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The socio-cultural impacts of conventional
tourism described here, are the effects on host communities
of direct and indirect relations with tourists and of
interaction with the tourism industry. For a variety
of reasons, host communities often are the weaker party
in interactions with their guests and service providers.
The impacts arise when tourism brings about changes
in value systems and behaviour, thereby threatening
indigenous identity. Furthermore, changes often occur
in community structure, family relationships, collective
traditional life styles, ceremonies and morality.
of local identity and values
Conventional tourism can cause change
or loss of local identity and values and brings about
by several closely related influences as explained below:
- Commercialization of local
Tourism can turn local culture into commodities when
religious traditions, local customs and festivals
are reduced to conform to tourist expectations and
resulting in what has been called "reconstructed
Destinations risk standardization in the process of
satisfying tourists desires: while landscape, accommodation,
food and drinks, etc., must meet the tourists desire
for the new and unfamiliar, they must at the same
time not be too new or strange because few tourists
are actually looking for completely new things
- Adaptation to tourist
Tourists want souvenirs, arts, crafts, cultural manifestations.
In many tourist destinations, craftsmen have responded
to the growing demand and have made changes in the
design of their products to make them more in line
with the new customers tastes. The interest shown
by tourists can contribute to the sense of self-worth
of the artists and help conserve a cultural tradition.
Cultural erosion may occur in the process of commercializing
Because tourism involves movement of people
to different geographical locations and establishment
of social relations between people who would otherwise
not meet, cultural clashes can take place as a result
of differences in cultures, ethnic and religious groups,
values, lifestyles, languages and levels of prosperity.
The attitude of local residents towards tourism development
may unfold through the stages of euphoria, where visitors
are very welcome, through apathy, irritation and potentially
antagonism when anti-tourist attitudes begin to grow
among local people.
Cultural clashes may further arise
- Economic inequality - between locals and tourists who are spending more
than they usually do at home.
- Irritation due to tourist behaviour - Tourists
often, out of ignorance or carelessness, fail to respect
local customs and moral values. As an example, we
can see the case of Catalunya. Catalunya has always
been a worldwide force in the tourism industry. However,
it has promoted a kind of tourism based on sun, fun
and drinking. The kind of people that come to the
country are only looking for those clichés
and do not care about the local values. These are
people who, in their own country would never shout
in the street, drink alcohol all day or break all
shopping windows they would find on their way "home".
de Mar, in the Costa Brava, the situation is now
de Turisme Costa Brava Girona).
- Job level friction - due to a lack of professional training, many low-paid
tourism-jobs go to local people while higher-paying
and more prestigious managerial jobs go to foreigners
or "urbanized" nationals.
influences causing social stress
The physical influences that increasing
tourism has on a destination can cause severe social
stress as it impacts the local community.
Socio-cultural disadvantages involve:
- Cultural deterioration, damage
to cultural heritage may arise from vandalism, littering,
pilferage and illegal removal of cultural heritage
items or by changing the historical landscape that
- Resource use conflicts, such
as competition between tourism and local populations
for the use of prime resources like water and energy
because of scarce supply
- Conflicts with traditional land-uses
may also arise in coastal areas, when the construction
of shoreline hotels and tourist faculties cuts off
access for the locals to traditional fishing grounds
and even recreational use of the areas
Crime rates typically increase with
the growth and urbanization of an area. Growth of mass
tourism is often accompanied by increased crime. The
presence of a large number of tourists with a lot of
money to spend and often carrying valuables such as
cameras and jewellery increases the attraction for criminals
and brings with it activities like robbery and drug
dealing. Although tourism is not the cause of sexual
exploitation, it provides easy access to it.
working and employment conditions
Studies show that many jobs in the tourism sector have
working and employment conditions that leave much to
be desired: long hours, unstable employment, low pay,
little training and poor chances for qualification (www.ilo.org).
In addition, recent developments in the travel and tourism
trade (liberalization, very tough competition) seem
to reinforce the trend towards more precarious and flexible
employment conditions. Children are sometimes recruited
for such jobs, because they are cheap and flexible employees.