Tourism – considered by a safe estimate to be the fastest growing civil industry of the world, is also falling prey to the emerging global consumer culture in which globalization impacts the services being provided or the dominant consumer culture (Wahab & Cooper, 2003, p. 98). It is considered to be the largest employer of the world, hiring almost 10% of world’s population actively working civil organizations etc. Obviously, an industry so large and employing such a wide variety of resources – from man-made to natural, does exercise wide and varied impacts all across the globe. Perhaps, the greatest impact of tourism is its economic impact.
Tourism has a deep and far-reaching impact on job creation trends in the host country as well as creation and maintenance of public services and facilities (Egan & Neild, 2003). A recent study undertaken by the Department of Environment Inner Cities Directorate, analyzed around 20 different tourism projects and discussed the creation of almost 1,200 permanent jobs related to the tourism industry (Egan & Neild, 2003). This highly profitable commercial activity impacts the private sector, both the multinational corporate sector as well as the small, home industry corporate sector.
Since it is mainly a commercial activity, the central goals are product development, servicing of clientele, a particularly time-tested means of earning precious foreign exchange and earning satisfactory commercial returns. The tourism industry has developed another field – that of client servicing. It has assisted in the evolution of global, standardized, homogenized provision of services and tourism promotional services to “meet global consumer tastes” (Wahab & Cooper, 2001, p. 98). A more observant, demanding and discerning tourist has resulted in the tourism industry and host countries rethinking their service provision strategies.
Effort is now made to provide increasingly personal experiences that involve products and services tailored to meet the individual needs and demands of the tourist frequenting their countries, famous destinations and patronizing their hospitality industry. The customer now impacts the product and service development processes taking place throughout the industry and high standards of product design, efficiency as well as more varied, personal and authentic experiences, coupled with a wide range of new, imaginative, tourism products are formulated keeping their needs in mind.
The growing trend of mass tourism or charter tourism impacts the social fabric of the country as well as the people along with impacting the economy and the tourism industry. Locations such as some parts of Europe, Hawaii etc. are hotspots of mass tourism and the major impact lies behind the high number of visitors descending on these locations on a daily basis. These visitors are catered to by the general population that depends solely on their huge numbers and their regular visits to sustain the economy that has come to depend on their regular visits.
Small industries such as handicrafts etc. thrive, along with the hospitality industry catering to all types of tourists hailing from all types of economic backgrounds. These tourists demand luxuries and pampering along with provision of all possible forms of personalized services as traveling is a special occasion that demands spending beyond ordinary amounts. As Smith (1989) points out that this type of tourism “stimulates the hosts to maintain specially designed receptive institutions, even if the travelers are unaware of the degree to which they are being catered” (p.
35). Tourists descend on small islands and towns utilizing the services offered by the local hospitality industry, expecting authentic cultural experiences in return and leave quickly without realizing the sheer physical impact of thousands of tourists arriving constantly on small islands can have on the cultures, the community, the ecology and the environment. In addition, the total dependence of small tourist communities on tourism alone can turn disastrous and particularly destructive when faced with global economic crisis such as recession etc.
that would effectively ruin the sole source of income for whole communities. Meanwhile, the domination of outside communities over the economy as well as the collective cultural lives could increase resentment of host country citizens against tourists that might be considered more a nuisance than a source of livelihood. Tourism, and the chosen destination, surprisingly impacts the tourist himself too as well as his native country. Sex tourism and drugs tourism are becoming a common problem and tourists, especially youth and businessmen arrive back home infected with not just sexually transmitted diseases etc.
, the sexual licentiousness and drug addictions impact the home society negatively too. Yet, it must be admitted that increase inter-cultural contact allows students and educational tourist to bring back home enriching experiences and newer insights into world culture, tolerance etc. This exposure to newer cultures also helps create strong bonds with the countries visited and it is not uncommon for tourists to then buy properties as retirement homes to come and live in during old age or even during annual vacations.
Tourism, the fastest growing industry of the world has far reaching impacts. Besides posing a threat to local ecology, environment, wildlife and historical heritage, it can also negatively impact the tourist and his native homeland too as the drug and sex culture is brought back into the native country. Yet, tourism provides the necessary revenue for the airline industry, travel agents, small businesses, shops, restaurants and most importantly, the fast expanding hospitality industry that is busy constructing more and more hotels and accommodation centers to face the growing demands.
References Egan, D. & Neild, K. (2003). The Economic Impact of Tourism – A Critical Review. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Retrieved March 29, 2009 from: http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_hb1385/is_2_10/ai_n29029709. Smith, V. L. (Ed. ). (1989). Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism (2nd ed. ). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Wahab, S. & Cooper, C. (Eds. ). (2001). Tourism in the Age of Globalisation. London: Routledge.