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The Importance Of Tourism In Mauritius Tourism Essay

Chapter 2

This chapter deals with the importance of Tourism in Mauritius along with its socio-cultural impacts. The government too encourages tourism for its ability to spread economic development along with reducing inequalities in income distribution by providing jobs. In other words, it raises the standard of living of the local people. As mentioned by Glasson et al., 1995, the government views tourism as a catalyst for national and regional development. Moreover, it brings employment, exchange of currency, balance of payments advantages and important development such as infrastructure benefiting locals and visitors alike. Tourism industry has been the largest as well the fastest industry of the world. Along with the benefits, it must be noted that the negative impacts should not be ignored. Therefore, here, emphasis will be laid mostly on socio-cultural impacts of Tourism in Mauritius.

What is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism is a kind of approach to tourism meant to support the development of ecological tourism in the long term. If tourism is to become part of a more sustainable lifestyle, changes are needed to the patterns of behaviour adopted by the public.

Being a core pillar of the economy, the sustainable tourism industry, therefore plays a significant role by contributing to development of goals set for 2015 and alleviating poverty, creating jobs and providing livelihoods to the people of all works of life.

Moreover, sustainable tourism is known as tourism development that avoids damage to the environment economy and cultures of the locations where it takes place. Therefore, it deals with the serious issues such as conserving the resources, valuing the local culture and tradition and contributing largely in the economy. The aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people, tourism companies as well as the tourists themselves.

Characteristics of Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism tries its utmost to maintain the importance of local culture and tradition.

Sustainable Tourism is informatory, as it doesn’t only let tourist know about the destinations but also it helps locals knowing about the culture and civilisation of tourists.

This kind of tourism is aimed to conserve the resources of destinations where one is visiting to

Sustainable Tourism seeks deeper involvement of locals, which provide local people an opportunity and make their living. Above all, Sustainable Tourism stresses pointedly upon integrity of the tourist places.

Moreover, educating locals about sustainability can help in training people to preserve the product that actually offers them a living. In the tourism literature, another major theme linked to culture is that of the impact of tourism development on host cultures (Cole, 2004).

Contribution of Tourism in the Economy

Tourism contributes much in the economy in a way that the economic policy and planning will revolve mainly around certain fundamental objectives. For example in Mauritius, the potential contribution of tourism is noted under each of these.

-Achieving economic growth

-Achieving the equitable distribution of economic activities by region of the country

-Tourism is a good source of government revenues.

-Ensuring adequate maintenance and expansion of the country’s physical infrastructure and public utilities - roads, harbours, airports, and transportation systems, telecommunications

-Providing an adequate public health system

-Providing an adequate educational and vocational training system

Relationship between Ecotourism and Sustainable tourism

When we talk about sustainable tourism, it deals mostly with the principles of sustainable tourism which are widely accepted, with the idea of prevailing sustainable tourism. Hence, ecotourism, which basically deals with nature tourism, aiming to conserve the environment and improving the well-being of local people, is considered as a speciality product of achieving sustainable tourism, also attracting a considerable amount of interests among both tourist researchers and governors. Ecotourism is seen as a form of tourism that is highly visible and growing rapidly. However, though the goals of ecotourism and sustainable tourism are much similar, the latter is broader and conceals within itself very many aspects and categories of tourism.

Relationship between host community and guest

Tourist—host encounters occur in three main contexts:

-Where the tourist is buying some good or service from the host,

-Where they are in the same place at the same time,

-And when they meet and share ideas and information (de Kadt 1979).

Referring to the last type of encounter is far less common than the first two, tourism often fails in promoting mutual understanding among different nations and stereotypes prevail (Nettekoven 1979; Krippendorf 1987; O’Grady 1990). As we can see, this might be create troubles in different nations and may divide them too.

Society

Coming from the Latin word ‘societas’, which means as friendly association with others, a society a can be described as a group of people related to each other through persisted relations such as social status, roles and social networks. It is a group that shares the same geographical territory and have the same political authority and cultural expectations. In other words, society is the members sharing some mutual concern or interest aiming to a common goal.

