Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism in an Economy

Summary
The cynosure of this paper is tourism and the various forms of tourism around the world today. Furthermore, emphasis will be put on the advantages and disadvantages that various forms of tourism have on the environment, culture and the people impacted by tourism. The paper shall also include the benefits that locals get from tourism and also the negative impacts it may have on the same people. Just but to highlight nimbly at this summary section, the forms of tourism differ greatly. Among them are: medical tourism, religious tourism, archeological tourism, mass tourism, leisure tourism, educational tourism and shopping tourism.The nature and purpose of each form varies greatly from the rest and so does the merits and the demerits.

According to McCannell (1) the word tourist refers to people who are sightseeing and are usually from the middle class. In its second context, the tourist also refers to the modern man and the onset of modern civilization in the mind of such an individual. Thus the paper shall look at the impact of the modern day tourist and how tourism in itself has come to evolve into different forms with time.
Sharma (18) notes the importance of involving local communities in the development of control in tourism. All this should be accomplished through support from the government. Furthermore indigenous groups should be able to have an equal share of the profits that come with the onset of tourism in an area. To this effect the paper shall look at the various ways in which economies tend to benefit from tourism and also the impact it has on the local people. Furthermore the article shall also look at the incorporation of various agencies and organizations involved in the business and how they benefit from it in general.
Medical tourism
According to Fuchs et al (65), availability of the internet and cheap air travelling expenses have seen the healthcare sector transform from a patient centered industry too one that is consumer oriented. Fuchs et al (65) defines medical tourism as activities in which an individual travels across various boundaries in search of medical care. Individuals are said to travel for long distances in search of dental, medical or surgical care and at the same time are on a vacation.
However Medical tourism is not only associated with the sick but may include participants in academic medical conventions and conferences, business to business meetings between product and service vendors and others. Fuchs et al (65) note that recreational travel is rarely included as a part of medical tourism since in most cases the purpose is usually to get better health care and treatment which is usually more affordable for the individuals involved.
Advantages of medical tourism
One of the main advantages of medical tourism is the fact that for the individual it is usually cheaper than having medical care in one’s country. This is due to the rising costs of healthcare in developed countries especially the US which cause individuals to seek care in other less expensive countries such as Brazil, India, Thailand and others (healism.com,1). Thus for a person in need of urgent surgery and with minimal financial muscle, it is usually simpler to book a hotel and a flight to the destination and to pay the medical bills at the country of interest.
Medical tourism also provides patients an opportunity of seeing different places while they recuperate which is good psychologically for the recuperation process. It also allows the patients to be able to relax and concentrate more on getting better (healism.com,1) Furthermore in some countries, particular surgeries which are said to be life threatening have been banned and others are too expensive for the middle income earner. Thus it is usually advantageous for individuals to travel to other countries where they have more expertise in the area of medicine and can also do a similar procedure more cheaply.
Another advantage of overseas medical treatment is the fact that medical destinations that are popular usually enroll patients from abroad and to provide quality care the patients seldom have long waiting periods and they are usually allocated the best care. This enables individuals to have access to better medical care than they would have at home.
Disadvantages of medical tourism
One of the main disadvantages of medical tourism is the fact that for a medical tourist, seeking reimbursement for damages in case of misdiagnosis or negligence may prove to be difficult in foreign countries (healism.com,1). Thus individuals are usually advised to seek treatment in their native countries because if such a case were to occur it would be easier to deal with the individuals based on the laws in one’s own country.
Another disadvantage is the fact that insurance laws may vary depending on the country and may not cover some procedures or treatment in foreign countries. In most cases it is usually more expensive to get medical care after a procedure since most individuals cannot prolong their stay in foreign country for care afterward.
Another disadvantage comes with the fact that an individual has to travel with company in form of a family member or relative to provide care during recuperation. This usually adds onto the expenses. Another disadvantage is also the fact that one is not able to move around physically to different facilities while looking for the best hospital or facility that will cater to an individuals needs. Instead one has to trust the information received via the internet and use this information to make a decision.
Religious Tourism
This form of tourism is described as the form of tourism in which individuals travel to different countries based on their faiths and religious affiliations. A good example of religious tourism is that of the Islamic faith to Mecca every year. According to Kamil (1) the religious tourist has been a common fixture even in ancient times and is not only common today. According to Richards (216), religious tourism finds its roots out of a need for expressing spirituality and finding meaning in one’s religion.
