Tourism involves people traveling to different parts of the world with the purpose of having leisure, recreation and also doing business. Tourism can be local or international.
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Tourists are individuals who travel to destinations far from their residence for the purpose of getting something that is not in their environment.
Tourism has been of great impact to the development process of poor countries in Africa, South America and part of Asia. Nevertheless, developed countries like the Britain and the USA also have tourist attraction (Lennon 194).
Most developing countries have benefited from tourism in great ways since tourism have been seen as one of the great contributors to the countries income. Most of the developing countries have tourism as a comparative advantage.
Tourism sector earns the countries foreign exchange currency which has helped reduce the balance of payment deficits. Moreover, tourism earnings have contributed to the conservation of both the natural environment and the people’s culture.
Despite, the tourism promotion to the developing countries economy, there have been some negative impact to communities.
For instance most of the income earned form the tourists has benefited the Euro-American entrepreneurs who are said to control the worldwide tourism. Tourism has also polluted the environment in some ways, for example, most of the tourists throw plastic bottles and bags in the game reserves that can sometimes be consumed by the animals.
Tourism can negatively affect the culture of the developing countries communities. Some of the tourists cultures are not good to be adapted (Lennon 194).
To discuss the contribution of tourism to the developing countries, I will focus of the three major countries development section.
That is, the environment, economic and the socio-cultural sectors. Developing countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Botswana and Tanzania have been used as examples in the discussion of tourism impacts on the developing countries.
Tourism has had a positive impact in the conservation of the environment. There are several positive contributions to the environment brought by tourists. Tourism provides direct money to the parks and other tourism sites. When tourists visit a place, they pay entrance fee.
The money is sometimes used to conserve the place and its habitats so that to attract more tourists and earn extra income (Ikiara & Okech, 2).
Tourism contributes much to the government revenue. When the tourists visits certain countries, they contribute money to those countries in form of user fees, taxes on their income and sales, permits on any game activity and payment on the use of government recreation equipment.
The government uses the money from tourism to maintain tourism program and activities. The money may be used to pay the workers at the tourism sites, construct good roads to the parks, provide environmental friendly recreational facilities inside the park and educate the people in the park surroundings on the ways and importance of maintaining the park environment.
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Kenya has environmental pollution mostly at the coast, where nearly 60% of the bed nights and beaches have been degraded and polluted. The coral reefs together with the mangrove forests have been destroyed which has also affected the marine habitats (Ikiara & Okech, 2).
The country game parks and forest vegetation contribute more than 80% of the tourism but, these places have also been polluted. The game reserves have been degraded, the vegetation destroyed, trees deforested therefore, affecting the water catchments and disrupting the wildlife behavior.
The government of Kenya has recently been using the tourism income to conserve its environment. For instance the government has brought technology to reduce the use of forest resource, to treat wastes and to recycle them for example used water waste.
The government has also used the money to rehabilitate destroyed tourist sites through ways like training the game workers on how to conserve the environment, planting of trees and other useful vegetation. The government has also partnered with enterprises and local communities to promote the environment.
For instance the partnership between the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Beach Management program have been for the last few years, maintained the cleanliness on the beaches. The partnership has achieved to clean environment at the beach although there are still some challenges that are affecting them therefore delaying the success (Ikiara & Okech, 2).
Tourism has assisted the government to manage the environment in the effective way. Tourism helps in improving the environmental management and planning. Tourism facilities mostly the hotels have some positive impact to the natural sites.
But for these facilities to be beneficial to the sites, the developments are to be planned and controlled well. In-advance planning for tourism development helps to curb environmental damaging situations that may cause expensive and deteriorating problems to the tourism sector (Environmental impact of tourism, 2011).
Tourism has increased individuals appreciation to the environment. The income advantage of tourism to the country, has made people to become conscious of conserving the nature and therefore put effort in preventing any environmental problem (Environmental impact of tourism 2011).