However, related to tourism, we do have some socio-cultural impacts which can be both positive and negative, some form of socio-cultural impact is an inevitable part of the host-visitor relationship as tourism brings together regions and societies that are normally characterised by varying degrees of difference. This is so, because the visitors are from different origin and they carry them their own beliefs, values and expectations.

What is culture?

Culture comes from the Latin word ‘cultura’ which means to cultivate, the term culture refers to the cultivation of the soul or mind. Therefore, culture can be described as a social construct which characterizes the behaviour and attitude of social groups. As said by (wolfram, 2002), culture can be an operating mechanism of genetic unfolding which is the basic of the concept.

Culture is also described as the sum of ideas, beliefs, values, knowledge and behaviour forming the shared basis for all social action. According to Enzensberger, culture may be defined simply as everything that humans do and do not do (Enzensberger, 1994).

A country’s culture consists of its way of life, the way people dress and look, its institutions, its street scenes, its market and buses and its rhythms and patterns, the whole character and appearance of its cities and its countryside. However, it is difficult to see a country’s culture in its totality, because there are so many factors and variables involved. Moreover, it has been noted that no group of people keeps on living in exactly the same way and the culture of a country changes in some way about every five minutes.

Social impacts of tourism

Tourism directly affects the lives of people living in the tourist areas and this something inevitable. The following are some of the effects which the development of tourism will bring to a new destination.

-It brings new jobs.

-Many women may be given opportunities to work for the very first time in their lives.

-Housing will improve and a variety of new housing projects will

develop.

-As noted, tourists are customers willing to pay for craft items, works

of art, and live performances. The traditional cultural pursuits will

undergo a process of commercialization.

However, along with the positive contribution of Tourism, the society is also affected by its negative impacts which are known as the ills of the society and causes much harm in terms of prostitutions, drug addictions, gambling, crimes, thefts, night life, western culture being adopted ignoring the local one specially amongst youngsters. It also gives rise to sex tourism, with aged foreigners flocking to some of the countries seeking young women as partners. Others come to indulge in pedophile activities.

Cultural Impacts of Tourism

Cultural tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing global tourism markets. This is so because culture and creative industries are being used increasingly to promote destinations and enhance their attractiveness and competitiveness. Developing their tangible and intangible cultural assets has become a means for many locations to develop comparative advantages in an increasingly competitive tourism marketplace and to create local distinctiveness in the face of globalisation.

The impact of tourism on culture examines the relationship between tourism and culture which keeps on growing and shows how tourism and culture share a strong link to help places become more attractive to tourists.

However, most if the time, while catering for the perceived needs of tourists, tourism development leads to destinations losing their cultural identity. The local people tend to forget that the tourists are short-stay visitors who carry with them their own cultural norms and behavioural patterns. It tends to become a source for commercialisation of traditional cultural events and customs leading to ‘fake folklore’ for tourists with no cultural value for the local population or the visitors. This becomes an issue as culture is being sacrificed for reasons of promoting tourism. In other words, creating an additional economic value at the price of losing a cultural value.

The Socio-cultural impacts of tourism on the host communities

The socio-cultural effects of Tourism are divided into three aspects:

1. On the destination

-That is, how well a destination is able to assimilate given numbers of visitors

2. On the way of life

-That is, the impact that visitors have on people’s values, and the local way of life.

3. On the arts

-That is, the influence of the visitors on the arts; music, dance, painting, sculpture, theatre, architecture, handicrafts and so on.

These three types of impacts have the following positive effects:

Firstly, the numbers of visitors boost the local economy creating wealth, generate jobs, produce improvements in the local infrastructure, trigger a range of new facilities and services, and stimulate other types of investment.

Secondly, tourism gives the opportunity to get into contact with the outside world, stimulates two-way flows of information, leads to the import of more goods and services, promotes cultural exchange, fosters a process of internationalization, and generally acts to develop the whole field of trade and communications.

Finally, it creates an audience and patronage for the local arts – mostly for handicrafts, theatre, music, and dance. It also has an indirect impact on all other artistic expressions - including architecture, painting and literature.

Impacts can also act in a negative way:

First, as already noted, tourism competes for space, thus, there can be some local resentment to sharing amenities with a large number of visitors.

Secondly, not only tourism but by development brought in general, there may be some resistance to the changes in the way of life and values and.

