In this essay I will try to explain how effective tourism is as a development strategy. Development strategies are used to improve people’s living standards and quality of life, they can be broken down into 3 main factors; economical, social and environmental. I have chosen 2 different case studies from which, one is an LEDC and the other one is an MEDC. And using these case studies I am going to explain the economical, social and environmental problems and solutions that exist. I will also show the main advantages and disadvantages that tourism brings to the country, and who it is that benefits from it.
The first case study Thailand is an LEDC, and the locals of this country now depend on tourism as they got used to the fact that people will pay money for them to demonstrate part of their culture. At first it looked innocent and just an easy way to earn some money, now many families in Thailand depend on how much money the tourist are willing to pay them. The more tourists there are the higher the demand for hotels, shops and restaurants. And so the government will construct all of these and make sure that tourists have all the luxury they ask for. Having done so the money that tourist pay for all their needs goes to the government and again, making it hard for the locals to earn money.
Locals do not only suffer economically, but a lot of social damage has been caused. As they now depend on the money of the tourist they lose out culturally. The younger generation is not been taught on how to farm, and thus when having a low season children have to beg, as they have no other abilities. Customs and rituals are not used in proper ways, ceremonies which locals usually do once a year, are now done more often and are used as a tourist attraction.
Drugs is another social problem that is increasing as tourist want to see how locals smoke opium, doing so other locals which do not normally smoke start to do it too as they earn money by it, the problem is they become addicted to it. The problem of drugs goes further than this though, tourists are now also interested in smoking it themselves and thus the locals teach them and therefore earn more money by doing so. But this causes opium to become scare and they have to introduce heroin to replace it. As disadvantage men get addicted to it and thus women leave their husbands and become prostitutes, this again is an attraction for tourists but is not acceptable to the villages.
Tourism in Thailand also causes a lot of environmental damage as a lot of bamboo is cut down so that tourist go rafting they then leave the rafts as floating trash and these are not recuperated. As more elephants are needed for transport more bamboo is eaten by them. The littering doesn’t help the environment either as it does not decomposes and pieces like glass for example can be dangerous for the villagers because they don’t wear shoes.
The second case study Herron Island in Australia is an MEDC, and most tourists go there for relaxation. Nobody lives on this island as its carrying capacity is around 300 people. If more than 300 people came on this island the environment could be affected and therefore be destroyed over a period of time. At the moment the tourism on the island is sustainable meaning that it is not causing the island to change radically.
The island is situated in the east coast of Australia and most people visiting it come to know more about environment and wildlife it contains. There is a hotel which you can stay the night on, you can go scuba diving, go for guided reef walks. People visiting this island come mostly for its educational site of it as there is so much to learn about the wildlife.
At the moment the island is not in danger of any radical change or pollution of any kind, they have filter sewage and send the solid waste to mainland, causing the island to stay clean. They also monitor the groundwater which makes sure that if the Ph of the soil changes they can take measures at any time.
Heron Island is not having any economical problems as there is no one who lives on the island and there is no problem for the money to go to the government. People working at this hotel know that they cannot expand the resort as there is a limited amount of people which the island can support without starting to be destroyed by tourists.
In conclusion I think that it depends on how wealthy the country is and on how much space there is for the country to develop. As we saw in the first case study Thailand, it is an LEDC and the government therefore does not have much money for the country to develop, but if it does get developed it will suffer damage, both environmentally and socially. We can see this because the more tourists the more resources there will be needed and therefore the greater damage there will be for the country. In MEDC’s like Heron island in Australia the carrying capacity of the island could not allow the company to expand its room so that more tourists came, if they did so, the environment would be slowly destroyed.
That is why I think that if any development strategies are done, the government will have to make sure that not too much damage is caused. It is important to improve people’s living standards and their qualities of life, but it can always affect other factors and these factors will eventually come back to people’s living standards.