Advantages of religious tourism
One of the positive impacts of religious tourism is the economic impact that it has on various individuals. Various industries usually profit from religious tourism such as the transport and hotel industry. Religious tourism also allows foreign exchange to be generated in a country which boosts the countries economy. Furthermore it allows individuals to connect at a different level with their spiritual beliefs and also have a different outlook at their religion.
Disadvantages of religious tourism
Religious tourism sometimes goes unnoticed and thus has no benefit on a country or region. This is because sometimes the religious pilgrims or tourist are usually hosted and end up staying in peoples homes other than hotels. Thus there industry does not get any benefits. Some problems that may arise during an occasion may cost the government millions in damages. A good example was the July 1990 stampede in Mecca. People lost their lives and others died from the incident.
Archeological Tourism
Jafari (28), states that there has been a growing interest between archeology and tourism over time. Archeology is defined as the study of past cultures both historic and prehistoric. Most material of archeological research is known to be from past materials. The movement of individuals from one area to another in order to view different artifacts, sites and buildings that are of a prehistoric nature and of historic value has been attributed to being archeological tourism. According to Jafari (28), most regions have archeological sites that can be developed for tourism which is bound to represent an important part of the region’s heritage. However Jafari (28) notes that accessibility of the site and whether it is stunning determine whether the site is a place for archeological tourism.
Advantages of archeological tourism
The main advantage is the obvious flow of foreign exchange into a country and its positive impact on the economy. The sites can also be used as a part of a general marketing scheme which aids in the attraction of a large number of tourists into a region. The large number of visitors to an area also generates income for hotels. Local people are also able to make money through the sale of souvenirs and also through the issuance of entrance fees.
Disadvantages
One of the main disadvantages is the fact that the large numbers of tourists visiting a site usually end up quickening the degradation of a particular site which may render it obsolete in future if it is not maintained by the local authorities (Jafari, 28). Furthermore archeological resources will still be threatened from the construction of roads leading to the site and buildings. This also increases pollution due to the emission of gases and other forms of pollution. Various artifacts may also be prone to theft or the collection of souvenirs from the sites which are detrimental to the originality of the site.
Mass Tourism
Mass tourism is referred to as the movement of tourists in large numbers to a well publicized location in the world. This form of tourism is said to attract middle income earners. With mass tourism visitors are said to number from 1800 or more in number. Mass tourism is made possible through the availability of good infrastructure that allows individuals to have good and timely access to specific locations. A good example of mass tourism is the movement of individuals to Kenya to view the spectacular wildebeest migration in the Mara.
Advantages of Mass tourism
Mass tourism enables the locals to be able to get jobs and earn income. This is a form of security for inhabitants of a particular area realizing mass tourism. The locals of an area are able to earn income from the sale of local artifacts (Apostolopoulos, 243). Mass tourism also creates demand for the provision of local services to the inhabitants of a particular area.
This includes the provision of clean water, a sewage system, good infrastructure and others. Tour operators are also able to make money from mass tourism since they are the ones who co ordinate it from the transportation of the tourists, where they will stay and transportation to the famous sites (Taiga.Net, 2011). Mass tourism also leads to the creation of infrastructure that is aesthetically appealing.
Disadvantages of mass tourism
Mass tourism brings with it a need to alter the lifestyles of the local inhabitants of an area which alters their lifestyles. The locals become dependent on tour operators for job security abandoning other known forms of self employment such as farming and others. Income generation is also not consistent for the locals since the tourism sector has a peak period and a low period (Apostolopoulos, 243). Mass tourism also causes damages to the environment especially with the need of improving infrastructure. This results into the encroachment of people into forests and other areas. The end result is usually the destruction of many plant and animal ecosystems.
Leisure tourism
This form of tourism involves the visitation of an area for relaxation purposes only. It may involve visiting various sites of a city, going to a resort and other activities aimed at leisure.
Advantages
This form of tourism is generally advantageous to the area of interest since it brings in foreign exchange thus increasing revenue (Vogel, 56). Furthermore, just like the other forms of tourism, it brings about job creation and employment. For tour agents they are able to earn more profits and gain loyal customers. This is usually which is good for the business.
Disadvantages of leisure tourism
One of the main disadvantages of this form of tourism is the fact that it may lead to high rates of pollution in various ecosystems such as oceans, beaches and others. This may be caused by the many visits of tourists to specific sites increasing the level of waste and pollution in area (Vogel, 14).Tour operators may also stand to earn losses through high overheads for renting hotels in high street locations. Such expenses may end up being more than the money earned in some cases.