Lastly, there can be some resentment of the impact of the new market forces on both the contemporary arts and traditional.

As we know, all cultures differ from each other. However, while talking about the socio-cultural impacts of tourism, some concepts can be taken into consideration and these can influence one culture’s view with another and they are:

Norms and rules

Here, the way which the people and the society behave and the rules which they follow are noted. People are limited to some legal framework as well as are restricted through social norms-the etiquette and the codes of conduct which governs the ways in which people behave.

Emotionally

Emotions can be hidden or expressed and is likely to change from country to country. It may change over time also. For example, in many countries, anger is permitted only if the cause is justifiable. In other societies, showing anger in any circumstances is unacceptable.

Orientalism

Orientalism both creates and perpetuates false ideas about the behaviour of others, particularly as they relate to western views of the East and culture and. The mysteries of the East are due mainly to the West’s incomprehension of eastern cultures. These myths are not only frequently repeated but may also influence contacts and relations.

Primitivism

Primitive society is living in a natural state with full goodness and simplicity. It can also be said that humans who live in primitive societies are not as intelligent as those who live in advanced societies. They live on honesty and not an attacking egocentrically on another culture to legitimize their enslavement or destruction. They harvest what is naturally provided. However, tourism is often viewed as having disrupted the primitive societies as it has been influenced by the medial, consumerism, politics, economics, education, health, family structure, travel, migration and other social changes.

This can further be elaborated as tourism stimulates much interest in and conserve aspects of, the cultural heritage of the host (Cooper et al., 1998). It is noted that once the tourists appreciated the cultural heritage of a particular destination, that appreciation can increase the host’s pride in their heritage and foster local crafts, traditions and customs. In some countries, resources such as museum, national monuments, historical sites and ruins, rock paintings, cultural events, sports and recreational activities too are related to heritage and contribute much to the tourism sector (Government of Botswana, 1997).

Tourism has been contributing a lot positively on the society but however, the negative aspects also should be taken into consideration. While talking about the negative aspects, we cannot ignore the fact that the spread of disease through travel and tourism continues to cause a problem though it has largely been responsive to vaccination and control. Among these diseases, the transmission of AIDS on a world wide basis has become a very serious issue and remains one of the major socio-cultural concerns of Tourism.

It is noted that in Tourism AIDS is spread principally through sexual contacts. These consists either heterosexual or homosexual and may involve prostitutes, other tourists and ordinary members of the host population. Prostitutions is said to be the most common initial vehicle concerning the spread of the disease. Though tourism does not tend to create prostitution, it existed already and it is impossible to eliminate it too as it creates a certain type of tourism. However, another problem is that it tends to produce young prostitutes as there is a belief that younger girls are less likely to be infected. It is also noted that night clubs become more marketable if prostitution is available there. This has become a means of commerce and entertainment whereby a country’s culture is much affected without forgetting the other sources such as advertising, fashion and media by which culture is much influence.

These bring much idea about values and lifestyles. For example, Coca Cola denotes more than a soft drink, Levis more than a pair of blue jeans, McDonalds more than a hamburger and Christian Dior more than a fashion house. Films are released on a worldwide basis. Everybody listens to the same pop music. People are influenced by these and thus, much of modem culture has become universal.

GRI

The global Reporting Initiative is a well-known network based organization used to report sustainability framework. The reporting framework sets out the Performance Indicators and principles that can be used by organizations in order to measure and report their economic, environmental and social performance publicly. There they use may techniques and some of them are:

-Ecological Footprint reporting.

-Environmental social governance reporting

-Triple Bottom-line reporting

-Corporate social Responsibility.

Based on these, Accountability of socio-cultural Impacts too forms part of these.

Accountability

When we talk about accountability, we talk about a concept used in ethics and governance with several warnings. It can be used synonymously with concepts such as responsibility, answerability, blame worthiness, liability and other terms associated with the expectation of account-giving.

Responsibility also deals with responsible tourism which is about taking responsibility individually and collectively for triple bottom line sustainability, economic, social and environmental. In travel and tourism, much emphasis has been laid on environmental responsibility. However, we should not ignore the fact that tourism is about taking individual and corporate responsibility to implement the principles of sustainable development. Each one of the society has got his own duty to respect it in all actions they perform.

