Socio cultural impacts of tourism

8 August 2016

The socio-cultural impacts of tourism described here are the effects on host communities of direct and indirect relations with tourists, and of interaction with the tourism industry. For a variety of reasons, host communities often are the weaker party in interactions with their guests and service providers, leveraging any influence they might have. These influences are not always apparent, as they are difficult to measure, depend on value judgments and are often indirect or hard to identify. The impacts arise when tourism brings about changes in value systems and behaviour and thereby threatens indigenous identity.

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Furthermore, changes often occur in community structure, family relationships, collective traditional life styles, ceremonies and morality. But tourism can also generate positive impacts as it can serve as a supportive force for peace, foster pride in cultural traditions and help avoid urban relocation by creating local jobs. As often happens when different cultures meet, socio-cultural impacts are ambiguous: the same objectively described impacts are seen as beneficial by some groups, and are perceived as negative – or as having negative aspects – by other stakeholders.

NEGATIVE SOCIO CULTURAL IMPACTS OF TOURISM Tourism can cause change or loss of local identity and values, brought about by several closely related influences: Commodification Tourism can turn local cultures into commodities when religious rituals, traditional ethnic rites and festivals are reduced and sanitized to conform to tourist expectations, resulting in what has been called “reconstructed ethnicity. ” Once a destination is sold as a tourism product, and the tourism demand for souvenirs, arts, entertainment and other commodities begins to exert influence, basic changes in human values may occur.

Sacred sites and objects may not be respected when they are perceived as goods to trade. Standardization Destinations risk standardization in the process of satisfying tourists’ desires for familiar facilities. While landscape, accommodation, food and drinks, etc. , must meet the tourists’ desire for the new and unfamiliar, they must at the same time not be too new or strange because few tourists are actually looking for completely new things. Tourists often look for recognizable facilities in an unfamiliar environment, like well-known fast-food restaurants and hotel chains. Loss of authenticity and staged authenticity

Adapting cultural expressions and manifestations to the tastes of tourists or even performing shows as if they were “real life” constitutes “staged authenticity”. As long as tourists just want a glimpse of the local atmosphere, a quick glance at local life, without any knowledge or even interest, staging will be inevitable. Adaptation to tourist demands Tourists want souvenirs, arts, crafts, and cultural manifestations, and in many tourist destinations, craftsmen have responded to the growing demand, and have made changes in design of their products to bring them more in line with the new customers’ tastes.

While the interest shown by tourists also contributes to the sense of self-worth of the artists, and helps conserve a cultural tradition, cultural erosion may occur due to the commodification of cultural goods. Culture clashes Because tourism involves movement of people to different geographical locations, and establishment of social relations between people who would otherwise not meet, cultural clashes can take place as a result of differences in cultures, ethnic and religious groups, values and lifestyles, languages, and levels of prosperity.

The result can be an overexploitation of the social carrying capacity (limits of acceptable change in the social system inside or around the destination) and cultural carrying capacity (limits of acceptable change in the culture of the host population) of the local community. The attitude of local residents towards tourism development may unfold through the stages of euphoria, where visitors are very welcome, through apathy, irritation and potentially antagonism, when anti-tourist attitudes begin growing among local people. Cultural clashes may further arise through: Economic inequality

Many tourists come from societies with different consumption patterns and lifestyles than what is current at the destination, seeking pleasure, spending large amounts of money and sometimes behaving in ways that even they would not accept at home. One effect is that local people that come in contact with these tourists may develop a sort of copying behavior, as they want to live and behave in the same way. Especially in less developed countries, there is likely to be a growing distinction between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, which may increase social and sometimes ethnic tensions.

In resorts in destination countries such as Jamaica, Indonesia or Brazil, tourism employees with average yearly salaries of US$ 1,200 to 3,000 spend their working hours in close contact with guests whose yearly income is well over US$ 80,000. Irritation due to tourist behavior Tourists often, out of ignorance or carelessness, fail to respect local customs and moral values. When they do, they can bring about irritation and stereotyping. They take a quick snapshot and are gone, and by so acting invade the local peoples’ lives. Job level friction

In developing countries especially, many jobs occupied by local people in the tourist industry are at a lower level, such as housemaids, waiters, gardeners and other practical work, while higher-paying and more prestigious managerial jobs go to foreigners or “urbanized” nationals. Due to a lack of professional training, as well as to the influence of hotel or restaurant chains at the destination, people with the know-how needed to perform higher level jobs are often attracted from other countries. This may cause friction and irritation and increases the gap between the cultures.

