GENERAL INTRODUCTION PROS AND CONS
There are both positive and negative effects resulting from tourism.Positively it creates employment and economically enables the conservation of valuable space;restrains a migratory tendency within the home population improving their socio-cultural education.It encourages support of local commercialisation resulting in the free interchange of ideas,customs and sensitization of issues concerning the eco-environment.The reduction of working hours,the ever present threat of unemployment because of technological advancement and the globalisation process enables the tourism industry to provide an interesting and stimulating intensive alternative.
Just as significant are the effects of the rising cost of natural resources,water,energy.The spoiling of landscapes with land reclamation;rising levels of waste disposal;alterations to ecosystems;the extinction of rare species of animals and plants;the loss of traditional values and rising levels of prostitution,that is sex tourism.There is the narcotics trade,forest fires,together with the rising cost of housing.
There are rising levels of carbon dioxide and other contaminating gases from increasing frequencies of airflights with ozone erosion and acid rain.All kinds of ecosystems are becoming affected.Thailand is littered with golf courses that consume large amounts of pesticides and water.There is hardly anywhere in the world not affected by tourism impact .Tourism is an aspect of globalisation most sensitive to any repercussion.In the eastern region of Spain for example,Benidorm has a great concentration of hotels,accommodating nearly half a million tourists in August within an area of little more than 12 kilometres.There is also a large proportion of the population of many countries who do not participate in tourist flows but who nevertheless will become part of such flows with the emergence of new markets in Latin-America and Asia.
NEGATIVE IMPACT AND DIVERSIFICATION
There is no one clearly acknowledged method of analysing the impacts of tourism and there are a number of different criteria for its measurement.Most studies are able to display the benefits generated and contributive to the balance of payments and deployed income supplied by the government.Yet few have included the analysis of negative effects.Negative economic impact has an effect on the local scale with destinations suffering economically when dependent on tourism.Diversification if applied to the local economy is able to positively reverse such consequences with the development of tourist goods and services replacing the previous gains from traditional activities.Yet there is fragility, with instability ever present due to alteration of tourist routes,ineffective publicity,and influence from ever changing tourist fashions in response to seasonal variation of production.An inflationary spiral frequently develops.This inflationary aspect is sublimative with prices and taxes affecting the local population.It has no regard for anything existant before and it becomes patently obvious in the escalation of food prices and that of goods etc.Those who are directly involved in the industry experience improved benefit but not the local population. There occurs disruption of traditional productive sectors of capital destinations within areas of tourist development.Foreign capital is not limited to a local effect as it leaves the receiving country thereby contributing to a loss of currency.Some authorities assert that for the long term,low potential productivity from a tourist company has a depressive effect on local economic growth. Possible inflation may occur from tourist activity,the purchasing potential being greater than that of the resident population therefore leading to escalating prices for food and services.There is loss of potential economic benefits with a high dependency on foreign capital.resulting in distortion of the local economy.Concentration of economic activity becomes channeled into one type of activity,with a resultant fluctuating impact upon the level of employment.
It appears that tourism development within a country relates to an assumption of economic gain.Only tourism management with its application of various methods and principals can determine whether any economical gain will outweight the cost factor.There are staffing costs,overheads and utilities to take into account.The decision to reduce costs to a minimum might involve improved staffing rotas,and energy saving programmes.
There can be a number of positive impacts of tourism such as contributing towards a favourable balance of payments,facilitated competition with foreign banking,provision of input to the GNP(Gross National Product) and the spending multiplier.Also there are job creation opportunities and increased revenues for the government from direct taxation.There are negative impacts including costs for infrastructure development;and the over-dependence of the destination on tourists;also the aspect of low skilled work. It seems clear there is a simple principle involved here, namely that of minimising costs and maximising profits.High leakage is most likely to occur with multi national enterprises,where there is the need to promote tourism.In order to do so there has to be importation of food and beverages and capital technology accompanied by repatriation of staff. A capital outflow occurs as a result of capital investment for infrastructure from the host government. It may be argued that with restriction/control of such multi national enterprises there will be reduced capital outflow,reduced repatriation,together with switching on of a multiplier effect stimulating more spending by the tourists in the local economy.Again debatable,there is the hiring of as many local residents as possible for staff,ensuring proper salary levels with provision of training to support promotion opportunities.With the resulting reduction of staff repatriation there will occur an increase in the levels of local staff remuneration and immediately contributing to a multiplier effect with the possibility of enhancing the destination’s socio-cultural aspect.Economic choice should be accompanied by preferential influence and guidance With the diminishment of seasonality there is a need for professional marketing expertise at destinations to increase the average length of stay,the daily expenditure per head .Yet very searching evaluation is required here for such actions, while producing economic benefits which may in fact harm the environmental,socio-cultural aspects of the destination causing indirect costs.
