The paper “ Tourism - Principle, and Practice by Cooper, Fletcher, Gilbert, Fyall & Wanhill” is a spectacular example of book review on tourism. The book focused on the positive socio-cultural impacts of tourism. I learned the numerous positive socio-cultural impacts of tourism. On cultural impacts, tourism enables tourisms to gain an understanding of unfamiliar people, places, or time, and preservation of cultural traditions among others. On social impact, tourism increases the local community pride and self-confidence and creates new social and economic opportunities that decrease social inequity. The key areas of positive influence are architecture, heritage sites, language, handicrafts, traditions, religion, art and music, and gastronomy.
Creative tourism provides tourism destination with opportunities for engaging with the local culture in order to offer a unique experience. This topic has enabled me to develop a critical understanding of the ways in which tourism can improve the welfare of people and protect the cultural and natural heritage. Due to the increased cultural understanding of the impacts of tourism, I am able to travel with an open mind, cultivate the habit of observing and listening, and discover the enrichment that comes from experiencing another way of life.
I am also able to interact with local residents in a culturally appropriate way. I think this topic is important as it promotes a personal commitment to forms of tourism that maximize positive socio-cultural impacts. If managed carefully, I think that creative tourism can bring about positive changes in most tourism destinations. Although most socio-cultural benefits of tourism are not quantifiable, the well-being of the tourist destination and hosts improves. Tourism contributes to the protection and enhancement of customs, traditions, and heritage, which would otherwise disappear through the waves of modernization.
I have gained an understanding of the socio-cultural aspects of tourism and the relationship between tourism development and its socio-cultural impacts. The socio-cultural impacts of tourism are evident in the wide range of aspects from the fundamental behavior of individuals and collective groups and tourism attraction artifacts. Topic five focused on tourism and socio-cultural impacts; benefits and disbenefits of tourism to societies. The benefits include fostering peace, tolerance, and understanding; the catalyst for reviving culture; building self-esteem and keeping young people attached to the community.
It also leads to the acceptance of universal norms such as women’ s rights, human rights, and the protection of minorities. The disbenefits include bringing social tensions, degrading and commodifying culture; creating servility in the employees of tourism, promoting prostitution and crime. It also leads to modernization, westernization, cultural homogenization, or Americanization through the demonstration effect. Understanding the benefits and disbenefits of tourism and its socio-cultural impact is important as it raises awareness on the importance of sustainable forms of tourism. For instance, the awareness that tourism can turn local cultures into commodities where local customs, traditions, as well as festivals, are reduced to meet the tourist expectations.
These factors damage the beauty and variation of diverse cultures due to standardization. The tourist destinations risk standardization in the process of satisfying tourists' desires by making the accommodation, landscape, and foods and drinks to match the tourist's expectation for new as well as unfamiliar situations. Cultural erosion also occurs in the process of the commercialization of cultural traditions. I think it is important to understand the negative impact of tourism on society and culture as the numerous benefits of tourism usually conceal them and they end up having a negative impact on the local communities.
There is a tradition of studying the socio-cultural impacts of tourism solely on its benefits and in terms of the contact that occurs between the visiting and host populations, which is a very limited approach. I believe the true impact of tourism on the local society and culture is far-reaching and includes direct and indirect effects in a way similar to the economic benefits.
A good case in point is when tourists travel abroad to enjoy casual sex encounters with the local women and men; lately, a large tourism market has developed around sex tourisms and destinations, for instance, Central European countries, and Thailand; these countries actively market the sexual content of their products. Commoditization is also a long-standing criticism related to tourism's impact on art and culture. Rituals, crafts, and ceremonies are often driven into an exploitation stance; they are made more spectacular, dramatic, and colorful in order to capture the imagination and attention of an audience that does not often have underlying experience or knowledge that would make the un-adapted version appealing.
It also leads to resentment and conflict with local people, especially once the reality of its impact becomes clear.