Even in cases where tourism “works”, in the sense that it improves local economies and the earning power of local individuals, it cannot solve all local social or economic problems. Sometimes it substitutes new problems for old ones. Physical influences causing social stress The physical influences that the increasing tourism flow, and its consequent developments, have on a destination can cause severe social stress as it impacts the local community. Socio-cultural disadvantages evolve from: Resource use conflicts, such as competition between tourism and local

populations for the use of prime resources like water and energy because of scarce supply. Stress to local communities can also result from environmental degradation and increased infrastructure costs for the local community – for example, higher taxes to pay for improvements to the water supply or sanitation facilities. Cultural deterioration. Damage to cultural resources may arise from vandalism, littering, pilferage and illegal removal of cultural heritage items. A common problem at archaeological sites in countries such as Egypt, Colombia, Mexico and Peru is that poorly paid guards supplement their income by selling artifacts to tourists.

Furthermore, degradation of cultural sites may occur when historic sites and buildings are unprotected and the traditionally built environment is replaced or virtually disappears. Conflicts with traditional land-uses, especially in intensely exploited areas such as coastal zones, which are popular for their beaches and islands. Conflicts arise when the choice has to be made between development of the land for tourist facilities or infrastructure and local traditional land-use.

The indigenous population of such destinations is frequently the loser in the contest for Ethical issues Partly due to the above impacts, tourism can create more serious situations where ethical and even criminal issues are involved. Crime generation Crime rates typically increase with the growth and urbanization of an area, and growth of mass tourism is often accompanied by increased crime. The presence of a large number of tourists with a lot of money to spend, and often carrying valuables such as cameras and jewelry, increases the attraction for criminals and brings with it activities like robbery and drug dealing.

Repression of these phenomena often exacerbates social tension. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, tourists staying in beachside five star resorts close to extremely poor communities in hillside “favelas” (shantytowns) are at risk of pickpockets and stick-ups. Security agents, often armed with machine guns, stand guard nearby in full sight, and face aggressive reactions from locals who are often their neighbors when they go home. Tourism can also drive the development of gambling, which may cause negative changes in social behavior.

Child labour studies show that many jobs in the tourism sector have working and employment conditions that leave much to be desired: long hours, unstable employment, low pay, little training and poor chances for qualification. In addition, recent developments in the travel and tourism trade (liberalization, competition, concentration, drop in travel fares, growth of subcontracting) and introduction of new technologies seem to reinforce the trend towards more precarious, flexible employment conditions. For many such jobs young children are recruited, as they are cheap and flexible employees.

Prostitution and sex tourism The commercial sexual exploitation of children and young women has paralleled the growth of tourism in many parts of the world. Though tourism is not the cause of sexual exploitation, it provides easy access to it. Tourism also brings consumerism to many parts of the world previously denied access to luxury commodities and services. The lure of this easy money has caused many young people, including children, to trade their bodies in exchange for T-shirts, personal stereos, bikes and even air tickets out of the country.

In other situations children are trafficked into the brothels on the margins of the tourist areas and sold into sex slavery, very rarely earning enough money to escape. POSITIVE SOCIO CULTURAL IMPACTS FROM TOURISM Tourism as a force for peace Traveling brings people into contact with each other and, as tourism has an educational element, it can foster understanding between peoples and cultures and provide cultural exchange between hosts and guests. Because of this, the chances increase for people to develop mutual sympathy and understanding and to reduce their prejudices.

For example, jobs provided by tourism in Belfast, Northern Ireland, are expected to help demobilize paramilitary groups as the peace process is put in place. In the end, sympathy and understanding can lead to a decrease of tension in the world and thus contribute to peace. Strengthening communities Tourism can add to the vitality of communities in many ways. One example is that events and festivals of which local residents have been the primary participants and spectators are often rejuvenated and developed in response to tourist interest.

