Socio-Cultural Impacts of Tourism

By Fathimath Eafa Rameez, 10A

Tourism is a highly popular industry today, especially right here in the Maldives, where it is one of the main sources of income.  It can affect a society in many ways.

As tourists visit the specific location they wish to go to, it is very likely that through the Demonstration Effect, the lifestyles of the locals will improve. The facilities and infrastructure of that area will improve, and parts of the area that are in decline will also have a chance of being revived. This will lead to a higher standard of living. More social and cultural events will take place for both locals and tourists to enjoy. This could result with many more activities being introduced, such as sports and leisure activities. Most importantly, the local cultural heritage will be conserved.

However, things are not always affected positively.  The infrastructure may not be able to cope due to overcrowding. Poor sanitation is a possibility, which would result in the rapid spread of many diseases. This will affect not only the locals, but also the visiting tourists.

The lifestyles of these locals may suffer intrusion by the tourists, and, through the Demonstration Effect, the locals may lose their customs and standards of behaviour. Not only this, but they will eventually lose their native language(s) and traditions due to lack of conservation of their cultural heritage. In addition to this, an increased crime rate could only lead to a decline in the moral and religious values of that area.

Tourism has many impacts on society; the socio-cultural ones show the contrast between cultures, and what could happen if differing cultures are introduced to each other.

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