Accountability is thus, the acknowledgement and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions and policies including the administration, governance and implementation within the scope of the roles or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report explaining and answering the resulting consequences.

Types of accountability

Political accountability

Political accountability is the accountability of the government, politicians and civil servants to the public and to legislative bodies such as a congress or a parliament.

In a few cases, recall elections can be used to revoke the office of an elected official. However, voters do not have any direct way of holding elected representatives to account during the term for which they have been elected. In addition, some legislators and officials may be appointed rather than elected. Constitution, or statute, can empower a legislative body to hold their own members, the government, and government bodies to account. This can be through holding an internal or independent inquiry. Inquiries are usually held in response to an allegation of misconduct or corruption. The procedures, powers, and sanctions vary from country to country. The legislature may have the power to remove the individual, to impeach them, or suspend them from office for a period of time. The accused person might also decide to resign before trial.

Ethical accountability

Ethical accountability is the practice of improving overall personal and organizational performance by promoting and developing professional expertise and responsible tools, and by advocating an effective enabling environment for people and organizations to embrace a culture of sustainable development. Ethical accountability may include the individual, along with large and small businesses, research institutions and academics, not-for-profit organizations and government. One scholarly paper has posited that "it is unethical to plan an action for social change without excavating the wisdom and knowledge of the people who are responsible for implementing the plans of action and the people whose lives will be affected."

Administrative accountability

Internal rules and norms as well as some independent commission are mechanisms to hold civil servant within the administration of government accountable. Within ministry or department, firstly, behavior is bounded by rules and regulations; secondly, civil servants are subordinates in a hierarchy and accountable to superiors. Nonetheless, there are independent “watchdog” units hold departments accountable to scrutinize and to scrutinize and; legitimacy of these commissions is built upon their independence, as it avoids any conflicts of interest. Apart from internal checks, some “watchdog” units accept complaints from citizens, bridging society and government to hold civil servants accountable to citizens.

Market accountability

Under voices for privatization and decentralization of the government, services provided are nowadays more “customer-driven” and should aim to provide various choices and convenience to citizens; with this perspective, there are competition and comparisons between public and private services and this, ideally, improves quality of service. As mentioned by Bruce Stone, the standard of assessment for accountability is therefore “responsiveness of service providers to a body of ‘sovereign’ customers and produce quality service. Outsourcing service is one means to adopt market accountability. Government can choose among a shortlist of companies for outsourced service; within the contracting period, government can hold the company by rewriting contracts or by choosing another company.

Accountability in education

Virtually all schools today that deny it but in opposition, Sudbury schools choose to recognize that students are personally responsible for their acts. The denial is threefold: schools do not permit students to choose their course of action fully; they do not permit students to embark on the course, once chosen; and they do not permit students to suffer the consequences of the course, once taken. Freedom of choice, freedom of action, freedom to bear the results of action—these are the three great freedoms that constitute personal responsibility. Sudbury schools claim that "Ethics" is a course taught by life experience. They adduce that the absolutely essential ingredient for acquiring values—and for moral action is personal responsibility, that schools will become involved in the teaching of morals when they become communities of people who fully respect each others' right to make choices, and that the only way the schools can become meaningful purveyors of ethical values is if they provide adults and students with real-life experiences that are bearers of moral import. Students are given complete responsibility for their own education and the school is run by a direct democracy in which staff and students are equals.

Constituency relations

Within this perspective, a particular agency or the government is accountable if voices from groups or institutions, agencies, which is outside the public sector and representing citizens’ interests in a particular field or constituency, are heard. Moreover, the government is obliged to empower members of agencies with political rights to run for elections and be elected; or, appoint them into the public sector as a way to hold the government representative and ensure voices from all constituencies are included in policy-making process.

Public/private overlap

With the increase over the last several decades in public service provision by private entities, especially in the United States and Britain, some have called for increased political accountability mechanisms to be applied to otherwise non-political entities. Legal scholar Anne Davies, for instance, argues that the line between public institutions and private entities like corporations is becoming blurred in certain areas of public service provision in the United Kingdom and that this can compromise political accountability in those areas. She and others argue that some administrative law reforms are necessary to address this accountability gap.

