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Does tourism have a negative or positive impact on a travel destination?
Many places around the world depend heavily on tourism as a key source of income and jobs. Unfortunately, tourism can also cause problems, especially if it is not well managed. A huge influx of visitors can gradually deplete the beauty, uniqueness, character, environment, resources and social coherence of a tourist destination over time.

It is easy to underestimate the magnitude of tourism. Each year, around one billion tourists travel the world: that makes 30 tourists arriving every second. That many travelers can easily present enormous challenges to many destinations. Transport, provide places to stay, feed, entertain, monitor and clean up after many additional people are not a simple or direct task. Is it worth it?

This article lists the main advantages and disadvantages of tourism.

The benefits of tourism
Economic - It makes money. This is probably the main advantage of tourism and the reason why it has been so much promoted, especially in developing countries. The income generated can represent a significant part of private, local and national income.
Opportunistic - It provides jobs. Hotels, bars, transport, activities, shops and restaurants all need staff. Tourism can provide vital jobs for people.
Infrastructure - It provides a means and an incentive to invest in infrastructure such as roads, railways and local medical and educational facilities.
The Environment - It can provide economic incentives to a place to preserve, maintain and regenerate the environment in urban and rural areas.
Intercultural - It promotes international connections that can bring more long-term commercial and cultural collaborations. It also promotes intercultural awareness for locals and tourists and builds bridges of understanding between cultures.
Promotional - It "puts a place on the map": tourism gives the locality a chance to show itself and make itself known in the world.
The disadvantages of tourism
Environment - Tourism can often cause environmental damage with risks such as erosion, pollution, loss of natural habitats and forest fires. Even if tourists behave responsibly, their numbers can cause harm. Buildings, monuments and ancient temples often find it difficult to cope with increased traffic and inevitably suffer from wear and tear. Reefs and other natural tourist attractions can suffer permanent damage.

Cultural - The commercialization of culture can undermine the soul of a tourist destination. Local traditions which have a rich cultural heritage are reduced to the wearing of costumes and the staging of tourist acts in exchange for money.
Cultural conflicts - Tourists often lack respect for local traditions and culture, refuse to follow local clothing standards, get drunk in public or behave in a rude or inappropriate manner towards locals.
Service economy - Although jobs are created by tourism, most are relatively low-level, such as bar work, hotel service, catering, etc. These low-wage, low-skilled workers have few prospects for advancement or promotion.
Seasonal fluctuations - Tourism jobs are generally seasonal and insecure, with no additional benefits such as pensions, sickness benefits or health care. Some areas may be inundated with visitors during peak periods and then virtually deserted for many months.
Unbalanced funding - Money may end up going to tourist areas when it could be used more effectively elsewhere in a country. Residents who do not live in specific tourist areas are lacking and are in relative decline.
Tourism dependence - Sometimes tourism becomes so central that other forms of income generation are overlooked and economic dependence on tourism forms. It’s good at the right time, but it can leave the country vulnerable to long-term economic ruin and can contribute to political upheaval or natural disasters.
Disease transfer - Tourists can bring all kinds of diseases, including the most dangerous, to the local population.

Negative environmental impacts of tourism
Although tourist money can be used wisely for the preservation of environments, tourism weighs on natural resources and often promotes overconsumption and unfair allocation of resources in places where resources are already limited. When tourism becomes unsustainable, it can cause lasting damage to the environment. Tourism has an impact on wildlife, vegetation, air quality, water quality and supply and natural phenomena.

Pollution - When large numbers of people visit, they invariably weigh on the transportation system and contribute to pollution - locally and globally. Flying a mile on an airplane produces around 24 Kg of carbon dioxide, and tourists account for almost 60% of air travel. Some estimate that cruise ships to the Caribbean generate more than 70,000 tonnes of waste annually.

Environmental damage - Many tourist activities have negative ecological impacts. Snorkeling, hiking and fishing affect and impoverish the local landscape. There is a trail in the Himalayas which is nicknamed the "toilet paper trail". A tropical golf course requires the amount of water that would feed 60,000 people ... more than 1.4 tonnes of chemical pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides per year.

Ecotourism - Often, even environmentally conscious travelers have a negative impact. When traveling to witness distant natural sites like rainforests and other declining and at-risk places, tourists often damage the things they have come to see.

Invasive organisms - Tourism can propagate non-native species. The increased human presence of many diverse geographic regions has a detrimental effect on native plants and introduces non-native species to these regions.

Negative Effects of Human Interaction with Wildlife - An increased human presence can seriously damage the delicate balance of food webs, ecological communities and key species in an area.

Depletion of natural resources - Tourism can put pressure on natural resources and encourage overconsumption. This is particularly damaging in places where resources such as food and water are already scarce.

Cultural benefits of travel
The opportunity to challenge stereotypes
When you visit another culture, you have the opportunity to be exposed to unfamiliar traditions and perspectives and to have a broader, more informed and kinder view of the people and places you meet, as well as of humanity and the world in general. Preconceptions and stereotypes can be replaced by complexity, empathy and first-hand knowledge.

On the other hand, those who travel with a group and do not interact with locals or simply visit tourist sites and never think outside the box may not enjoy this benefit at all. It is not enough to visit a place to expose a person to the culture. Getting to know people takes effort.

Gain cultural awareness
An important part of understanding a culture is knowing your unique social ways and etiquette. Things that you think are normal or benign can be interpreted as offensive and vice versa. Wearing shoes indoors, showing skin, pointing with your index finger and making certain sounds can be considered rude in some places, so it is wise to do your research on local customs and moray eels in advance.

An authentic experience of culture
Living the traditions, rituals, festivals, celebrations and rites of a community can be a wonderful way to better understand a culture. When local people come together to observe a tradition that has been practiced for many generations, this is an excellent opportunity to better understand this culture.

However, in many tourist spots you will find traditional dances, music and other rites performed only for entertainment and profit. For example, when organized for tourists, Hawaiian luau, Spanish flamenco dances, and Balinese ceremonies may lose their original meaning, energy, and purpose and simply become a spectacle.

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