Socio-Cultural Impact of Tourism Essay Example
Socio-Cultural Impact of Tourism Essay Example

Socio-Cultural Impact of Tourism Essay Example

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  • Pages: 10 (2731 words)
  • Published: December 2, 2017
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1. Introduction Nowadays the level of awareness is quite high that tourism has a general impact on the destination.

Many times it is talked about the economical impact which is mainly considered positive as it creates jobs in that area and brings people to the destination that spend money there etc. The environmental impact is a popular topic as well that is covered continuously in the news mainly by claiming the airplanes for their carbon emissions but also stating the destroying impact of mass tourism because of littering, over visitation of natural sights etc.Due to this many tourism dedicate their CSR programmes mainly to this issue as it is the best known. However, tourism also has another impact, namely the socio-cultural. This means that social structures, the culture and traditions can be influenced, changed


or even completely substituted due to tourism.

This can be mainly noticed by the local communities themselves and is less obvious for the tourists. Nevertheless, this does not mean that this impact is less strong or less negative than the ones mentioned before. It just gets less media presence.This was proved once more during my research as it was very hard and it took a long time to find proper material while economic and environmental issues constantly popped up.

With my essay I want to show that the socio-cultural impact of tourism is an important topic which definitely deserves more attention. I also want to make clear that this is nothing that just happened in the passed but instead is current as the communities have to live on with the consequences of the impact and every new discovered destination will fac

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the same challenges.In order to reach my goal I will use destinations from three different continents describing how they have individually experienced the socio-cultural impact of tourism and the consequences mentioning the positive and the negative aspects. This will be Lumbini a destination located in Nepal, two villages on the island Crete, Luang Prabang in Laos and the South Carolina Sea Islands in the United States. Looking the examples it can be concluded that tourism definitely has a socio-cultural impact on destinations.

Those can be positive but are most of the times outweighed by the negative ones.Those are that severe that this issue definitely needs more attention and more action to eliminate the impacts. 2. The cultural and social change of tourism destinations 2. 1 Lumbini, Nepal Lumbini is one the major tourism destinations in Nepal. Tourism could help to reduce one of its big social problems, the poverty of the population, as many new job opportunities have been provided.

But this also has changed the society as not only unemployed people took on those jobs but employed switched jobs or took on additional ones.Due to research the majority of those that switched completely have been working in the teashop business which might cause this profession to disappear or a least loose importance. The whole traditional job structure has been changed but it could definitely enhance the survival of the population The direct interaction with tourists in the new jobs as well as being exposed to them in daily life when they explore the community has impacted the lifestyle of the locals.A change in the type of clothing as well as in food taste has

been noticed.

Furthermore the attitude towards money and material possessions has changed because of observing the tourists’ purchase and spending behaviour. Now the locals also want to posses “luxury” goods like watches and electronical devices like cameras. Due to theory the confrontation with wealth and possessions can cause frustration and jealousy in the relatively poor resulting in crimes like theft and robbery and therefore risk the safety of the community.Being exposed to other cultures can definitely enhance the knowledge of the locals and make them more open-minded but it also includes a risk of loosing its unique culture and traditions because of adoption to the new. 2. 2 Panormo & Tsepelov, Crete (Greece) These are two villages on the Greek island Crete while Panormo is located on the north coast and Tsepeolov can be found in the mountains in Epirus.

As both of them have experienced similar impacts I will give a combined description. Because of the tourism both villages have been modernized and much traditional architecture has been replaced by more modern types.Furthmore the picture of the villages changes as constructions plans for tourism facilities have been put into practice which did not only include unused land. Instead old facilities should make room for something new like tennis courts for hotels. In addition to this, the villages have lost their typical rural peacefulness due to the noisy tourist masses invading the places, especially in the summer season.

These impacts have led to a split in society consisting of two contradicting groups.One includes the older permanent residents and those who originate from the villages and come back to their family or weekend homes during holidays

or weekends. They want to go back to the old traditions and village culture. The other one consists of the younger permanent residents who work in the tourism industry. The latter claim that the former insist on an outdated memory of the past not fitting into the today’s world.