Educational Tourism
This is a form of tourism that is compelled by the need to earn more academic qualifications and to further one’s general learning (Brent et al, 9). Educational tourism has been around for many centuries. A classic example is the Grand Tour in which British youth who were scholars and aristocrats undertook study tours that lasted several years (Brent et al,10). The tours took them to France, Switzerland and Germany. This was during the 17th, 18th and part of the 19th century.
The participants were taught foreign languages, various sports such as riding and foreign affairs. The involved parties travelled with their tutors and servants. Educational tourism is further divided into two. The first form involves an individual’s travel with the aim of achieving a form of education or learning experience from the tourism experience (Brent et al,10). The second form involves the form of tourism in which students and schools are involved in exchange programmes or seek education in other places apart from their places of origin. In such cases tourist experiences are secondary to the educational aspect.
Advantages
This form of tourism allows students and other individuals to be able to learn of other cultures and in the process get new experiences by interacting with foreigners. It also enables a country that supports foreign exchange programmes in their school curriculum to benefit from foreign exchange and better international relations with the affiliate country (New York Magazine, 138). Education tourism also allows the participants to be able to acquire higher learning in a particular field at a relatively cheaper rate.
Disadvantages
This form of tourism may prove to be quite costly in some cases since an individual is never guaranteed any future employment in the country of study and in most cases after the learning period is over most students usually go back to their countries of origin. Educational tourism may also be disadvantageous in cases whereby a student is predisposed to some social vices such as racism and xenophobia.
Shopping tourism
The advent of globalization has turned the world into a place in which one can get easy access to various products no matter the location (Ganster et al, 285). Different contrasts in the cost of various goods across boundaries have led to the movement of various individuals across international boundaries with the sole aim of getting goods at a cheaper rate. This is true in various countries such as the U.S and Canada (Ganster et al, 285).Thus today shopping is also carried out as a form of leisure in different parts of the world especially North America and Europe.
Advantages
This form of tourism allows individuals to visit different parts of the world and to have vast experiences while at the same time buying what they need. The ability to buy goods in different parts of the world is sometimes cheaper compared to buying the product in their own countries (Ganster et al, 286). For the shopping tourist the act of shopping in itself is a form of relaxation to an individual. Like the other forms of tourism it also increases revenue for a country.
Disadvantages
One of the main disadvantages of such a form of tourism is the fact that countries in which shopping tourism is common tend to suffer losses economically since trade is not at its peak in the country. The constant crossing of individuals from one country to another may also cause the spread of diseases. It may also render a country vulnerable to terrorism and other criminal activities.
Conclusion
Tourism is a vital source of revenue for many regions around the globe. It allows individuals to have the opportunity to interact with different cultures, people and to learn new concepts and ideas from others. If it were not for tourism the world would not have been able to see various inventions come to being. This stretches as far as the creation of various musical instruments, formations of governments and others. Indeed tourism impacts the society in a great way both economically, socially and culturally. It could also be correct to imply that through tourism civilization was also brought to various regions.

References
Apostolopoulos, P. J. ( 2001). Mediterranean tourism: facets of socioeconomic development and cultural changepg. London: Routledge.
Brent W. Ritchie, N. C. ( 2003). Managing educational tourism. Bristol: Channel View Publications.
Fuchs et al. (2010). Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2010: Proceedings of the International Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, February 10-12, 2010. Chicago: Springer.
Ganster, D. E. (2005). Borders and border politics in a globalizing world . Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
healism.com. (2005). Disadvantages of Medical Tourism. Retrieved May 10, 2011, from healism.com: healism.com. (2005). Disadvantages of Medical Tourism Jafari, J. (2003). Encyclopedia of tourism. London: Routledge.
King, V. T. (2008). Tourism in Asia: A Review of the Achievements and Challenges. Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Vol. 23, 2008 .
Lundberg, D. (1974). The Tourist Business. Boston: Cahners Books.
MacCannell, D. (1976). The tourist: A New Theory Of The Leisure Class. California: University of California Press.
New York Magazine (1990). The Art of Tourism. In N. Y. Magazine, New York Magazine (p. 138). New York: Published by New York Media, LLC.
Sharma, K. ( 2004). Tourism and economic development. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons.
Vogel, H. (2001). Travel Industry Economics: A Guide for Financial Analysis. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Wicks, D. G. (2000). Festival Management & Event Tourism. Festival Management & Event Tourism : (changed to Event Management as of Volume 6, 2000) .
taiga.net. (2011).Mass Tourism. taiga.net .Retrieved on 17 May 2011 from

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