Tourism as an industry is talked about a lot because it tends to have a large impact on the economy as a whole. This is because tourism brings in a lot of new consumers from outside the country. In addition, what makes a country more attractive as a tourist destination also makes it better off both socially and economically.
HOW DOES TOURISM AFFECT JOBS IN AFRICA
In 2018, 2.5% of all jobs in Africa were directly in the tourism industry, with another 4% being jobs indirectly associated with tourism. What this shows is the large impact tourism has on employment. Investing in tourism itself also creates jobs in industries associated with tourism. As an example, tourists visiting the Victoria Falls in Zambia create jobs in the hotel industry, the restaurant industry, for tour guides and for souvenir sellers. All these jobs in tourism bring money from outside Zambia into the country, helping the economy as a whole.
LESS WELL-KNOWN EFFECTS OF TOURISM
When a country wants to promote tourism, the actions they take often benefit the country as a whole. For example, transportation infrastructure such as airports and roads are very important for tourism. Tourists are more likely to visit your country if it is easily accessible for a reasonable price.
While the government may decide to invest in transportation infrastructure to help the economy, in the end everyone benefits. Tourism can also be a motivator for bureaucratic and social reform. Encouraging tourism can push a government to make it easier to get a visa to come visit the country, and try to make the country in general safer to visit. Of course, these things benefit the country as a whole, both socially and economically.
ARE THERE DRAWBACKS?
There are a few negative side effects of tourism that should be taken into consideration. Heavy tourism at natural sites such as wildlife preserves or national parks can, over time, damage the sites themselves. In general, native residents may not like it when their town becomes heavily populated by tourists. However, these negative effects can be reduced by responsibly promoting environmentally friendly and non-invasive tourism.
All in all, tourism can be a driving force, not only for business growth but social improvement as well. While there is potential for negative effects, they can also be avoided with appropriate awareness. On the other hand, investing in tourism can have widespread positive impacts.