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Analysing The Economic Impacts Of Tourism Tourism Essay

4930 words (20 pages) Essay in Tourism

5/12/16 Tourism Reference this

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2.0 Introduction

Tourism if often referred as the world’s largest industry and regarded as a means of achieving community development (Sharpley, 2002). According to the World Tourism Organisation (2009), tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industry and one of the global engines of development. One of the most popular topics of tourism is tourism impact studies toward the community. The understanding of community’s perceptions on tourism impacts is important (Ap.1992). A main reason for the rising interest has been the increasing evidence that tourism can both positive and negative impacts on local communities involved (Lankfort & Howard, 1994). Different perception from different residents can provide insight into the nature and degree of tourism impacts towards the respective tourist destination. The community perceptions on tourism impacts are likely to be an important planning for successful community development (Ko & Stewart, 2002).

The social conflict theories see society as providing a setting that generates conflicts and change. In fact, this approach emphasizes on equality and look at the extent to which such factors as race, ethnicity, gender and age are linked to unequal distribution of money, power, education and social prestige. (Macionis,2000). Equation involved a number of cases where communities are engaged in struggles with tourism developments. Social change forced by challenges of tourism can be negative as well as positive. Indeed the positive example described above went through set-backs and conflicts as part of the process. However, in several cases, increased conflict is more than a temporary blip. Conflict has arisen both within and between communities.

2.1 Doxey’s Irridex Model

In 1975, Doxey devised a theoretical model which has come to be considered as one of the most important contribution to tourism literature. In this model, Doxey states that an increase in the numbers of tourists and a more developed tourism industry at the destination results in irritation in the host community. In other words, this can lead to incompatibility of the host and the guest. This irritation can take the form of unfriendly behavior personified as resentment from the local community towards tourism. In this case the perception of the residents varies from ‘euphoria’ (a feeling of happiness or comfort) to ‘apathy’ when locals start losing interest in tourism; to ‘annoyance’ after the numbers of tourist and the unfavourable impacts have increased; and finally ‘antagonism’ (a generation of hostile reaction against tourism) (Cordero 2008).

Moreover there are cases where tourism developments have been initiated by an individual resident, or an outsider has sought to form an alliance with one or two locals, so stimulating internal community conflict. The impact of changes in social capital on sustainable livelihoods is hard to assess. But there is no doubt that particularly in such arid and relatively isolated areas, a household’s membership of the community, and the organization strength of that community, influence their livelihoods. Rural households need effectively functioning community institution to manage and mediate relations between households, and the land, natural resources, social networks and informal markets on which they all depend, and represent the community’s interest to others.

2.2 Butler’s Tourism Destination Lifecycle Model

According to Cordero (2008), although Butler’s Tourism Destination Lifecycle Model (2006) suggests that every tourist destination experience similar stages of development: “exploration involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, decline and/or rejuvenation”.

Figure 1: Butler’s Tourism Destination Lifecycle Model (Source: Butler 1980)

The first stage in the destination lifecycle starts with small numbers of tourists who visit the area gradually due to limitation such as accessibility to the area. The numbers of tourists increase rapidly as development assume several forms depending on such factors as the availability of information, marketing activities in the area and the existence of various services and facilities. The numbers of tourists then start to decline because of the destination reaching its full carrying capacity. Butler’s model has been supported by scholars such as Akis (1996), it has been contradicted by others such as Dyer (2007). Both Butler’s Destination Lifecycle Model and Doxey’s Irridex Model are limited by their unidirectional conceptualizations.

2.3 Ap’s Model For Understanding Residents’ Reactions

According to Eagly (1993), attitude is defined as a “emotional tendency that is articulated by evaluating a particular entity with some degrees of favor or disfavor”. Development stages here are described as “embracement, tolerance, adjustment and finally withdrawal” (Ap 1993). Similar to Doxey’s and Butler’s models, this model describes the way in which tourism development affects local people’s attitudes towards tourism. Embracement takes place when local people, especially those who benefit from tourism, accept it and feel positively about its impacts. In the tolerance stage, local people start feeling more of the impact of tourism. They become divided between being for or against tourism. Depending on the degree of their involvement in tourism, some of them adjust as per the adjustment stage while others do not. Finally, withdrawal takes place when local people can no longer cope with the impact of tourism and so their negative perceptions take over.