Furthermore they state that the weekend residents do not have a clue what is good for the village and how important the tourism really is.These conflicts even have resulted in violence a couple of times ruining a strong and well-developed cohesion inside the community’s society. Nevertheless these conflicts have also led to a return of the awareness in the residents’ minds of their “cultural, architectural and historical wealth”. Furthermore the tourists are interested in buying local products like carpentry, woodwork and livestock breeding so this can help preserve their cultural heritage and can foster the locals’ pride. However the split in society is very deep and not eliminated.

2. 3 Luang Prabang, LaosLuang Prabang used to be a peaceful place with many monasteries traditionally practicing their Buddhistic culture. Nowadays many western as well as Asian tourists visit this place behaving like being in a zoo. The monks practising their rituals are considered and watched as a performance. They are disrupted by taking pictures and disrespecting their privacy. The same happens to the people in the culture house of the city who carry out traditional arts like music or dancing in order to preserve and enjoy them.

This facility is not meant for commercial presentation nor is it supposed to be a tourism attraction.Nevertheless the territory is entered without permission and every possibility is used to take

pictures. The same happens to other places in that region, many have lost their spirit completely. Many old traditional wooden houses have been replaced or taken over by people that are only profit oriented. Even a monastery has already been closed because of this reason The new buildings have been build hosting businesses that the tourists demand because of their culture like Pizza restaurants and internet cafes. The city is completely designed for tourists.

Almost none of the traditional businesses have been kept.Furthmore many guesthouses and hotels had to be constructed in order to meet tourism demand changing the picture and architecture of the city. But the culture of the tourists has not only influenced the city structure but also the attitude and behaviour of the residents. Being exposed to media brought to the community as well as to the lifestyle of the tourists incidents like sex, drugs and minor crimes have come up among the novices in the monasteries. This has never been a problem in times prior to the tourist flows. Furthmore traditionally dressed locals are perceived as looking awkward in their own environment.

In Luang Prabang the traditional buildings could have been saved as it had been declared as a world heritage but the other impacts could not have been avoided. A former UNESCO expert described the impact of tourism quite well with stating “We have saved Luang Prabang's buildings, but we have lost its soul. ” From this sentence it can be concluded that this region has lost its spirits and tradition what once has made this region so unique. 2.

4 South Carolina Sea Islands, United States of America Those Islands

are located at the cost of South Carolina in the United States and have a plantation and slavery history.Therefore in addition to white residents many African Americans live in this region and their cultural heritage is a strong part of the regions’ traditional culture which is called Gullah. Many African American used to be involved in farming owning a high percentage of the islands’ land. But when the tourism started to develop more and more land was needed to build tourist accommodations, golf courses etc.

Due to this the property taxes were rising and reached a level which the land owners could not afford anymore. They had to sell their land to the tourism investors and switch jobs.Their home was going to be taken over by foreigners. The former land owners switched to jobs mainly located in tourism sector but as many of them were not that well educated only low to moderate level positions were offered to them, mainly in the service sector. The whites, mainly coming form the mainland, received the high-level, high income jobs. It can even be said that the blacks were offered the left over positions the whites did not want to do.

Some African American even had to move to mainland as they could not afford to live on the island anymore.Nevertheless they were still dependent on the tourist jobs. Therefore they had to travel the long distance to the islands everyday leaving early in them morning and returning late ate night letting their kids stay by themselves. This had a negative influence on family stability. The lack of care and money and the lack of a chance to

get a satisfying job in the future let many children become engaged in criminal activities like robbery and theft. But this has not only been a problem of the “mainland families”.

The lack of prospects and the feeling of injustice also raised the crime level on the islands.Most black college graduate leave the area and their routes as they do not have a chance there. The white island residents were not affected to such a high extent by the job matter as their jobs did not contradict that much with the tourism sector. Some business owners even consider the tourism development as positive because they get the chance to interact with many different people which broadens their mind. Therefore it can be said that the tourism has led to distinct separation between black and white.

Nevertheless, they also the whites can experience a general separation between the residents and the visitors.Many people from the mainland, the majority being white and retirees build their holiday mansions on the islands and their need for security made them bundle them into gated communities with their own security system and facilities. This prevents any interaction between the mansion owners and the residents leaving the residents with a feeling of being locked out by guests in their own environment. In addition to this because of the nice atmosphere the majority of the communities were built close the water which is also the location of many African American cemeteries which have been created hundreds of years ago.As the mansion builders did not care about that and the blacks being forced to sell their land they now have to ask for permission

to visit the graves of their ancestors now bean situated inside those communities. This creates even more frustration and reluctance to the tourism industry by the blacks.

