Tourism; a Blessing or Curse Essay

Words: 1923
Pages: 8

Is tourism a blessing or a curse?

Tourism is defined by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as ‘a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes’ (UNWTO, 2014). It furthermore defines the people taking part in these actions as visitors either tourists or excursionists. Moreover, tourism exhibits the activities visitors experience (UNWTO, 2014). Increasing essentially in the second half of the nineteenth century (Cooper, 2012) tourism reached its peak of one billion visitors in 2012 (UNWTO, 2012). Regardless, the economic importance of tourism the need for a sustainable development and management
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Next to economic impacts tourism also displays social and cultural consequences. These consequences depend upon the type of tourism as well as the number of tourists (Cooper, 2012). When speaking of cultural influences tourism has on the host population and the visitors one needs to identify the term culture. Hofstede (2002) describes the term as being what separates different people from each other. Going in detail it is the way people live, what language they speak, the stories they tell to one another, the way people live, what cloths they war, the food they drink or how they celebrate (Hofstede, 2002).
Culture is the way we live, the clothe we wear, the food we eat, language we speak, the stories we tell, the way we celebrate. The issue that has to be argued is now how foreign visitors have an impact on these rituals, or to what extend the original culture is commodified for tourism. Page & Connell define commodification as the transformation of something into an object for commercial use. In terms of tourism the term refers to using a place’s culture or relicts to make profit (Page & Connell, 2009). Examining the influence on the Mursi tribe, a native tribe in Africa, the effects of tourism become strongly apparent. Located in the lower Omo valley, in the south west of Ethiopia the tribe counts a population of less than 10.000 people. The tribe is famous for the lip-plates the tribal women wear which are the main