2.4 Social Exchange Theory

Social exchange theory (SET), used here, suggests that residents are likely to support tourism as long as the perceived benefits exceed the perceived costs. SET is based on the principle that human beings are reward-seeking and punishment avoiding and that people are motivated to action by the expectation of profits (Skidmore, 1975). SET assumes that social relations involve exchange of resources among groups seeking mutual benefits from exchange relationships.

There are a number of factors influencing resident’s attitudes towards tourism development related to its social, cultural, and environmental implications that have been examined using social exchange theory. SET is concerned with understanding the exchange of resources between parties in an interaction situation where the objects offered for exchange have value, are measurable, and there is mutual dispensation of rewards and costs between actors (Ap, 1992; Madrigal,1995).

From a tourism perspective, SET postulates that an individual’s attitudes towards this industry, and subsequent level of support for its development, will be prejudiced by his or her valuation of resulting outcomes in the community. Exchanges must occur to have tourism in a community. Residents must develop and promote it, and then serve the needs of the tourists. Some community residents reap the benefits, while others may be negatively impacted. Social exchange theory suggests people estimate an exchange based on the expenses and profit incurred as a result of that exchange. An individual that perceives benefits from an exchange is likely to evaluate it positively; one that perceives costs is likely to evaluate it negatively. Thus, residents perceiving their benefiting from tourism are likely to view it positively, and visa versa. Overall, we may conclude that residents are likely to participate in an exchange if they believe that they are likely to gain benefits without incurring unacceptable costs. If locals perceive that the benefits are greater than the costs, they are inclined to be involved in the exchange and, thus endorse future development in their community.

2.5 Aspects of Conflict

Thus, by rejecting the fact that society functions to promote solidarity and social consensus, conflict theorists put forward that society is about competition for scarce resources. This competition is reflected in the social institutions themselves and allows some people and organisations to have more resources and maintain their power and influence in society. Also, residents may experience a sense of elimination and isolation over planning and development concerns of the village and they may even undergo a loss of control over the community future as ‘outsiders’ take over establishment and new development. Hotels built in massive quantity or restaurants with standardized franchise designs might collide with local standards and disrupt the aesthetic appearance of the community, harm the unique community character, and spread equality.

Moreover, as the tourism industry has expanded, there have been an increasing number of incidents whereby local people are denied their traditional rights of use to beaches, land and sea. The locals often claim that they are chased away from their lands and are denied their exclusive rights to use the beach, land and sea. The farmers are forced to move away from their original farms as soon as the area is earmarked for tourism development.

Thus the justification of this study was to probe the different type of conflicts and consequences arising from tourism in the village of Belle Mare. Tourism’s socio cultural, economical and environmental impacts are example, from the perspective of the “host” community, of the problem caused by tourism.

2.6 Socio-Cultural Impacts of tourism

Social Impact tends to consist change occurring in the everyday life of the society and the adaptation to the existence and operation of the tourism sector. Socio-cultural transformations engendered by tourism on host communities include changes in traditional lifestyle, value systems, family relationships, individual behaviour and community structure (Ratz 2000). Social Impacts are transitory changes with cultural impact tend to take place in the long term (Teo 1994). Substantiation from numerous assessments of tourism impact reveals that tourism activity and development have both positive and negative impacts on local communities and their cultures. In simple term, Wolf (1977:3) states that Socio Cultural impacts are “People Impacts”; they refer to the positive and negative effects on the Host population of their direct and indirect association with tourist. An extensive interest emerged as early as 1970’s in the mechanism providing significant changes in the human environment leading to either an ameliorations or deteriorations in the quality of life of the local population

Socio-cultural impacts relay to changes in societal value systems, individual behavior, social relationships, lifestyle, mode of expression and community structures. The focus of socio-cultural impacts tends to be on the host community, i.e., the people who reside in tourist destinations, rather than the tourist-generating region. Mathieson and Wall (1982), state that socio-cultural impacts are the effect on the people of host communities, of their direct and indirect associations with tourists.

