions that enhanced the appeal of the attraction will not be sustained for future visitors
  • Destruction of natural wildlife systems/breeding patterns - once again the result of this may lead to a decrease in visitor numbers as the wildlife in beach destinations such as turtles are a popular reason why tourists visit the area. In addition, linking back to the negative impact of litter, tourists may be under-educated about the natural wildlife and their careless attitudes and behavior may lead to driving the natural wildlife away from the area
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Socio-cultural - Positive impacts

Positive impacts on socio-cultural aspects:

  • Preservation of customs and crafts - this is important to all destinations whether they be large cities or small villages as it will ensure that the traditions and customs of the destinations are recognized by all visitors. This can be commonly seen through aspects such as family trades for example through town or village markets selling home-made souvenirs. This can also be seen as having a positive affect on the economy as the money made from these trade sales is deposited straight back into the local/host economy.
  • Provision of community facilities and public services - this can link to the previous point as the money and income being earned and deposited into the host economy is used to provide amenities, facilities and public services that will not only benefit the tourists but they will also be available for equal use by the host population. Examples of these services can include toilets, libraries and even improved infrastructure and communication.
  • Aiding of understanding - this can be achieved through good communication between visitors/tourists and the local residents/community. Whilst large international companies may establish large complex and project developments, the local community can provide more genuine opportunities and information to the tourists. The aim of this is to educate tourists so that they are aware of the traditional culture instead of purely relying on the materialistic provisions from tour companies. This will then result in a mutual understanding and respect between tourists and the host population. 
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Socio-cultural - Negative impacts

Negative impacts on socio-cultural aspects:

  • Conflicts with the host community - whilst a positive impact is trying to aid understanding between the host population and the tourists, there may still be members of the local community who do not support and oppose the increasing number of tourists visiting the destination. This has been seen to then result in less jobs being available in hotels and resorts for the locals as their dislike for the industry may be seen by tourists. An example from a case study showed that some global companies only offered jobs to locals once they had been trained to meet the companies customer service standards.
  • Loss of cultural identity - this is clearly evident in destinations such as Majorca and Ibiza where there seems to be a constantly developing 'English club culture'. Increasing numbers of English based restaurants, pubs and clubs are present in these destinations and it seems to attract in particular teenagers and young adults. This means that there is a loss of cultural identity and traditions including food and entertainment amenities. 
  • Social problems e.g. begging/prostitution - some individuals within the community may resort to these actions in order to gain independent money from wealth international tourist visitors and whilst numbers of those involved may be minimal, it can lead to creating a negative impression towards the entire local area.
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Political - Positive & Negative impacts

Positive impacts on political aspects:

  • Creating a sense of national identity/national pride - tourism can create a positive impact on the recognition and promotion of a certain area or destination and can then also lead to creating understanding and appreciation between local residents and international visitor

Negative impacts on political aspects:

  • Conflict - political conflicts and problems can lead to creating a negative image and impression of a destination which will significantly reduce its appeal. This will then lead to having a negative impact economically for hotel companies and airline operators who supply trips to the area as they will need to cancel operations and face giving refunds to customers.
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