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There are several drawbacks and benefits of orphanage tourism on the orphans who are directly involved in the tourism industry.
To begin with, the advantages of orphanage tourism on children shown in the children ‘s education and well-being. The first positive impact is that the children who are living in the orphanages funded by oversea donors will have better living conditions. With the contribution of volunteering tourists, they will be able to go to schools and receive education. Furthermore, the orphans will gain more life skills and may become confident individuals when they grow up because they have been interacted with foreign volunteers when they used to be in the residential care. Secondly, this is also the case for children coming from abusive family. These children will no longer have to live in unsafe environments and they can even receive love and careness from the volunteers.
However, orphanage tourism is being exploited, which has created various negative impacts on the orphans. First, the orphanages have become tourist attractions and the children are used as a tool to make money for the residential care. In addition, not all the children in the center are orphans, some of them have families but they are sent there by their own parents in hope of a better future. Besides, the increase of international volunteers is believed to be more harmful than beneficial due to its damage to the well-being of the children. Since the orphans are constantly meeting new tourists, there will be no sustainable relationships for the them. This might cause psychological traumas and disorders to the children.
People nowadays do not only travel for holidays and pleasures but also visit a destination to do volunteer work, which has led to the rise of orphanage tourism, an act of spending time as a volunteer to work at orphanages when visit a foreign country. This trend of tourism is widespread in developing nations since tourism is a promising industry that can advance a country’s development. Due to its economic and social benefits for the host countries and the tourists, orphanage tourism should be enthusiastically encouraged to develop.
To begin with, there are several advantages for the host country when it operates orphanage tourism resulted in economy and society such as boosting up the economic growth as well as enhancing the local communities’ lives. Firstly, with the rising number of foreign volunteers, it will bring money to the government. Because the visitors will spend their money in locally owned restaurants and shops. Therefore, the authorities can have enough budget to invest and develop the economic sector. Secondly, the next viable benefit of orphanage tourism is seen in society, specifically the lives of local citizens. If there are many volunteers working in residential care then the government may pay more attention to the area and consider upgrading the infrastructure or the healthcare system to meet the tourists’ expectations. As a result, the locals can also approach to these modern facilities and improve their living conditions. Additionally, orphanage tourism can create employment for trained residents. There might be some difficulties for the volunteering tourists to work at the orphanages since they are not used to the local culture. This will lead to the demand for trained local labor force who can assist and provide the tourists better cultural understanding along with knowledge about childcare.
Aside from these positive impacts of orphanage tourism, there are different positive influences of this industry on the orphans’ well-being. With the financial support from international donors and the contribution of volunteering tourists, the residential care can maintain and develop the facilities to give the orphans better lives. The children will be able to go to school and receive education like any other children despite their unfortunate family circumstances. Furthermore, as for children coming from abusive family, the residential center is a better option for them because they can live in a protected environment.
While the host country can gain a variety of advantages from orphanage tourism, the tourists themselves can also experience several benefits. For example, the volunteering visitors will have the opportunities to not only travel and broaden their knowledge about the destination but also give help to the children in need. The visits of foreign volunteers are also a chance to raise the awareness of international communities about problems like poverty, gender equality or child labor in impoverished countries since the volunteers may inform others about their volunteering travel experience and inspire everybody to participate in orphanage tourism industry.
In conclusion, orphanage tourism in developing countries can have many benefits in terms of economic and social aspects, which the host countries and the tourists can both gain positive effects by promoting this type of tourism.
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