Concerning the culture the impact is differing a bit on the several islands. One islands almost denies completely its Gullah heritage only dedicating one small room of its museum to it. It is said that “As African Americans became displaced physically from the island, they have become displaced socially and culturally as well. It is also noticed that many of elderly still know how to carry out the traditional crafts like net making, boat building quilting etc. “but they're just not doing it anymore” Nevertheless on other islands the African Americans still feel the strong bonds to the nature and their heritage which have maybe even strengthened by the struggles they had to go through. Certain organizations want to preserve and revitalize the cultural heritage by promoting it to culturally interested tourist but this has to be done carefully.

They are very aware that the message has to be hat this is a normal part of the culture and nothing ”exotic”.Otherwise tourists will behave like in a zoo looking for the strange Gullah people resulting in an even more uncomfortable situation for the African Americans. Some Islands already have started to use tourism for preservation of their culture by selling artistically sewed baskets to tourists and traditional food on festivals. The demand for it gave the back a little bit of their cultural pride. Nevertheless the start of cultural preservation can not out weigh the fact that the tourism impact on these islands has brought back a modernized

lantation culture to a certain extent where the whites own the land and the blacks being the servants without any rights and demands. 3.

Conclusion Looking at these examples it can be concluded that as soon as tourism reaches a destination nothing is like it has been before. All of these destinations have definitely experienced a socio-cultural impact. It is very likely that this will happen or has happened in every other location invaded by tourism as the example communities have been on different continents but still have comparable experiences.Some of the aspects can definitely be considered positive as they have helped the community to improve their situation.

This is the reduction of poverty by creating jobs and business start up possibilities for the locals. Interaction with people from all over the world adds to the knowledge of the locals and can open up their minds for necessary change. It also can improve skills like learning other languages. It can also help to preserve cultural heritage and arts that might have been lost otherwise but this will mainly stay on a commercial level.However the examples have also shown that tourism can have major negative impacts that are irreparable or at least can never be eliminated completely. It has made societies split completely causing wounds that probably never can be healed.

It can even abandon parts of societies and lower their living standards tremendously. Additionally, tourism that initially has the aim to visit a destination different from home actually makes a destination loose its specialty and uniqueness due to tourists’ demand, respectlessness and making society adapt to their own culture and habits.It can create a completely

new location that has nothing in common with the original making unique cultures vanish. Due to these severe negative socio-cultural impacts I can say that this topic definitely needs more attention and media presence in order to create more awareness among tourists, the tourism industry and organizations. New laws, policies and programmes have to guarantee a more socio-cultural sustainable tourism. This is necessary to trigger action and prevent future tourism destinations from these risks and to help current destination to repair, stop and avoid ongoing negative processes.

SourcesLiterature Cooper, Chris et al. , 2005. Tourism Principles and Practice. 3rd ed.

Essex: Pearson Education Limited. Chapter 7 Internet Longstreath, David. March 28, 2008. Mass tourism now swamps Asia's once unique and remote places [online] The Canadian Press Available from: http://canadianpress. google.

com/article/ALeqM5i2G7mymBbzeEHygEGZ0kgUsynHPg Sotiropoulou, Eleni-Christina. November 2007. Tourism, Village Space and the Re-appropriation of Rural: Towards a New Social Organisation of the Countryside [online] Tourismos: An International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism Volume 2, Number 2, Autumn 2007, pp. 13-128 Available from: http://mpra. ub.

uni-muenchen. de/6371/1/MPRA_paper_6371. pdf Acharya, Pradeep. 2001. Socio-economic Impacts of Tourism in Lumbini, Nepal: A Case Study [online] Available from: http://www.

nepjol. info/index. php/DSAJ/article/viewFile/290/281 Faulkenberry, Lisa V. , Coggeshall, John M. , Backman, Kenneth & Backman, Sheila. Spring 2000.

A culture of servitude: The impact of tourism and development on South Carolina's coast [online] bnet, business network Available from: http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_qa3800/is_200004/ai_n8890931

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