Impact of Tourism in Developing Nations (LEDCs)
Tourism is the act of traveling for adventure or recreation. In many countries around the globe, tourism is an economic powerhouse that benefits both the tourists and the hosts (Vanhove, 2011). Many Nations are doing well in the tourism niche, more so countries that occupy a sizeable coastal land because they have an appealing touch to both local and foreign tourists. However, there is a perception that tourism causes socio-cultural and environmental detriments in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) while generating little economic benefits. This essay will contend that the benefits paid by tourism in LEDCs outweigh the environmental or socio-economic problems it is purported to course. Citing Rwanda as an example, the paper will highlight how tourism has brought positive economic prospects into LEDCs rather than the perceived ecological/socio-economic detriment. The essay will source substantial references and analyze available statistical data to back up this argument.
As stated earlier, tourism is an economic powerhouse and a lucrative source of income for some countries. In other words, Nations with popular tourist destinations collect a lot of revenue from visitors and residents as well. For instance, in 2016 Rwanda earned an income of $400 million from tourism alone. In the previous year, the state recorded a $318 million profit (Boyle, 2016). The money can be used to improve the tourism sect by building new destination sites and fixing environmental damages caused by tourism activities. For example, Rwanda has actively used its revenue to construct other tourist parks like Gishwati-Mukura (Downey, 2016). These newly developed parks will attract more visitors into the country that will, in turn, generate more revenue.
Alternatively, the income generated from tourism can be leveraged into other state projects that promote infrastructure, security, and education among others. Foreign visitors bring foreign exchange to developing countries. Consequently, the recipients can use these earnings to enhance other economic fields. Rwanda is among the fastest growing Nations in East and Central Africa. The rapid growth is attributed to the revenue tapped directly from tourism. Therefore, the state must invest more in infrastructure and quality services to attract more visitors. The conspicuously beautiful roads in Rwanda are a clear reflection of the benefits tourism can offer (Groenewald, 2015). The state of security in the country has significantly improved over the past ten years. Security is one of the most valued aspects that a country must consider especially in the tourism sect.
Any country that counts on Tourism as a source of income needs to allocate more funds towards infrastructural provisions: roads, housing facilities, and other recreation amenities. Such measures can create jobs for the residents and improve their state of living. Statistics show that many developing countries struggle with unemployment and majority of the local graduates end up jobless. For that reason, these countries embrace any avenue that promises to create employment opportunities for their denizens. Hitherto, LECDs governments are looking at opportunities in the tourism sect to create jobs that will benefit both the public and private sectors. Most of them have one ambition, to supplement the public sector by expanding the capacity to accommodate the private quarter. For instance, Rwanda’s move to develop new tourist sites like Gishwati-Mukura was an initiative to expand tourism and create jobs for the locals (RWANDA, 2016). Many hotels operating in the vicinity are set to benefit from the services they provide to tourists either through direct payments or through a long term profile that will see their business expand and therefore create more jobs for locals.
Employment opportunities resulting from tourism equip people with purchasing power, and they can cater for their various needs. Therefore, travel increases the living standards of people (Meyer, 2014). Subsequently, the ratio of poor inhabitants living in such Nations is decreasing by a significantly value (Meyer, 2014). Tourism also boosts investment opportunities. Governments strive to develop up to standard infrastructure to attract remote developers who in turn provide services for people and create employment opportunities. As a result, LEDC denizens enjoy the provisions that come along with it: jobs, good infrastructure, transportation and access to amenities.
Tourism can promote socio-cultural unity and introduce resolutions to existing social glitches that affect the tourist niche. Some LEDC organizations in the tourism field have initialized public involvement stratagems to foster good relationships between tourists and locals. Some approaches also allows the denizens to rejuvenate their National culture through the occasional end of year programs that are organized to revitalize local traditions, regenerate native arts and participate in tourist entertainment forums through the use of native dances and local music. As such, Gishwati-Mukura is National heritage located in Kigali town in Rwanda. It is considered to be one of the Nation’s glorified cultural village whose core aim is to store historical events and preserve Rwanda’s heritage. Foreigners are often invited there to learn more about Rwanda (Boyle, 2016)
Some developing countries claim that tourism contributes to loss of the artistic originality in LEDCs. Some tourists come to mock their local culture, and some even go to the extent of disrupting sacred sites and damaging local costumes. However, such a generalization does not hold much water since a good number of the tourists tend to blend well with the native practices rather than coming with a motive to market their foreign culture. In Rwanda, tourism organizations have employed local guides to nurture visitors and simply to them their cultural tenets wherever they visit. The positive feedback they deliver when they travel back to their native countries creates a good rapport. Hence they end up inspiring more visitors to tour the country and bring more foreign exchange. Some tourism organizations and community programs use community initiatives to engage visitors with the residents directly. This measure can not only bring the visitors up to speed with the local customs but also help them to appreciate the culture more.
Tourism has made it easier to conserve the environment and wildlife at large. Some researchers have come forward to criticize tourism as a platform that has contributed to environmental pollution because of the dump waste and exhaust gases that detriment hygiene levels in tourist attraction centers. Nevertheless, some developing Nations have taken the initiative to resolve conservational problems such as hygiene by continually maintaining tourist attraction areas. Rwanda makes a gross profit of about 400 million dollars per annum, and most of it is allocated to conserve the environment and preserve tourism sites. The government also has statutory regulations that restrict people from degrading the environment. Their current initiative encourages each resident to be responsible for picking litter and sustaining a clean environment. These measures are put in place to safeguard a conducive atmosphere for tourism purposes.
Environmental preservation is one of the most effective ways to sustain the wellbeing of wildlife especially in regions where the existence of individual plants and animals species are threatened (Meyer, 2012). Putting up environmental preservative areas for visitors is a straightforward measure to protect wildlife, culture and even the environment of any country. Most National parks in developing Nations have been developed with an aim of exemplifying the magnificence of their beauty to the tourists. Consequently, critical building blocks that form part of tourism are preserved for many years. Receiving tourists is one way of creating funds that will help improve the state of these conservation parks. Therefore, countries must put these sites in the best conditions as a way of attracting more tourists. Every Nation often desires to display a good picture to foreigners in a bid to receive international endorsements. Therefore, they advertise themselves in the market to be the best. Hence, they use their tourism sites as platforms that exemplify their beauty and heritage to the international arena.
To conclude, tourism activities have profited the LEDCs in many way. Tourism is a reliable income source in developing countries and is considered an economic powerhouse in countries like Rwanda. The asset has also led to job creation, infrastructural advancements, an investment harbor and a source of living for people in such countries. Other sects of the economy including security, education and transportation have also flourished because of tourism. As a result, they improve the rate of economic growth of a country. There are fears that the negative impacts associated with travel including erosion of culture and environmental degradation thaw its benefit. But this paper has illustrated that benefits outweigh the cons by a more significant margin. As a result, tourism does not only improve the economic status LEDCs countries but also helps to reduce poverty levels and improve people’s living standards.
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