Saturday, May 15, 2010

Th!nk3: Two-Edged Tourism

From my latest post for Th!nk3:
...tourism is often a two-edged sword in the developing world. It can help to maintain aspects of culture that might otherwise be threatened, such as traditional art and crafts, language and lifestyle. It can provide a source of income for many who are economically marginalised.

However, the quest for exotic memorabilia and multi-media memories is fraught with dangers. The here-today/forgotten-tomorrow tourism merry-go-round can be demeaning of the local people and degrading of their culture. Souvenir hunting is a blood sport at times. Haggling becomes a game to get the lowest price. In places like Bali's Kuta Beach or Kathmandu's temples, mothers make a below cost sale to feed their children.

Cut-throat competition spurs distrust on both sides. Aggressive touting and deceptive practices can become commonplace.
Tourism’s Two-Edged Sword

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