Tourism is great for not just individual travelers, but also the local economies. Primarily it is just a fantastic source of income, because its money that would not have been earned if the tourists were not there. Tourism also allows wealth to be injected into a community in a variety of ways. The great benefit of this industry is that it’s extremely labor intensive, and many of the businesses that operate within it are only small businesses and micro operators. This means that every penny coming into the industry is quickly felt by business owners and staff, and is directly related to a boost in local spending. For a community with the potential to become a tourist destination, there is a huge range of benefits. It is also great for individual travelers, because with a booming tourism industry, there are lots to do, plenty of places to stay, and as a result, more and more tourists are drawn in. Tourism has a way of bringing income into a community that would otherwise have not been earned.
EMPLOYMENT: One of the easiest advantages to identify is the jobs tourism brings. This ranges from directly influenced positions like tour guides, hotel staff, coach services, and restaurants. What is great about all these businesses is that they not only pay wages to their staff, but source goods and products locally, giving a boost to local industry. What is great about tourism is that the supporting industries like retail and food production also benefit, although it is not as obvious to the untrained eye as this is mostly occurring behind the scenes.
INCREASED SPENDING IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY: This comes two fold. First, you have the money that is spent directly by tourists in the economy. Not just on tourism, but there are a huge range of basic human requirements that need to be purchased, like food, clothing, hairdressing, medical services, and transportation needs that all need to be filled, along with souvenirs and amusements. In its own way, tourism supports global trade.
In addition to what is spent by tourists, the tourism income that is earned, by both businesses and individuals is often re-injected into the local economy, so you have more money being earned locally thanks to tourism, which is then spent in the local economy as well. This is why tourism revenues are often referred to as having a multiplier effect, because a large percentage of every tourist dollar earned is reintroduced back into the economy, again and again. This is the multiplier effect. Ultimately, the more tourist dollars coming in, the larger the economic benefit for everyone.
DIVERSIFICATION: In addition to bringing prosperity to an economy, it also allows an economy to develop a new form of income. This acts as an insurance policy in case of hard times, because the additional income coming in can help support traditional industries in case they come under financial pressure. This is especially important for communities that rely on a single industry, or where there is a concentration of industry that is environmentally damaging such as mining or manufacturing. It is also important for rural communities, where there is significant risk based on the farming conditions and global commodity prices. Tourism allows a community to diversify their sources of income, and rely less on a single industry.
INFRASTRUCTURE: The additional revenue that comes into a community also benefits the local council or governments. It means more tax dollars, which allows public projects to be launched or developed. This means the infrastructure improves, with new roads being built, parks developed and public spaces improved. The better facilities brings in more visitors, but is a fantastic benefit to local residents, especially when there is enough revenue to build new airports, schools and hospitals, which all support the economic development even further. Without a good infrastructure, the flow of goods and services is impossible, and tourism revenues allow this to be supported.
SOCIAL ADVANTAGES: In addition to the revenue, there are also fantastic cultural advantages to tourism. It can be a source of pride for local communities, and allows them to look at their history and cultural heritage and develop their own community identity. This helps the local residents to maintain their traditions and culture, while show casing it for all the visitors. This advantage of tourism is what has saved many local heritage sites from destruction, in addition to giving tourists a wonderful insight into the local ways of life. Tourism can help to preserve the history of a region that may be at risk of being lost. In many places the introduction and development of tourism allows local people an opportunity for economic and educational growth that would not otherwise be available. In addition, it allows both the tourist and the local community a chance to experience other cultures, which broadens understanding. If properly used, tourism generated income can be tremendously beneficial to the host country and its local communities. Tourism generated income can be used on a national and local level to better education, improve infrastructure, to fund conservation efforts, and to promote more responsible tourism.
OPPORTUNITIES: Bringing tourists into a community gives it new life, and creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish new services and products, or facilities that would not be sustainable based on the local population of residents alone. Tourists are all potential customers, and with the right approach can be targeted in a business strategy that allows for fantastic success. There is no doubt tourism is fantastic for a local community. The key to remember when you are traveling yourself is to be a sustainable tourist, always act to support the cultural diversity of the place you are visiting, and make sure you take part in activities that add value to the local community. Never do anything that deteriorates the environment you are visiting or intend to visit.