When tourism is mentioned, many people have the notion that one has to go to a foreign country for a couple of weeks to relax and enjoy the scenery. To some extent that is true, but one can have equal fun by just visiting the rural areas or going to watch a football match in a stadium. Tourism comes in many forms, there is the normal visit to a national park, or somewhere nature is in its most pure form. Other tourists might prefer to go to the ends of the world just to see and experience the different kinds of lifestyles experienced by other people.
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Others find no better way of spending their free time other than watching their favorite soccer team play in the stadium. For the few billionaires in this world, they might want to brag by visiting a space station and taking a space walk. Finally, for those who love to stay indoors, they can do so in a museum or a cultural center where they can watch plays. Tourism has spread in almost every corner of the earth, this means that one does not need to travel to faraway lands (Pacific Asia Tourism, 2010).
In this day and age, tourism is among the biggest and vibrant developing sectors of a nation’s economic activity. Tourism is present in almost every part of the earth, including remote areas and even unexplored territories (Pacific Asia Tourism, 2010). As a result, there has been a significant investment in ensuring existence of tourism by developing relevant infrastructure, educating citizens on tourism and maintaining culture. This paper will examine various categories of tourism and their economic impact.
Of all types of tourism, ecotourism remains the most memorable to many. If you are an American or a European, chances are that the largest animal you have ever seen is a rabbit, and if you are more outgoing; a turkey. That is not the case if you happen to be a Kenyan Maasai probably living in or around a national park.
Most westerners coming to Kenya usually envision country roads, unfamiliar languages, probably hostile people and wild animals roaming everywhere. In fact, foreigners think they will be welcomed by an elephant at the airport. That is not entirely true, many people there speak English and are very friendly, plus the food is fantastic. They call roasted meat ‘nyama choma’ and from the way they prepare it’s quite a delicacy (United Nations Environment Programme, 2008).
Ecotourism, also known as nature tourism, is where tourists visit areas which are still natural and unaffected by human activities. Tourists get a chance to see how animals and plants thrive in the natural world. Of all known types of tourism, ecotourism attracts the most number of people, thereby becoming the largest generator of revenue in the tourism industry. Tourists entering in selected areas of nature attractions, such as national parks, have to pay an entrance fee which contributes to a nation’s revenue (Pacific Asia Tourism, 2010).
In the parks, there are guides who have been employed to direct and guide tourists. In the parks or in the surrounding areas, hotels and recreational facilities have been built; consequently employing a number of individuals. Other ways in which ecotourism improves the economy of a region, is that it ensures the development of infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, bridges and so on.
The Tsavo National park is huge and hosts a variety of wild animals. During mid-day at a pond, the small herbivores like antelopes are the first to arrive, followed by zebras and wild beasts. From the way they share water, you would think they had signed a peace treaty, they drink water calmly and the adults ensure that their young ones do not get lost among other animals. From a distance lions and lioness lay down watching. It may seem like they are selecting what they will have for lunch or maybe they have nothing else better to look at.
After a short while they start approaching the pond together. Surprisingly, the other herbivores do not jump up in frenzy but cautiously walk away from the pond. Sadly though, the lions this time do not provide an action of hunting like what is seen in National Geographic channel, instead they just go to drink water. It is true what they say; a lion is indeed the king of the jungle. The grass is green and that makes deer hope up in joy once in a while (United Nations Environment Programme, 2008).
The type of accommodation provided in Tsavo is of world class quality, from the beds to the drinking water and food. The lounges are built mostly from wood and they provide a feeling of being in a jungle. The balcony gives tourists a chance to view one of the most spectacular sites during sunset, the giraffes, elephants and trees form the most unbelievable sites (WTTC, 2010).
In Europe, especially England, people practically worship soccer. People talk about soccer all the time such that among the first words a child learns is a name of a club like Manchester united or Arsenal.
Soccer fans do not regard themselves as tourist, but they fit the category of sports tourism since they spent money to go and watch soccer matches in stadiums. In these large soccer stadiums, there are shops and almost all kinds of snacks and juices are sold. Alcohol is not allowed since the reaction of a drunken fun whose team has lost is unpredictable and most likely, catastrophic.
During the match, one realizes why people spend a lot of money to come to the stadium rather than watch the game on television. The feeling in which fans instill themselves is the very reason why they come to the stadium. Fans come wearing their respective team’s jersey and other team associated merchandise. During the game fans hold each other sing and shout all in support of their team.