In Kenya, many Eco-forests have been destroyed by people. But in the near past the impact of the forest destruction has led to wildlife dying and some others migrating to the neighboring countries like Tanzania. The decrease in the tourism income has affected the Kenya economy and moreover the individuals.
To appreciate the wildlife reserves and the forests, most people have stopped cutting the trees and instead planted more. Some communities have also stopped raiding the wild animals for the benefit of the tourism sector.
Some of developing countries use tourism money to heighten people to have conscious behavior that saves the environment. For example, pupils from the Tegucigalpa in Honduras are regularly taken to la Tigra cloud forest to study the usefulness of the rain-forest (Ikiara & Okech, 2).
Tourism has also enabled effective preservation of the wild animals, mostly in the developing countries in Africa. Many animals and plant species are either running out of existence.
For example, dinosaurs are already extinct and other animals like elephants and rhinos are facing extinction since they are hunted for their horns. Rwanda apes are facing extinction since they are useful in the Rwanda political and economic system. Rwanda has enacted strict rules to prevent the ape.
The country has also created wildlife reserves to protect the weak and the orphaned animals. The protection law for the wildlife has reserved the game making the apes to thrive again.
Tourism on the other hand has created alternative employment which has some positive results to the environment. For instance, in San Andres, a Spanish language was established in1996 for the purpose of conserving environment of Guatemalan village.
The institution based in the Maya biosphere reserve, provided both the language and Eco tours to the community. The school has employed nearly one hundred people from the village and whom 60% had once destroyed the reserve by cutting the vegetation illegally.
In 2000, the research showed that many people have gained directly or indirectly from the institution and hunting business has reduced. Moreover, the school gets more than 1800 tourists in a year (Environmental impact of tourism, 2011).
Tourism has contributed to the economic development for the developing countries in the following ways. Tourism increases GDP to the developing countries. In the developing countries mostly in Africa, tourism has not only been bringing foreign currency, but has also played a big role in the economic growth and development of these poor countries.
In the World tourists’ organization 2005 report, tourism contributes a high percentage of income to the developing countries. Tourism income to the developing countries is counted as part of service export therefore an important section in the international trade.
In 2006, the tourism sector was said to contribute nearly 10% of the developing countries GDP. In Botswana a developing country in Africa, the Tourism Value Added (TVA) indicates that direct contribution of tourist money to the country between 2005 and 2006 was 3.4% of the GDP. 3.4% was only direct contribution although more money was generated to the GDP indirectly through value added by tourism business suppliers like the hotel providers.
Both direct and indirect money contributed around 6% to the Botswana GDP in that period (Ketshabile, 2010). It is therefore, important for the developing countries having tourist attraction to create funds that will be used to maintain and upgrade the tourist sites so as to promote more of the tourist activity in order to create higher government revenue.
Tourism helps to promotion of a country good self image. Tourism is said to create a good picture of the Botswana to the rest of the world. The good image has been contributed by the Botswana strong economy, few crimes, stable political situation and the voting of a Botswana woman citizen in 1999 as miss universe.
The good image has attracted prominent people like Bill Clinton, George Bush and other big people who have created more tourists to the Botswana country (Ketshabile, 2).
Tourism in Botswana has been one of the sectors that promote employment. Accommodation has being the biggest key role in job creation which includes the housekeeping jobs. Each room is expected to create 0.6% of the jobs with more than 53% Botswana females being absorbed in this section (Ketshabile, 2).
Tourism is important for the creation of investment opportunities. Botswana culture and much wildlife resources have been seen to be large contributors to the tourism sector investment. The country tourism section has been experiencing a marginal growth of tourist every year. The average growth rate has been estimated to be 8.6% annually.
The tourism growth have led to local people participation in the economy growth through creation of tourism support business like the hotels and making of tourist goods for example curios.
To support the investment growth, the Botswana department of tourism created a service center that is, the Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority (BEDIA), which helps in the distribution of licenses and permits. The service has also promoted entrepreneurship opportunities in the Eco-tourism and artificial tourism sites (Ketshabile, 2).
