Tourism and Basic Needs

Poorer countries should consider developing their tourist industry as they are predominantly agricultural, have sharply limited development prospects in the near future and tend to be heavily dependent on official development assistance as almost everything requires money. Tourism is an attractive tool that could solvooe these problems as the developing countries could invest in this industry to reap massive amount of profits which could speed up the development of the country’s economy and allow the basic needs of people to be met.

Tourism is considered to be the most tactical approach for economic development, specifically in the poorer countries. When viewed as an export industry of the 3Gs, ‘ Get them in, Get their money and Get them out’, tourism has the greatest tendency to assist developing countries to move away from a dependency on agriculture and also, diversifying its sources of revenue. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s study on tourism and travel, tourism industry creates most jobs in developing countries and their foreign earnings leapt from less than US$50 billion in 1990 to more than US$260 billion in 2007.

With such vast amount of revenue, this could jumpstart the local economy and provides quick capital injection. Furthermore, in the case of having inefficient or corrupted government, the tourism industry can also provide one source of direct earning to the poor people. Therefore, poorer countries should place the development of their tourist industry as their main priority because it would address the problem of insufficient funds and to better caters the basic needs of their own people. Basic needs of people often include food, clothing and medicine.

Others are clean water and sanitation, adequate levels of nutrition, access to primary health care and basic education. To achieve all these, the government has to invest in the tourist industry such that it would play as a substantial role in job creation. In addition, good planning is also required of the local government. Good planning will allow poorer countries to benefit from high-value added tourism such as eco-tourism, medical tourism, educational tourism, adventure tourism and creative tourism which is a form of cultural tourism.

Private tour guides are also an excellent way to get insight of the country and help the locals to earn an income. A recent trend is dark tourism which is a small niche market driven by varied motivations such as mourning, remembrance or macabre curiosity. The main draw of this is mostly due to their historical value rather than their associations with death and suffering. An example will be Cambodia which combines cultural and dark tourism in places like Angkor Wat and Tuol Sleng War musemum.

Thus, with such planning and vast diversity of tourism, the locals will definitely benefit from them and would be self-sufficient in meeting their own basic needs. However, the environmental impact of the tourism industry on the locals must be considered. Where there is no benefit to offset the negative impact, developing the tourism industry may be just a raw deal. Hotels, discos, greater air, land, noise pollution and urban congestion would upset the tranquility of the area.

Tourism can also lead to the creation of unsightly human structures that do not fit in the local architecture and would lead to the disturbance of the wildlife habitat which accompanies with the loss of biodiversity of plants and animals. Some tourism destinations may become victims of shifting taste. In this context, the excessive building and environment destruction are often associated to the traditional “sun and beach” tourism which may contribute to a destination’s saturation and its subsequent decline.

Such example would be Spain’s Costa Brava. To counter to this problem, the local government of the poorer country needs to practice careful urban planning and introduce new laws and enforcement. Instead of the creation of infrastructure that do not fit into the local community, the government could consider building something that has the local colours as it may have a greater effect in attracting tourists to visit them. By doing so, it would reduce the chances of the traditional “sun and beach” tourism.

In addition, the implementation of laws and enforcement would tackle the local greenery issues as this could reduce the impact on wildlife and plants. Therefore, only with these accompanying solutions, the problem can be reduced to the minimum and would prevent huge financial loss. In all, poorer countries should develop their tourist industry as it would provide them with an alternative source of financial income. This would also assist in the economic development as it brings in the much needed foreign currency which would benefit the locals as their basic needs could then be met.