The socio-cultural impacts of tourism can be both positive and negative (Swarbrooke 1999). He argues that the negative or positive impacts are determined in accordance with factors such as the structure of the local community and its own culture, the facilities subsidized by the public sector to reduce the negative impacts, the nature of tourism at the destination and the degree of socio-economic development. Thus the perception of impacts can differ by factors such as community attachment, dependency on tourism, age, gender and education. With regard to community attachment, most studies have accomplished that the longer, a host has been resident in the area, the less they like tourism that is they are less ‘attached” to tourism (Jurowski 1997, Weaver 2001, McGehee and Andereck 2004)

Many researched have been conducted in the area of socio-cultural impacts, with conclusion being divides into the following categories: the negative consequences (Dogan 1989), the positive consequences (Brunt 1999) and no real social impacts (Liu 1986). Some studies assert that tourism can make both positive contribution to the sustainability of local communities particularly by increasing levels of economic welfare and well being. But on the other side of the coin, it seems to put forward that the interaction of tourism with the common activities of local communities is potentially harmful. Overall, residents appeared to be strong agreement that tourism brings positive social benefits which they can enjoy. Specially, these include items such as variety of entertainment available to resident, interacting with visitors as a valuable experience and the variety of cultural experience that tourism provides. Given this possibility, it is therefore no wonder that a majority would be in favor of increased tourism development. The overall positive attitude towards the social impacts is not surprising and can be explained by social exchange theory which assumes that potential beneficial outcomes will create positive attitudes towards tourism (Jurowski and Gursoy 2004). Similar findings were reported by Lankford et al (2003) who found that residents’ attitudes will be positive if they can use tourism resources. Given the fact that the community is largely dependent on tourism, the theory is therefore supported.

2.6.1 Positive Cultural Impacts of Tourism

Throughout history, culture is a significant motivator in arousing Man’s curiosity to travel from one country to another. Tourists want to appreciate the uniqueness of aspects of culture of various sections of our heterogeneous population. However, in the very broadest sense, culture can be understood as the whole way of life that is vital for the survival of a specific group or people living in a specific society. Thus, culture can be the dominant values that give direction for the day-to-day activities of people in society, comprising of the symbolic values and beliefs, intellectual and artistic achievements, traditions and rituals as well as the dominant patterns of living.

Arts and Handicrafts

From one side of the coin, tourism contributes in the conservation of Archeological and Historical sites, Arts and Handicrafts, Customer and Traditions in our country. Special mention should be made to Arts and Handicrafts for tourism in Mauritius as it has paved the way for the success of this particular sector. Every year the arts and Handicrafts sector produce a variety of ‘souvenirs’, higher-quality carvings, and hand made Artefacts to satisfy the demands of our foreign visitors. In order to attract more tourists, architectural and historical sites are restored and protected (Inskeep, 1991; Liu and Var 1986).

Souvenir is perceived as authentic reminders of a particular place are powerful signifiers of ideological meaning. It can be used as reminder of a particular place, as a symbols of certain cultures and religions and also as a reflex of social processes, interest and power relations. In certain societies the souvenir is important, not only as a cultural artifact but also as an analytic tool for understanding complex social processes.

Culture Expression

Tourism is the edge for cultural exchange, facilitating the communication between residents and visitors (domestic and international). Economic benefits aside, outside contacts draws awareness to the host community. People want to interact with other culture, learn about traditions and even confront themselves with new perspectives on life and society. Tourism has brought villagers into closer contact with the outside world; residents come into contact with ideas of the wider world, partly by talking with tourists. Tourism also helps to encourage interest in, and conserve aspects of, the host’s cultural heritage, which contribute for additional income for the destination as well as for the individuals and local business. Moreover, many people of different cultures come together by means of tourism facilitating the exchange of cultures (Brayley et al, 1990).

