Tourism is the act of travelling to destinations where ancient architectures, historical sites, and new inventions are located. The tourists go in search of knowledge, fun, and relaxation mostly. Tourism allows for free flow of money into the economy especially where the sites are located. Advantages of tourism to the host communities vary from- the boost of local spending, employment, and income for the local workers and a closely knit community of Medium and small businesses (SME).
This income is directly proportioned to maintain tourist attractions, improve standard of living in the community and generally boost awareness. This helps the individual tourists with the availability of many options to choose from when searching for where to stay. These local operators also provide tours which are in-depth and culturally infused to satisfy the tourist and tell the local story in a positive light.
The government of the country and communities where tourists are drawn are then encouraged to see to the proper maintenance of the sites to boost international trade, increase the revenue generated from tourist tax etc.
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Advantages of tourism to the host communities
Preservation of Cultures
Local communities mostly have well defined cultural identities which when properly preserved can serve as a major tourist attraction. Tourism allows them to focus on their history and cultural heritage which in turn surfaces a measure of pride to showcase mostly in their cultural villages which is evident in Lesedi cultural village in South Africa, Ogun cultural day in Nigeria amongst others. The local community is made to appreciate and preserve their cultural values better when they see how tourists respond to it.
With infrastructure comes development which improves the livelihood and general outlook of the locals. These infrastructures can include new roads, hospitals, schools, parks, and more public places. These structures would help in enticing new residents to settle in these communities, more tourists to visit and increased circulation of money in the economy. The locals would have access to all these infrastructures which would keep them up to date with the outside world, improve their well being and happiness.
Generally when a part of the economy is booming, directly or indirectly other parts are being carried along. Tourism shades a positive light in creating more employment for locals with the requisite of a formal education or qualification. Positions like tour guides, hotel staff, waiters and waitresses are amongst these roles. The products which are used to carry out these roles like transportation, food, shelter are mostly available within the community which then creates more opportunities for the locals. Also, artists of all specialisation benefit from the boom as their artworks are either being displayed in local art markets or purchased by souvenir sellers who then resells to tourists for keepsakes.
Advantages of tourism to the host communities
Let us take for instance a fishing town where this is their only source of livelihood. It is necessary they consider other ventures which would be profitable to its economy and the locals. Tourism comes in and the creativity of the locals and small businesses determines if this would be a full-time thing or just passing, Tourism opens up borders of opportunities like diversification of sources of income and livelihood. This is a safe fall back on in times when their major hustle does not yield what is needed for sustenance.
Increased standard of living
Ever thought of the multiplier effect? Not to get some of us confused it is an economic term which refers to the number of times money is being used to generate more revenue. As the foreign currencies are being introduced into local communities, the individuals and businesses who get it immediately spend it to either improve their services or for sustenance. This sustenance includes feeding, shelter and clothing which is basic in any economy. As these money moves around the certainty of it getting to everyone is increased which boosts the standard of living and general growth in the community.
The demands of tourism on communities has informed the decisions to sell forth the unique parts of the location. More tours are involving the environment which includes tours of landscapes, wildlife parks, botanical gardens and habitats in their natural state. These ensure the proper maintenance of the environment and promotes the need among the locals to preserve their environment in the best ways they can. The government or National authorities for conservation and environment mostly step in to conserve these communities, create awareness of the proper use of these places.
Remember when the Ajala fever hits without your next destination planned, you can never go wrong with picking an eco-friendly spot. There would always be much to see and do in these parts with enough locals to interact with. To go a notch further if it’s within your power always pick tours that are run by locals. It is a good way to ensure the money reaches the right people and your own way of giving back to the community visited.
Have you gone on any ecotours? We want to hear from you.