Domestic economy is also said to grow because of the development of infrastructure in the areas with tourist attraction. In the north of Botswana, the government has built good accessible roads since 1990 when it was found that the area gave much tourism money to the economy.
Some of the roads like the 505 kilometer road that connects Francis town and Kasane were constructed because of tourism. The roads are used mostly for the transportation of wholesale and retail tourism supplies to the Okavango delta.
Maun international airport was also built in 1993 to facilitate direct flights from other parts of the southern African countries. Hotels and safari camps in Maun and Okavango have also been promoted by the increased tourism. Generally, improved infrastructure have greatly improved tourism in Okavango region and therefore promoting the look or appearance of the area which also brings economic development in the place (Mbaiwa 13).
Tourism contributes much to the rural development. Tourism has promoted the local production in both the agricultural and manufacturing sector. The growing of food, the making of furniture and the construction section has tremendously grown to meet the tourism requirements.
In Maun, more than 80% number of households and around 70% of businesses growth are as a result of tourism in that area. The growth of tourism in Okavango delta has greatly boosted the agriculture and industrial sector in that region of which most of the food supplies, furniture and other items used in the tourist hotels come from that place.
Culture is said to be a way of life for certain individuals. Culture is also seen as a set of assumptions that community individuals need to absorb without a choice. Culture tributes are seen in personal behavior, symbols, myths and also artifacts.
Tourism has promoted the revival of traditional arts and crafts. In Kenya, communities like the Maasai have been benefiting from tourism because their culture has been one of the tourist attractions.
The tourists have been promoting the local communities by buying the traditional art and craft for instance the “masaai’s kikois”, beaded necklaces and other community’s artifacts. The culture attraction has resulted to preservation of the local communities which had been eradicated once during colonialism. The Kenyan art and craft has been promoted and preserved by the tourism sector.
Tourism has also slowed down the rate of cultural transformation mostly in the Maasai community who has up-to-date maintained their culture. Tourism has provided income to the government which helps preserve the local culture through construction of museums (Irandu 8).
Tourism has helped to revive traditional festivals, songs and dances. Kenya has more than forty ethnic communities each with its distinct cultural practice, thereby, making it easy to diversify tourism in the country.
Each community value cultural attributes and therefore various community occasions are marked by practicing cultural heritage. Each community has its own food, music, dances, musical instruments and other artifacts. Before the growth of tourism in Kenya, these artifacts were becoming extinct.
But since the increased tourist growth in the recent past, each community has started preserving its music and instruments. The communities have been promoting their different culture by organizing community events where the tradition is practiced.
The government has also established cultural centers where different ethnic groups’ ways of life can be learnt. The music and drama festivals that also attract tourists, have promoted different community songs and music. Along the Kenyan coast, some village tourist centers have been built in which traditional houses, dances, rituals and costumes are displayed.
Apart from attracting international tourists, the centers have also provided employment to the community dance groups and musicians. The village centers have been one of solutions to the unemployment problems in developing countries (Irandu, 9).
Tourism has also created better understanding and peace between many of the developing countries cultures and the developed counties culture. For instance, the African communities have come to accept the European culture as normal. Tourism has also encouraged civic contribution and pride among the developing countries.
Tourism has been seen to one of the largest contributors to the developing countries development. The development can be traced on the environment, economic and culture.
The developing countries mostly in Africa have benefited much from the tourism sites they have thereby attracting the majority of tourist from all over the world. It has been proved that the natural sites, the wildlife and the vegetation, makes Africa be the one of the best tourist destination.
With the high growth in the tourism sector, the developing countries are able to sustain their developments and therefore earn foreign incomes without depending on the developed countries for funds.
Increased tourism growth is also creating an outstanding achievement of millennium development goals in the developing countries. Therefore, tourism is singled out as a growing factor of the developing countries for some fifteen years to come.
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