Tourism – a blessing in disguise ?

Tourism is the practice of travelling to a place for recreational purposes and usually spans over a relatively short period of time. Tourism is also defined as the business of providing hotels, restaurants, entertainments, e.t.c., for people who are travelling. It is one of the fastest growing industry and helps a country earn valuable foreign exchange. For tourism dependent countries like Barbados, Maldives and Singapore, it is the main source of earnings as it constitutes a significant part of the country’s GDP. Tourism holds paramount importance as it showcases a country’s archaeological and cultural sites and many other prominent places such as beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, resorts and more.

Tourism is undoubtedly favorable to country dependent on it because of the sizable amount of revenue it generates as in the case of Maldives, where it is responsible for 28 % of the GDP. It allows a country to showcase its numerous inbuilt resources. A good example would be of the numerous Galis towards the North of Pakistan. Moreover, tourism diverts the government’s attention to the tourist spot and consequently leads to the construction of infrastructure. Mount Etna in Italy serves as a perfect example for this as the government of Italy developed two airports near the mountain after seeing the influx of tourists there.

Labor intensive industry such as horticulture, food, handicrafts and cottage industry gets a boost as more and more tourists visit the area and spend money to purchase the items. Even the remotest and backward areas get a face lift due to the huge influx of tourists. Slovenia, after its separation, was subjected to the development of the rural areas as most of the tourist activities took place at the coast of Slovenia. Due to tourism, acculturation takes place which leads to a better understanding between the tourists and the local residents of the tourist spot. Tourism may seem as a purely advantageous industry at the moment but is the development of this industry achieved at no cost?

While it may be a huge revenue generating sector it may be pointed out that it is a seasonal industry in many of countries dependent on it. In Pakistan, the northern areas are closed during winters for tourists due to harsh climate. Political instability in the country may lead to a decline in tourism as it was seen in Jamaica where the political power struggle massively affected the industry. Excessive use of resources and diversion of resources to the building of infrastructure strips away the natural resources of the area and does not allow the money to be channeled to the development of the local community. Locals are forced to relocate for the developments of resorts and the cultural exchange is not viewed as suitable by the local community as they think that it brings a bad influence on their youth. This mindset is very common in the northern areas of Pakistan where the tourism is highest than any other part of the country.
Evaluating the above given evidences, it is deduced that tourism is, without a doubt, a massive revenue generating industry that brings many positive changes alongside to the area and helps bring people from different communities together. However, it is not always the case as we have seen how the government may turn a blind eye to the needs to local residents while developing tourism in an area.

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