Правительство Санкт-Петербурга




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1.5. Tourism, its advantages and disadvantages


Read the article on tourism and then complete the tasks below it.

Tourism


Mathieson and Wall (1982) created a good working definition of tourism as "the temporary movement of people to destinations outside their normal places of work and residence, the activities undertaken during their stay in those destinations, and the facilities created to cater to their needs."

According to Macintosh and Goeldner (1986) tourism is "the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the interaction of tourists, business suppliers, host governments and host communities in the process of attracting and hosting these tourists and other visitors."

Travel and tourism is one of the world's largest industries, responsible for more than 10 per cent of global GDP. About 694 million international arrivals were registered in 2003, a figure estimated to double by 2020. Currently, developing countries receive about one third of the tourism trade, a number sharply rising. Ten per cent of export earnings in developing countries come from tourism. The industry is one of the biggest global employers with more than 250 million jobs depending directly or indirectly on tourism. Sixty-five per cent of those jobs are in developing countries.

Although tourism has a big impact on local economies, cultures and ecosystems, it is one of the least regulated industries in the world. The recent wave of trade liberalization further contributes to deregulation, thereby opening destination countries further to the influx of foreign capital. This trend favours international hotel chains and tour operators at the expense of local enterprises. Ever more, big travel corporations dominate the market, selling everything from the airline ticket to “local art” in the souvenir shop. It is estimated that currently up to 50 per cent of revenues from tourism leave the country through foreign-owned businesses, imported goods, and promotional spending. In particular, the popular “all-inclusive” packages and the cruise industry leave hardly any profits for destination countries.

Of the money that stays in the country a huge proportion goes to the already better-off: local hotel owners and tour operators who co-operate with international investors to attract tourists. The economic situation of the poor, in contrast, sometimes even deteriorates as the arrival of tourist money often causes local inflation. Even for the people working in the tourist industry the benefits come at high costs: long and irregular working hours, minimal job security or seasonal work, and comparably low wages characterize employment in this sector. Additionally, tourism is a very volatile industry, susceptible to political unrest, exchange rate fluctuations and natural disasters. This makes it a dangerous path to development, in particular, for the poorest of the community. Once a fisherman or a peasant has become a cook in a tourist restaurant or a housekeeper in a hotel – likely built on the land he previously has cultivated – he hardly can return to his old occupation if the tourists stay away. In this way, tourism may turn a low, but reasonably stable and independent lifestyle into an equally low, but unstable and dependent form of living.

While the economic consequences of tourism are mixed, the environmental balance seems to be clearly negative. Globally, for instance, the increasing transport of people, in particular air traffic, accelerates the destruction of the ozone layer and causes global warming. Locally, hotel complexes, leisure parks, golf courses and the like require huge amounts of water and energy. These resources are often scarce and used at the expense of the local population. The huge amount of rubbish produced by the industry can contribute to the spread of diseases, such as cholera, among the poorest. On the other hand, tourism is said to save the environment in many parts of the world which would otherwise not have the funds to protect local fauna and flora. Fees to national parks, for example, are an important source of income for poverty-stricken governments in the South and represent an incentive to protect rather than exploit natural resources. Frequently, however, indigenous people are driven off their native land for the creation of national parks and nature reserves with exclusive access for paying tourists.

Moreover, it is not only the economic and environmental impact of tourism that is debated. The exchange of values, which is encouraged by tourism, is generally seen as a positive trend. Tourist money can help sustain indigenous culture, language or religion. Nevertheless, its influence can just as easily contribute to the destruction of the same cultures. In many cases indigenous people are exposed to tourists without prior consent and at little or no economic benefit to them. On a more general level, the spread of tourists and their habits often creates needs that had not previously existed in destination societies, thereby undermining local traditions and triggering conflicts between various interests within the population.

Travel can also be a highly politicized issue. Human rights abuses in relation to tourism are not uncommon in some parts of the world. The military regime in Burma, for instance, used forced labor to build tourist infrastructure. As a result of a huge NGO campaign, the country is now boycotted by most tour operators and independent tourists.

As tourism spreads quickly around the world, always in search of new, untouched destinations, looking for a sustainable path to tourism becomes more urgent. Some tour operators realize that the industry relies on natural and cultural diversity as well as security of the destination to attract customers. Sustainable tourism, therefore, is crucial not only for the people and environment in destination countries, but for the survival of the industry itself. Initiatives by governments, civil society groups and the travel industry include eco-tours, community-based tourism, or pro-poor tourism. All these approaches are based on various definitions as well as standards and come with their own set of problems. Eco-tourism frequently opens up formerly untouched environments to tourists and is consequently destroying local flora and fauna. Community-based tourism exposes the local population even more to the tourists, for example, in the form of home-stays, which can lead to conflicts caused by misconceptions on both sides. Considering this, even the most responsible forms of tourism contribute to a deterioration of environmental and cultural habitats. The only sustainable solution however – people staying at home – is not a feasible alternative since in many developed countries holidaying is seen as a basic right rather than a privilege.


Complete the table.


Tourism

Advantages

Disadvantages









Now, using the table, tell about the advantages and disadvantages of tourism.


Answer the questions on tourism.


  1. What images spring to mind when you hear the word ‘tourism’?

  2. How important is tourism to your country?

  3. Would you like to work in tourism?

  4. What are the good and bad things about tourism?

  5. What do you think tourism will be like in the future?

  6. What are the major tourist attractions in your country?

  7. What do you think of the idea of space tourism?

  8. How does tourism change lives?

  9. What is eco-tourism? Do you think it’s a good idea?

  10. Is there a difference between a tourist and a backpacker?

  11. Do you think tourism helps people in the world understand each other?

  12. Is tourism something that only rich people take part in?

  13. What factors affect tourism?

  14. Do tourists really get to see the real countries they visit?

  15. Are tourists in your country funny?
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