Sometimes fights usually occur out of apparent no reason but luckily there are security guards who ensure that peace is maintained among the fans and players. Professional players make millions of dollars by participating in these games in fantastic stadiums. These stadiums are designed in ways which they can accommodate different sports and also host events, making them multi-purpose structure (WTTC, 2010).
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Sports tourism arises when people travel from different regions to one location where a sport event is taking place. A good example was the influx of people in South Africa during the 2010 world cup finals. In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the building of sporting amenities. It is projected that by investing in sports, the economy will be improved through sales of tickets, employment and generation of revenues through tax.
Major sports actions in USA such as baseball and super bowl have become multibillion dollar industries. Professional players make millions of dollars by participating in these games in fantastic stadiums. Sports stadiums are designed in ways which can accommodate different sports and also host events, making them a multi-purpose structure (WTTC, 2010).
One of the best ways to explore cultures and learn a little bit of history is by visiting a museum. One good example of such a museum is the Houston Museum of Natural Science. As its name suggests, this museum offers a chance to explore how the ancient world of dinosaurs was like. Inside the museum there are numerous displays of objects from the Paleozoic era to yesterdays. There is an exhibition of Tyrannosaurus Rex, which is believed to be the biggest flesh eating predator to have ever lived on the planet.
It is scary to look at and the children are usually afraid to go near its exhibition. There is also a spectacular display of the Dipocus, which apparently had really weak jaws. It is evident that the Dipocus must have been a vegetarian because of its weak jaws and it was 77ft long and 11ft tall and weighed close to 14 tons. To understand the timeline of these pre-historic animals, the museum has a graph depicting their names and age (World Tourism Organisation , 2009).
The culture tourism arises from the fact that humans from different regions of the world have differing ways of lifestyle. Culture tourists are fascinated by how people can have such different types of lifestyles. Culture tourism also includes arts and film industry and visiting historical and rural areas. It is estimated that in United States 10% of its labor is employed directly or indirectly by culture tourism. This type of tourism earns the country a substantial amount of foreign income, at the same time boosting tourism infrastructure.
Since this type of tourism is present even in marginal areas, it brings employment to the people in rural areas and improves associated travel sectors such as accommodation and transport (World Tourism Organisation , 2009). Local airlines and shipping sectors are kept in business and continue to grow. It also provides awareness on the type of culture that has existed in different parts of the world.
Only a handful of people have ever had the chance to visit the space as tourist. It costs around 25 million US dollars for a single trip, so chances of you getting there are close to none. The best one can do is visit the space center in Florida. In the center there are many displays of space gismos.
Samples of materials believed to have come from space are displayed for the public to see, sadly though they are all rocks and that does not make a major difference to people since there are numerous rocks on earth. The Orion space vehicle and Ares launch vehicle look fantastic and by just looking at them one would think they are capable of doing the most sophisticated thing a vehicle can do (World Tourism Organisation , 2009).
Lately investors have cut money on space research and exploration, even the dreams of returning a man to the moon have diminished. The united states then has become like russia; operating on borrowed money.
What has been left in space exploration will paharps be taken over by the chineese. Many americans who have visited this space center, do not leave with a sense of pride. Space exploration is one area that the Americans have always been advanced in, and now it seems nobody really cares about it anymore (Ecotourism Society, 2006).
In conclusion, the impact of tourism on the local residents has been negative and positive whether analyzed economically or socially. Every region has a potential of being a tourist attraction, and the effects will be positive as long as a certain limit is not surpassed (Ecotourism Society, 2006).
If a region is capable of handling say 500 tourists, this limit should not be exceeded. If it is exceeded, the effects would be negative since the facilities would not accommodate any more and will leave the area polluted and the infrastructure quality will deteriorate (Ecotourism Society, 2006).
Ecotourism Society. (2006). The International Ecotourism Society – Uniting Conservation . Web.
Pacific Asia Tourism. (2010). International development via sustainable tourism. Pacific Asia Tourism. Web.
United Nations Environment Programme. (2008). Impacts of tourism and recreation in Africa. The Encyclopedia of Earth. Web.
World Tourism Organisation. (2009). Developing Countries’ Share of the International Tourism Market . Propoor Tourism. Web.
WTTC. (2010). Tourism Recovery. World Travel and Tourism Council. Web.