The jobs created by tourism can act as a vital incentive to reduce emigration from rural areas. Local people can also increase their influence on tourism development, as well as improve their job and earnings prospects, through tourism-related professional training and development of business and organizational skills. Facilities developed for tourism can benefit residents As tourism supports the creation of community facilities and services that otherwise might not have been developed, it can bring higher living standards to a destination.

Benefits can include upgraded infrastructure, health and transport improvements, new sport and recreational facilities, restaurants, and public spaces as well as an influx of better-quality commodities and food. Revaluation of culture and traditions Tourism can boost the preservation and transmission of cultural and historical traditions, which often contributes to the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, the protection of local heritage, and a renaissance of indigenous cultures, cultural arts and crafts. Tourism encourages civic involvement and pride

Tourism also helps raise local awareness of the financial value of natural and cultural sites and can stimulate a feeling of pride in local and national heritage and interest in its conservation. More broadly, the involvement of local communities in tourism development and operation appears to be an important condition for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. These are some positive consequences of tourism that can arise only when tourism is practiced and developed in a sustainable and appropriate way. Involving the local population is essential.

A community involved in planning and implementation of tourism has a more positive attitude, is more supportive and has a better chance to make a profit from tourism than a population passively ruled – or overrun – by tourism. One of the core elements of sustainable tourism development is community development, which is a process and a capacity to make decisions that consider the long-term economy, ecology and equity of all communities. A positive impact could be that tourism is a way of experiencing other cultures and when you experience new things it broadens knowledge and so influences your own culture.

Positive impact: 1- Reasonable foreign currency income for the state. 2- Slight development of tourism infrastructure. 3- Marginal increase in employment levels in industries related to the travel sector- hospitality, travel agencies and tour operators, transportation etc. 4- Sustainance of domestic airlines, charters and to some extent, shipping, to some degree. 5- Better awareness of foreign cultures and traditions, needs of tourists etc. SOCIO CULTURAL IMPACTS OF TOURISM ON HOST COMMUNITIES The cultural impacts of tourism on the host communities

The impact that tourism has on the cultural lives of communities is one of the most important issues debated by tourism researchers and academics today. There is an increasingly growing concern that tourism development is leading to destinations losing their cultural identity by catering for the perceived needs of tourists. Although they take longer to appear, the cultural consequences of tourist activity have the potential to be much more damaging in the long term than environmental or social effects. In many countries, tourists are not sensitive to local customs, traditions and standards.

Offence is given without intent, as tourists are short-stay visitors carrying with them their own cultural norms and behavioural patterns. They are usually unwilling to change these norms for a temporary stay – and may be unaware that these norms are offensive to the host community. Commercialisation of traditional cultural events and customs is leading to ‘fake folklore’ for the tourists, but more importantly, with no cultural value for the local population or the visitors. The issue is the potential conflict between the economic and cultural interests, leading to culture being sacrificed for reasons of promoting tourism i.e. creating an additional economic value at the price of losing a cultural value. IMPACTS OF TOURISM IN HOST COMMUNITIES Tourism is one of the most important worldwide activities; it is also of great importance to the socio-economic and cultural development of a country. Tourism is a vital tool for conservation of natural systems, contributes to sustainable development of local communities and creating communities about sharing experiences. But if this activity is disorganized, uncontrolled and poorly planned can cause damage to both, environmental and cultural.

People started feeling the necessity to travel when they realise the world was full of new and different things to do, and at the same time those things offer them new lifestyle. However they were not only with the intention to visit and learned, they wanted to establish and teach their own traditions to these new places and societies. Nevertheless, not all people change the community, the majority of time community changes the idea of what would be an appropriate lifestyle of those new members. For this reason we can say that tourism has been creating positive and negative impacts on host communities.

On the other hand, when people decide to travel the cultural factor plays an important role at the moment decision is about to make. Tourists usually choose a destination completely different to their current environment. That is why this essay will discuss the good and bad consequences tourism cause on host communities. In addition, it will argue about the importance of the cultural factor within the tourism. Negative impacts on host communities It is hard to think that tourism an activity that can make feel happy can carry negative impacts.

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