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A community is a group of people living in the same area and having many things in common including traditions, cultures, and ethnicities. These values are truly important to their day to day lives and should be protected in the best way possible under any circumstances. These values are foundations of families and societies and it gives the people a sense of belonging in their own community. But today, communities in the world are changing due to various reasons. One of which plays a great role in these changes is mass tourism, where large quantities of people throng the same area at the same time. Today, communities all around the world are changing even though some may only be changing slowly. However, some areas of the world are immensely swarmed by people which trigger these changes to occur more rapidly.
Are people affected greatly by these changes and do the negative impacts outweigh the positive? Based on Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, the most visited city of 2016 is Bangkok, Thailand where there were 21.47M overnight visitors. This will surely be a positive impact towards the country’s economy, but is this benefiting the people living in the area? How about areas where people are still living in tribes and are still not used to the outside world? Are the people going to be able to cope with all this?People visit different parts of the world due to various different reasons. One which might be the want of escape or the need of refreshment. Whatever it is, people choose their getaway locations based on many things they have considered precedently. But, what causes an area to become a popular tourist destination includes having various natural and built beauty that attracts tourists to come while also having great opportunities which allow visitors to have an enjoyable yet adventurous leisure experience. Like Bangkok for instance. It is the most visited city of 2016 because of its numerous unique and magnificent architectural designs on their temples, food, relaxation, way of life and also not forgetting the beauty of its nature which attracts heaps of tourists especially like the Bang Krachao Gardens where people would walk trails, cycle and enjoy its rich vegetation while being able to look at the Chao Phraya River where some houses built along the river’s edge can also be sighted.
After we look at this example, we could then realise that tourists are people who visit other countries with the aim of looking for gratification and satisfaction of their interests. Based on the global benchmarking survey TravelSat, it is reported that 38% of tourists choose their travel destinations due to recommendations from friends and relatives. This is another reason that shows why already crowded destinations can become more crowded because of those tourists sharing their experience with others that causes their interest over that area to also increase. Imagine how many people someone could talk and share their experiences to! Global PerspectiveIn the world today, tourism is impacting lives in a variety of many different reasons but the people, most especially the country would be rather glad to have tourism in their country. Tourism does not only create jobs for people, it gives them more facilities because when tourism, especially mass tourism is happening in a certain area, the government would try their best to give the visitors a pleasant and satisfying trip by trying to provide the area with better roads, clean areas, etc. They do this with the hope of these visitors promoting the area to friends and families allowing tourism in the area to grow. With an increase in tourism, companies and organisations around the area would also benefit.
Food companies would grow because of the increasing demand for food to give the people. Merchandising companies would also benefit because more people will buy their products for memories. Besides these benefits, people would also be able to develop new ideas or even start up new businesses that would not only be beneficial to the people, but also to the economy. But, tourism could also have a very bad impact on local communities. Culture and traditions might be damaged as well as the natural beauty of the area. If people do not take proper care of the area, it might cause damages that are not at all favorable to the area and the people. With new impacts from outsiders, the communities” way of life most probably would change. In Thailand, 9% of its population is working in tourism-related jobs even though they are poorly paid. But, when people start working for agriculture, they get paid quite a lot of money since the demand to accommodate all the tourists are large. From this example itself, we could see that tourism could impact the economy, industries which would then impact the communities. Therefore, if Thailand’s tourism sector is weakening, the tendency for the other industries and the country’s economy also losing is quite certain. The impact towards the people of Thailand would surely be felt. On the other hand, some Thai people and their characteristics have been recognised to have changed like their traditional“Wai” which is how they greet people seems to be changing to“Hi’s and Hello’s while waving their hands. It is also causing anti-social behaviours and increasing levels of crime, leading to the reduced safety of Thailand. By being exposed to many new matters, they are also experiencing long-term effects from the change in their behaviours until an extent of their cultures changing too.
National PerspectiveIn Indonesia, mass tourism is happening especially due to its natural beauty, culture, and history. In places such as Lombok Island, where the food is delicious accompanied by luxurious resorts and short distances to the beautiful islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and also Gili Meno, as well as Raja Ampat where the natural beauty is just truly magnificent,(6) tourism is increasing rapidly. In Indonesia, people in the local areas where tourism thrive are benefitted by these incoming tourists as employment opportunities and local business” income increases. Like in the Brayut Tourist Village, where the people previously depended on their rice fields and working themselves to survive. This place is now turned into a tourist attraction where visitors would come and help out in the fields. Not only would they be helpful, but the farmers would be able to obtain more income from the tourist who come and are willing to pay to learn how to plant rice. But, there is also a tendency that these one of a kind wonders might get harmed or even destroyed. The culture and ethnicities of the communities in the area might also be influenced by outsiders that might cause things to change in the vicinity which might not be a positive point for these people.
