What Are Some of the Positive and Negative Impacts of Tourism?

Some positive impacts of tourism include economic benefits, cultural, historical and environmental preservation, and cultural exchange between residents and tourists. Negative effects of tourism can include economic stagnation if countries rely solely on tourism for income, environmental damage through overuse, and potential social conflicts between tourists and residents.

Tourism’s economic impacts can have both positive and negative consequences for tourism destinations. On one hand, tourism destinations attract both individuals who spend money as well as investors that build resorts, hotels and other attractions to accommodate them. While both of these sources of money generate new jobs, these jobs are often low-skilled service sector positions, and many of them are only available during peak tourist seasons. Additionally, particularly in the case of large hotels and resort chains, much of the revenue generated through tourism goes to international corporations, while little goes to the local economy.

Environmental and cultural impacts of tourism largely depend on how local governments manage and regulate the tourism industry. With good governmental oversight, tourism can preserve the local environment and wildlife by offering tours and other attractions. Poor management or inadequate regulation sometimes leads to overuse of natural resources, species destruction and widespread pollution. While tourism can help to preserve traditional cultural practices, it can also cause social disruptions by displacing native people and neglecting their needs and human rights in favor of tourists.