Tourism is normally an experience driven industry, and local culture is a sole experience, more so local personality, hospitality and food than “built attractions”. The more one knows and learns about a destination or its culture the more fulfilling the experience will be. Tourism can also help to promote a sense of community pride when they visit a specific location for a reason. However, community pride is generally related to economic prosperity with prosperous community more likely to take pride in their district. Well-presented towns and well-maintained facilities help visitors to feel welcome and can contribute to community pride, as Belle-Mare is one among them.

2.6.2 Negative Cultural Impacts

Negative socio cultural impacts are sometime the result of direct contact and the demonstration effect and these can distort the traditional behavior and customs. Tourism has also been criticized because it creates anxiety and can be a source of inter-generational stress. There are also other instances where cultural tourism has resulted in the commercialization of customs and traditional ceremonies. Tourism may also be related to increased crime, drug, prostitution and aids beyond a certain volume it can be a source of antagonism (Doxey, 1975). As stated by McNaughton (2006), tourism has the potential to create inequality and social tension. Sing-Cheong (2007) state that the tourism industry and globalizations are crossing borders between nations and cultures, resulting in many socio-cultural consequences.


It refers to the conversion of aspects of culture into a commercialized form of entertainment for tourist. A very famous example of trivialization refers to the sega in Mauritius.

The sega is mostly from the African music of the old slave days. It was being sung by the slaves to lament their loss of freedom and removal from their homes or loved one. Today the sega is a commercialized form of entertainment performed in a “polished style” by professional troupes in Hotels and Restaurants. The traditional musical instrument – The Maravanne, The Ravanne, The tambourine, and The Triangle have been replaced by sophisticated contemporary influences and instruments with a view to develop culture. The sega has lost its natural beauty, they turned out to arouse the inner feelings of the tourists.


The World Tourism Organization recognizes religion as significant motivator in arousing Man’s interest to visit religious sites of country to country. Holy places such as, Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina are famous religious visiting sites of the world. In Mauritius the Grand Bassin sacred lake remains a famous visiting site for tourist. It is essential to organize marketing campaigns so as to raise awareness of other religious sites such as la Cathedrale Saint Louis, Le Temple Kaliamen (Kalaysson), La Jummah Mosquee, Le Marie Reine De La Paix and Le tombeau De Pere Laval in Mauritius. To recall tourists in Mauritius are free to visit any religious shrines – provided they are dressed properly i.e mo shorts, no mini skirts, removal of shoes at the temple and mosques are expected code of behaviour for visitors.

Tourist Behaviour

Tourists often, out of ignorance or carelessness, fail to respect local customs and moral values, when they take a quick snap shot of the labourer or fisherman without asking their permission. When they do so, they can bring about irritation and stereotyping and can also invade the local peoples’ lives.

Crime, Prostitution and Sex Tourism

The relationship between tourism and crime is hard to ascertain. But crime rates naturally increase with the growth and urbanization of an area, and growth of mass tourism is often accompanied by increased crime. The existence of large number of tourists with lots of money to spend, increases the attraction for criminals and brings with it activities like robbery and drug dealing. The commercial sexual exploitation of children and young women has paralleled the growth of tourism. Belle-Mare has become a victim of this act as apartments are being rent on a timely basis. There are as well sources of contact, prostitutes and pimps are commonly citied as sources of aids in Mauritius. Though tourism is not the cause of sexual exploitation, it provides easy access to it.

The Demonstration

The main impacts of the tourist host relationship are the demonstration effect, when the host behaviour is modified in order to imitate tourists (Duffield and Long 1981; Crandall 1987; Pearce 1989). Youth are particular susceptible to demonstration effect particularly in term of changing dress behaviour, spending extravagantly on consumption and so on. As such tourist host interaction constitutes only one factor for change in attitudes, values or behaviour. There are as well other significant agents of demonstration effects such as radio, internet, print media, increased traveling, television and videos.