In Indonesia especially, where the spirit of working together and togetherness used to be very strong, the foreign influences have affected the locals where gradual changes of traditions, cultures and especially behaviour has occurred nationwide. The Dani Tribe of Irian Jaya has been changed by tourism which has weakened their culture, especially since they now mainly focus on the tourism industry to make their money, slowly leaving their heritage. Based on research made by a Master of Tourism Studies from the Gadjah Mada University, values of which Indonesians used to hold strongly is changing. People start to develop a more consumptive and materialistic point of view where people start having more wants such as handphones or cameras, the want of eating different foreign food, and also living a life of travel and shopping, only caring about money and items they own. A change of perceptions of relationships of men and women are seen primarily as a result of interaction between foreign tourists and local people. Many locals would now try to form relationships with foreigners and even end up in marriages where having these relationships with foreigners is something to be proud of. But this overall causes reduced tolerance and appreciation among the people. However, both tourists and local people benefit from the existence of cultural learning. Although both may not immediately apply new cultures in their activities over interactions take place, at least they would know how to avoid conflict between each other and allowing them to have more knowledge on different people’s way of life and perspectives.
Local Perspective Offering relaxation, delicious food, amazing natural beauty as well as the richness of culture, Bali, is only one of the many visited areas in Indonesia where people leave with a happy heart. The area has had a tourism boom since the 1970’s and since then, facilities in the region has grown quite rapidly. There had been improvements in health, telecommunication, roads and also education which has also benefitted the communities in the area. But, starting from the year 1990’s, Bali’s residents started to oppose some of the tourist developments. Now, people are still opposing many planned developments like the reclamation of the Benoa Bay. This holds true due to the fact that reclamation, especially in that area of Bali is harming the environment by destroying hectares of mangrove forests which are habitats for many different wildlife including birds, reptiles, and amphibians that live in the area.(9) Balinese are also quite worried about their long preserved, incomparable and one of a kind culture to be slowly degrading due to the influence of foreigners who are making habits and people’s way of life change. Also, the amount of land luxury residences and hotels take away together with their clean water supply which might cause a water crisis to emerge in Bali.“The Balinese are people who are still deeply attached to their religion and culture, they spend a lot of time in temples, they respect the rites. But mass tourism is disrupting their practices: the diversity of local cultures and the specificity of rituals is being unified, homogenized.” says Ketut Yuliarsa, a poet and stage director from Ubud, Bali.
Personal PerspectiveIn my opinion, tourism is helping people in many different ways. Their impacts on local communities are actually quite remarkable. Giving people more areas of work, which also encourages them to work hard and have their own incomes. But, on the other hand, especially being an Indonesian and living in the Island of Bali, I would also not be fond of too much that our local cultures and traditions get harmed, because these are the factors that make our country special. We are very diverse in language, cultures, traditions and even food but we are still one beautiful union, collected in the wonderful Republic of Indonesia. Even though so, I do think that tourism in the future would be much better since the quality of human lives is also increasing rapidly due to the presence of widely developing technologies worldwide. Therefore, I think that tourism, including mass tourism, could one day only be impacting communities positively.
FutureAs tourism increases, people would look for ways to reduce the number of mass tourism and try to limit the damages it causes. But, future predictions state that the number of tourism in the world would increase globally, especially of the “silver-hair” tourists as the population gets older. Generation Y, the Millennials and Generation Z, Aged 6-20 years old are also going to be major causes of tourist growth with the increasing availability of technology which holds a huge impact on tourism and the community today. The growing middle class which will mainly come from Asia-Pacific region is another reason for the increase in tourism. More countries are also trying to improve their tourism sector which would cause more destinations to be available for tourism. However, due to the availability of technology and better education, the quality of the tourists will hopefully be improving which would decrease damages as well as all the other problems caused by mass tourism which would allow the word “mass tourism” to not become a source of dilemma any longer.
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