Impact Of Tourism On Local Societies

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Assess the impact of tourism on local societies (30 Marks) Anthropologists are interested in tourism and its impacts on local societies, tourism is defined as the commercial organisation and operation of holidays and visits to places of interests.
Found within the main topic of tourism is various other types, these are; Ethnic, (ethnic tourism is travel motivated by search for first hand contact with peoples whose ethnic and/or cultural background is different to those of the tourists), Cultural, (cultural tourism is where a tourist travels as they are concerned about said culture, specifically the lifestyle), Historical
(historical tourism is when tourists are interested in the cultures history), Environmental,
(environmental tourism is when a tourist travels to unique and endangered places), and
Recreational, (recreational tourism is when the tourist travels for pleasure, i.e. to see sights).
Hosts and guests is a concept Valene Smith further studied, she described how it is almost a
‘rite of passage’ through the interactions, especially for younger people, and the impact of experiencing cultural variety in the places which source the visitors. There is often economic disparity between hosts and tourists, and this can have serious effects on relations between the different people involved. Within this essay the impact of tourism on local societies will be evaluated and assessed, the key areas and the high price indigenous groups are paying for tourism will also be looked at throughout. The main question is ‘does tourism damage culture?’ this debate holds a number of anthropologists who argue that tourism and host­guest interactions have a negative impact on the culture of host communities. Tourists are seen as, directly or indirectly, the cause of damage to various cultures. There are a number of important anthropological concepts included within the debate. Of particular relevance are; acculturation, hybridisation, the demonstration effect, commodification of culture and the invasion of backspace.
Acculturation is the process by which borrowing of one or some elements of culture takes place as a result of a contact of any duration between two different societies, this means as the host community adapts to tourism, i.e. the attitudes and values of another culture, it is believed that the exchange will not be balanced but the stronger culture will dominate and change the weaker (not inferior) into a mirror image of said strong culture. This process of acculturation is argued to have two main effects, that of hybridisation and the demonstration effect. Hybridisation is when two cultures come together and a new culture is formed. The demonstration effect is the process whereby traditional societies, especially those who are particularly susceptible to outside influences such as youths, will “voluntarily” seek to adopt certain behaviours (and accumulate material goods) on the basis that possession will lead to the achievement of the leisured, hedonistic lifestyle demonstrated by tourists. For example,
Wickens’ (1994), social impact of tourist development case study, in Pefkochori, Greece, found that young Greeks were rejecting their traditional customs for liberated tourist behaviour. Wickens concluded that the longer the tourists stayed impacted assimilation of the hedonistic behaviour of tourists that local inhabitants eventually adapted into their behaviour and value systems.

Another damaging impact is the commodification of culture, this term is