POSITIVE SOCIAL IMPACTS
Social impacts again consist of both positive and negative effects.Positively there is the recovery and conservation of cultural values that but for the visiting tourists would have disappeared.Funds as a result are made available for preservation of artefacts and restoration of forgotten historical monuments.Local communities would be unable to provide such resources.Various tactics are applied in such privileged places of tourist interest.Many local customs have been revitalized and tourist resources are being made available for the reappearance of folklore,festivals,craft pursuits and gastronomy.There has occurred marked improvement in facilities and services such as sanitary,modes of transport,parks etc.
NEGATIVE SOCIAL IMPACTS
Nevertheless again negative impacts exist.The immediate negative factor is that of the social disparities between the indigenous population and that of the visitors.For some destinations essentially those to be found in the underprivileged countries there is a kind of imperialistic relationship with the inhabitants becoming servants of the tourists.Inevitably there arises social tension and resentment.A new kind of colonialism appears with dependency upon the foreign currency.Outside workers with better qualifications obtain the contracts.With such clear indications of the socio-economic differences the negative impact takes effect.Gaming,increasing prostitution and drugs make their appearance where previously they had not existed.Tourist arrivals are therefore linked to such manifestations.Loss of culturization occurs as a result of such negative impacts.The local population observes the tourists and then seeks to adapt to their customs paving the way for the destruction and disappearance of the very thing that the tourists originally arrived for.
DOXEY’S IRRIDEX MODEL
The socio-cultural effect therefore becomes measurable with reference to the crime rate .A management method used to measure the level of socio-cultural impact is Doxey’s Irridex Model.The model has a four stage process wherein there are diminishing returns in the local inhabitants attitude towards the visitors.Firstly there is the exploration stage where contact between both parties is of frequent occurrence and here the attitude is referred to as euphoria.There is a welcoming of contact with the outside world and there is the possibility of supplementing the household income as a result of such inflow.With increasing tourist arrivals there occurs diminishing contact with the early arrivals.The tourists become part of everyday business concerns that transforms the initial attitude into one that seeks contact and liaison for personal gain.Those residents of such a destination develop an apathetic attitude to such matters.
A further development of the model presents annoyance.The significant inflow of tourism disrupts everyday life with developing queues experienced in the local shops,traffic jams.Local business accommodates to souvenir promotion emanating a sense of alienation to the local population.A subtle inbalance is occurring subconsciously activating antagonism towards the tourists.There is a loss of control within the community because they have now become dependent upon such tourist inflows.Destination facilities as a result of increasing volume deteriorate and contribute to the attraction of a down-market visitor.The tourists now become the focus of blame for such developments.The increasing deterioration in attitude becomes a mirror of reflection and comparison of the effect of such tourism influx.
TOURISM AND DAMAGE TO THE ENVIRONMENT
The tourism impact to the environment is the most negative aspect.Wholesale damage has been caused to large areas that will be very difficult indeed to reclaim.Tourism,tourist activity as a phenomenon of mass flows requires substantial infrastructure supported by intricate service networks.Careful planning has not always been applied with a resulting deterioration of the natural and social environments.There has been a transformation of infected zones with the destruction of ecosystems;diminution in the quality and quantity of water;soil contamination;the extinction of many species of fauna;severe infection of flora,fishing depletion and the contamination of the sea.
Destruction of ecosystems arises with a massive presence of visitors.Originally the mass influx promised a get-rich-quick attitude.Those destinations with an image of a tourist paradise have become victims to ecosystem destruction.Natural clean water has been severly affected and reduced with tourist arrivals.In many instances the amount of tourists arriving has been unsustainable to local resources.The many many golf courses and residential swimming pools all affect agricultural development and the zonal ecological balance.