Socio Cultural Impacts Accountability

This is a measure used to measure an organization's state of being mindful of the emerging social concerns and priorities of internal and external stakeholders involving the community, governmental, employees and nongovernmental organizations, management, and owners. It can be reflected in the organization's verifiable commitment to certain factors (which may or may not be tied directly to its processes) such as:

(1) willing compliance with health and hygiene, employment, safety, and environment laws.

(2) respect for human basic and civil rights.

(3) betterment of community and surrounding.

Social Foot Print

Many people in the sustainable business world have long awaited the release of the Social Footprint, a measurement and reporting tool that appears destined to become as common as carbon foot printing within the next five years or so which now available to help you quantify your business's social sustainability. In other words, it can help you determine the impact your company has on society.

Moreover, the Social Footprint Method is a measurement and reporting tool that quantifies the social sustainability performance of an organization. In this regard, the Social Footprint is similar to the Ecological Footprint, which is a method for measuring and reporting the ecological impact of a human population. Unlike the Ecological Footprint, however, which measures a population’s use of, and impact on, natural resources (i.e., natural capital), the Social Footprint deals with impacts on what we call anthro capital (comprised of human, social and constructed capital).

The Social Footprint Method differs from the Ecological Footprint in another very important way. Unlike natural or ecological capital, which is limited and which humans do not create, most forms of anthro capital are exclusively produced by people and can be created virtually at will. When confronted with shortages of anthro capital, we can almost always create more of it if we want to.

Thus, the gaps that must be closed in the case of anthro capital are not sustainability gaps between fixed resources we have and fixed resources we need; rather, they are gaps between non-fixed resources we have and non-fixed resources we could have more of if only we chose to produce them. The extent to which an organization contributes to either causing or closing such gaps is what the Social Footprint Method measures, be they positive contributions or negative ones.

What further differentiates the Social Footprint Method from other sustainability reporting tools is the manner in which it measures performance against standards of performance. Top-line, trend-oriented tools are a step in the right direction, but only the Social Footprint Method provides a means of producing true bottom-line measures of corporate social sustainability using standards of performance as a guide. No other CSR method does this.

Tourism in Mauritius

In the past thirty years, Mauritius has developed from a low-income economy based on agriculture to a middle-income diversified economy. Much of this economic growth has been the result of the expansion of the luxury tourism sector. Mauritius is one of Africa's wealthier countries, and its economy is mainly dependent on the sugar, textiles, and tourism industries. As world sugar prices have declined and the production of textiles has become economically unfeasible, the tourist industry is being concentrated on. Tourist policy in Mauritius promotes elite and specialist tourism because of the limited space available for tourism and the need to maximise income while minimizing environmental impact. Low budget tourism in not encouraged. Preferring high-end tourism, the Mauritian government promotes boutique luxury hotels, 4 and 5 stars beach resorts, golf courses, and spas and beauty centres. Tourism is directed primarily at the high-spending European market.

Mauritius had about 18,000 visitors in 1970. Between 1985 and 2000 the size of its tourism sector, measured by the increase in tourist arrivals, grew by approximately 340%.Tourist arrivals in 2004 were almost 720,000. Tourism created 30,000 full time job equivalents in 2000. Recently, for the first eight months of 2010, tourist arrivals are forecasted at around 915, 000 for 2010 compared to a decline of 5.3% in 2009. tourist earnings are expected to be around R 37, 935 million in 2010 compared to R 35, 700 million in 2009. We expecting about 2million tourists by 2015.

Tourists are primarily European, mainly French and British. Mauritius tends to be a high cost tourist destination. Air travel and accommodation are relatively expensive. Most tourists are on package holidays; there is very little independent travel or backpacking. To promote up-market tourism, charter flights have been banned, the resort hotels have been built to high standards and there are high standards of cuisine and service. There are direct flights from Britain and South Africa.

The amount of resorts clustered in parts of the coastline is increasing, despite concerns about pollution and damage to coral reefs. Policy in the country has generally been to regulate contact between Mauritians society and tourists because of concerns about cultural and social problems.


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