Access to Beach

Though Mauritius has a number of potential inland attractions, beach visitation remains a popular leisure activity of Mauritians. The rapid expansion of hotels and campement along the coastline has snatched away the rights of the citizens to walk freely or enjoy the attractiveness of their beaches. These are subtle mechanisms at work to deter locals to access quality of the beach. The residents are as such not against tourist but rather against the restriction. The local people express a feeling of fear and frustration as more hotel and campement construction will impinge further Right of Future Generation.

2.7 Economic Impacts of tourism

Tourism was encouraged first because of its economic impacts. Tourism is an engine for generating a range of new private and public income opportunities. The most immediate and direct benefit of tourism development is the creation of jobs and the opportunity for people to increase their income and standard of living in local communities. Hence local communities turn to tourism as a means of raising income, increase employment and living standards (Akis et al., 1996). These impacts are observable as tourists interact with the local economy, and community. Hence, it is apt to consider the impact of tourism under the heading of economic impacts. The economic impacts of tourism are the most widely researched impacts of tourism community (Mason, 2003). Economic impacts are easier to research in local community because it is small and generally easier to assess. The impact can either be positive, beneficial, or negative and detrimental to local community. Tourism can have positive economic effects on local economies, and are visible impact on national GDP growth. It could also an essential component for both community development and poverty reduction (Ashe, 2005). The economic impacts of tourism are therefore, generally perceived positively by the residents (Tatoglu et al., 2000).

Economic impacts are one of the most researched areas of tourism. As Pearce (1989) put out:

“Studies of the impact of tourist development on a destination or destinations have been the largest single element of tourism research

……much of this is predominantly the work of economists and has concentrated on the effects of income and employment.”

Tourism has many linkages with other economic sectors, and if incorporated into national development plans with sufficient provisions for inter sectoral linkages, it can contribute to the growth of all tourism-related activities in all of the major economic sectors – agriculture, including fishing, manufacturing and services, including transportation. Hence economic impacts are associated to and cannot be easily alienated from other types of impacts. All economic developments pertaining to tourism have effects on the society, economy and the environment.

2.7.1 Positive Economic Impacts of Tourism

Tourism has been a landmark in the development of Mauritian economy. Our country has passed through several distinct phases and in the process, has successfully diversified from a Monocrop culture highly dependent on the Export of sugar into Manufacturing, Tourism and Financial sector.

Contribution to GDP

The National income or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the most important measures of the pecuniary consequences of Tourism. As the largest component of tourism industry, hotels and restaurants, inevitably reflects a fair idea of overall tourism contribution on the economy. Data from the Bank of Mauritius indicate that gross tourism receipts for the first nine months of 2010 were Rs 28,167 million, i.e. an increase of 9.7% compared to Rs 25,685 million for the same period of 2009, (Table 1).

Increase Opportunities for Shopping

Another argument for the growth of tourism industry is that it gives local people the opportunity for more shopping. This is so because with the development of tourism, there are more and more shopping centers, supermarket, shops, restaurants and many other business units which are setting up in Belle Mare, as providing them with first class services for both the local as well for the foreigners.

Tourism As An Employer

Tourism as a highly labour intensive service industry offers a wide range of Direct Employment and Indirect Employment. With the setting up of different hotels, restaurants, bungalows, shopping centers, supermarkets and many other businesses in Belle Mare, have help to curb the unemployment problem. According to the survey of Employment and Earnings conducted by the Central Statistics Office, direct employment in hotels, restaurants and travel and tourism establishments employing 10 persons or more stood at 27,161 at the end of March 2010 showing an increase of 0.6% over the figure of 27,002 for March 2009. Of this number, 20,847 or 76.8% were engaged in hotel, (Table 2).