Soil contamination arises in many instances with substances derived from human activity that alter the chemical environment and reduces crop yield.
Many species of fauna are becoming extinct;tree populations are becoming severely depleted;there is unregulated city-planning,and uncontrolled hunting presenting an overwhelming danger to an increasing number of species.The mighty ocean’s yield of fish is becoming seriously affected.Population along the coasts has mushroomed together with second residences.To prevent an ecological disaster careful and superior planning is necessary;beyond local expertise.An overwhelming presence in the natural zones is affecting/impacting the flora in the same way.The presence of tourists in natural zones with a deluge of sporting activity such as motorbikes,mountain bikes,all land vehicles causes severe erosion of surface land inevitably affecting the flora.
Are there solutions to such problems? Or is tourism an impact generator advancing to disaster?
A global entity that is attaching attention to such problems and attempting to fulfil objectives for a sustainable tourism is the European Union.The EU with its agenda 21 has invited the local administrations to act.It recommends the following:Promotion of local production,offering ecological foods of the region containing no additives.Reduction of waste garbage and separation of the various categories for possible recycling.Usage of various technologies to save water.Purification of residual waters for irrigation and agriculture.The saving of energy with efficient washing machines,heat insulation.Respecting the environment and landscape.Promotion of public transport and bicycling.Establishment of pedestrian zones in areas of historic value.The promotion of local tourism and the support to reduce air schedules of the flight industry thereby reducing carbon emissions.Planning to facilitate contact between the visiting tourists and the local inhabitants but to deter the formation of any tourism ghettos.Planning to benefit all the local population.
MAXIMIZE AND MINIMIZE
All the factors noted above seem to suggest that the main aims concerning tourism management strategy are to maximise economic,environmental and socio-cultural benefits but to minimise associated costs.
The physical and cultural environments comprise the essential attractions for the visiting tourist to the destination.It is the responsibility of tourism management to minimize environmental damage so ensuring future business.There are a number of methods that may be applied to diminish environmental impacts.Energy saving measures eg light bulbs,toilet flushes,cleaning detergents that are environmentally friendly.The limiting of visas thereby reducing immediately the number of visitors.Educational programmes of awareness both for the visiting tourists and the locals.An increase in profit may result with the reduction of costs,applied to utilities. Even if the limitation of visas does significantly affect profit it may be considered a better option so that there is still existent the possibility of future gains with the preservation of the destination’s natural resources that are there to attract the tourists in the first place.
TO CONCLUDE;;one of the main ingredients for success of environmental policies is government involvement itself.Again it may be arguable there should be laws on land usage and the extent of building construction for the destination with the necessary infrastructure being installed to meet anticipated volume of tourist flow together with protection of natural heritages.
Tourism management methods applied to assist in maximizing positives and minimising negatives of impact for the socio-culture consist of educating about tourism;promotion of cross-cultural exchange;imposition of visitor codes;ensuring that locals have access to cultural facilities;preservation of local architecture;maintenance of authenticity;providing for the more sensitive cultural tourist with appropriate marketing;limitation of tourist numbers.
One principal that has gained attention is the carrying capacity assessment.It may be used to control and implement frontline sustainable tourism.There is a variety of applications such as the determination of a tourism development limit for a particular place and the limitation of actual visitor numbers. Hopefully it attempts to achieve sustainable tourism development as a working reality.It has not met with the anticipated success because of unrealistic expectations,faulty assumptions and misplaced value judgment with an inadequate legal support system.
It perhaps has become clear to the reader that tourism management should not function alone in these matters,but work together with local government and public bodies.Legal implementation is a central issue because if there is to be a restriction of visas for example there has to be assistance from such a quarter.Success breeds success and so tourism management and government will hum the same tune.
The methods referred to above all have the same principal;that of protection for the host destination rather than a focus upon tourism demand.Obviously the demand has to be considered but it is the design of the tourist product that should be the main focus.Application of such principals referred to in the foregoing discussion will hopefully result in sustainable tourism for the future.