Travelling is fantastic. If you have never had the travel bug hit you, or feel just a little apprehensive planning a trip to a country, then you have never been to anywhere yet. When it boils down to it, tourism is great for not just individual travellers, but also the local economies. Primarily, it is just a fantastic source of income because it is money that would not have been earned if the tourists were not there.
Tourism also allows wealth to be injected into a community in a variety of ways. The great benefit of this industry is that it is extremely labour-intensive, and many of the businesses that operate within it are only small businesses and micro operators. This means that every dollar coming into the industry is felt quickly by business owners and staff, and is directly related to a boost in local spending. For a community with the potential to become a tourist destination, there are huge range of benefits. It is also great for individual travellers because with a booming tourism industry, there are lots to do, plenty of places to stay, and as a result, more and more tourists are drawn in.
One of the easiest advantages to identify is the jobs tourism brings. These range from directly influenced positions like tour guides, hotel staff, coach services, and restaurants. What is great about all these businesses is that they not only pay wages to their staff, but source for goods and products locally, giving a boost to the local industry. What is great about tourism is that the supporting industries like retail and food production also benefit, although it is not as obvious to the untrained eye as this is mostly occurring behind the scenes.
This comes twofold. First, you have the money that is spent directly by tourists in the economy. Not just on tourism, but there are a huge range of basic human requirements that need to be purchased, like food, clothing, hairdressing, medical services, and transportation needs that all need to be filled, along with souvenirs and amusements. In its own way, tourism supports global trade.
In addition to what is spent by tourists, the tourism revenues that are earned by both businesses and individuals is often re-injected into the local economy. So you have gotten more money being earned locally. and spent in the local economy as well. This is why tourism revenues are often referred to as having a multiplier effect, because a large percentage of every tourist funds earned is reintroduced back into the economy, again and again. This is the multiplier effect. Ultimately, the more tourist revenues coming in, the larger the economic benefit for everyone.
In addition to bringing prosperity to an economy, it also allows an economy to develop a new form of income. This acts as an insurance policy in case of hard times because the additional funds coming in can help support traditional industries in case they come under financial pressure. This is especially important for communities that rely on a single industry, or where there is a concentration of industries that are environmentally damaging such as mining or manufacturing. It is also important for rural communities where there is significant risk based on the farming conditions and global commodity prices. Tourism allows a community to diversify its source of income, and rely less on a single industry.
The additional revenue that comes into a community also benefits the local council or government. It means more tax dollars which allows public projects to be launched or developed. This means the infrastructure improves, with new roads being built, parks developed and public spaces improved. The better facilities bring in more visitors, but is a fantastic benefit to local residents, especially when there is enough revenue to build new airports, schools and hospitals, which all support the economic development even further. Without a good infrastructure, the flow of goods and services is impossible, and tourism revenues allow this to be supported.
In addition to the revenue, there are also fantastic cultural advantages to tourism. It can be a source of pride for local communities, and allows them to look at their history and cultural heritage and develop their own community identity. This helps the local residents to maintain their traditions and culture, while also showcasing it for all the visitors. This advantage of tourism is what has saved many local heritage sites from destruction. In addition to giving tourists a wonderful insight into the local ways of life, tourism can help to preserve the history of a region that may be at the risk of being lost.
Many tourism operators are differentiating themselves from their counterparts by offering tours and packages with an environmental twist, and supporting the conservation of the local area. This helps both the environment in dealing with the influx of tourists, and also helps to build a strong reputation for the tourism operator. As a traveller, remember to respect the places you visit, and always leave them as you found them. Have all the memories, but leave only your footprints.
Bringing tourists into a community gives it a new life, and creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish new services and products, or facilities that would not be sustainable based on the local population of residents alone. Tourists are all potential customers, and with the right approach can be targeted in a business strategy that allows for fantastic success.
There is no doubt that tourism is fantastic for a local community. The key to remember when you are travelling yourself is to be a sustainable tourist, always acting to support the cultural diversity of the place you are visiting, and ensure that you take part in activities that add value to the local community. Never do anything that deteriorates the environment, but support the local and community- owned establishments that form the heart of the local tourism industry. You will be a jet-setter supporting local economies all over the world in no time.