To be or not to be: A Tourist

By Jacqui McLean

The controversy of tourism is a long lived debate, as made evident by our “issue of the issue” section regarding tourism. Despite what you may believe, there are both positive and negative aspects to tourism. The following highlight some of the benefits, as well as drawbacks of tourism. 

To be a Tourist: 

Economic Benefits: Tourism can prop up the economy of many countries and small communities who rely on tourists for revenue. Tourism provides jobs and wealth to areas that would otherwise lack such capital. 

Cultural Exchange: Tourism can be a great facet for the exchange of cultures. Tourism provides individuals with an opportunity to discover new cultures and people, opening their eyes to different ways of life. Cultural exchange is vital for acceptance and camaraderie between cultures. 

Preservation of landmarks and ecosystems: Since tourists bring attention and money to historic sights and parks, the governments of these countries are more likely to value these locations and protect them. For example, tourism at National Parks helps provide funding and ensure preservation of the parks. 

To not be a Tourist: 

Overuse/Waste Resources: Tourists, especially those in luxury hotels, typically use more natural resources than necessary. For example, they use exorbitant amounts of water and are incredibly wasteful when it comes to their eating habits. 

Cultural Appropriation: While tourists can utilize the opportunity of being in a new country to learn and appreciate a different culture, all too often they instead disrespect and degrade the culture. Wearing religious garments, buying knockoff historic replicas, or disrespecting language are all common areas of tourism that negatively affect the host country. 

Economic Depletion: On the flip side of economic benefits, tourism can destroy economies by driving prices up and forcing locals out of their homes. Tourists bring in an abundance of wealth but it can disrupt the economy of smaller countries and actually ruin the standard of living for those who live there.