Improve Transport, Infrastructures and Public Utilities

The development or improvement of infrastructure constitutes an essential economic impact of tourism development in Mauritius. Urbanisation caused by rapid development of tourism might improve governmental and local services such as police, fire and security (MIlman and Pizam 1988). In addition the variety of social entertainment and recreational activities may increase in such areas. Usually the gains from infrastructural investment leads to good electricity and water network supply, improvements of roads networks and modernization of Airport are widely shared by other economic sector, tourist and hosts of the country

2.7.2 Negative Economic Impacts

According to Schianetz, Kavanagh and Lockington (2007), while tourism provides financial benefits, it can also generate negative effects in other areas. An impact of tourism is generally evaluated negatively, it is concern for the welfare of the community as a whole and cooperation among its citizens is decreased markedly as tourism increases and incomes rise.

The Land Market

The very expansion of tourism development has increased land values especially in some coastal tourist village. Increasing demand for accommodation, especially in tourism seasons, might push up the rents as well as the land prices for building new houses and hotels (Pizam 1978; Var et al, 1985). For example, lands for residential development in Belle-Mare were sold in 1987 at an average price of hundreds per square meter but in 2010 the land valued is within millions per square meter. Tourism is yet only one factor for escalation of land values-speculative attitudes have been endangered by the increasing influence of the host population and by a realization that land is a scarce resource in small island Mauritius are potential significant factors to take into consideration.

Inflationary Pressures

Tourism is a contributor to inflation by preempting supplies, leading to higher prices of consumer items especially fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh fish in tourist zone. Even Liu and Var (1986) argue that the price of goods and services might go up with the increased demand from foreign customers. A vivid example of this situation is Belle-Mare where random price checks show that consumer items are up to 30% higher in the coastal region than in other village. Resident argues “Belle-Mare” has become very expensive, with the same price charged to resident and tourist alike. There exist a feeling of frustration among residents of tourist zone who felt deprive of some consumer items. Tourism make upon only one factor of inflationary pressure is the unavailability of items in Mauritius.

Important goods

There are other short-term economic costs that may result from tourism. If tourism development is heavily reliant on imported goods and services, there is a risk that existing local production may be hit adversely. This effect can be particularly significant if demonstration effect results in the local population copying tourists and increasing their consumption of imported goods and services rather than domestically produced ones.

Infrastructure Cost

Tourism development can cost the local government and local taxpayers a great deal of money. Developers may want the government to improve the airport, roads and other infrastructure, and other financial advantage, which are costly activities for the government. Public resources spent on subsidized infrastructure may reduce government investment in other artificial areas such as education and health

2.8 Environment Impact in Tourism

The environment is being increasingly recognized as a key factor in the tourism sector. In the last decade of the twentieth century, it has been noted that tourism depends ultimately upon the environment, as it is a major tourism attraction itself, or in the context in which tourism activity take place (Holden, 2000). Tourism and the environment are directly linked since the idea of tourism is based completely on man’s desire to get out and experience nature.

The term environment is often assumed to be only the physical or natural features of a landscape but according to swarbrooke, 1999, there are five aspect of the environment, namely, the natural environment, wildlife, the farmed environment, the built environment and natural resources. Among these, each component are linked together.

If tourism is not well planned it can result in the following consequences for the environment:

Land Resources

Since there is a rapid development in the tourism sector, there is a high use of land resources to cater for the demand of recreational facilities as well as construction of tourism accommodation and other infrastructure and consequently the natural landscape is threatened through deforestation.

Sewage and Littering

The construction of hotels, recreation and other facilities often leads to increase sewage and littering. Waste water has polluted seas and rivers surrounding tourist attractions, damaging the flora and fauna. There is also wide use of toxic pesticides on the beaches to control sand files and other pests. The chemical ends up in the sea in a very short time, thus sewage and littering can degrade the physical appearance of the water and cause the death of marine animals.


Besides the consumption of large amounts of natural and other local resources, the tourism industry also generates considerable air, noise and sea pollution

2.9 Summary

Thus we can say that in Mauritius, a more appropriately planned tourism development process is needed which would spread both costs and benefit more equitably as well as be more sensitive to the social and cultural impacts. This would not only reduce for local resid

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