Tourism As A Development Strategy In The — страница 5

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objectives, but often there is no way out of this situation. SOCIAL IMPACTS The social impacts of tourism have largely been ignored in past studies, but are currently being appreciated for their importance. Unlike other export industries, the consumer has to travel to the area of production in order to consume the product. In addition, this producer-consumer is different to most exchange relations as they meet and therefore interact person to person. This confrontation creates the social impact and concerns the tourist, the host and the tourist-host interrelationships. Most research has been carried out on the latter two categories. The social and cultural impacts are the way in which tourism alters behaviour, value systems, family relationships, lifestyles and community

organizations. (Mathieson & Wall, 1982) Tourism can be potentially beneficial to the tourist socially as it broadens their interests, triggering an improved understanding of the unknown, the alien, and the cultures and lifestyles of others, displaying a positive demonstration effect. Alternatively, a negative demonstration effect can result as the guest-host relationship becomes a customer-seller one. Tourism can then have a corrosive effect on the culture and value systems of the host. “When a country opens doors to international tourism, its traditions (however marketable) are going to be changed, if not threatened.” (Harrison, 1992, p. 162) The Third World becomes exposed to the West and subject to some of its bad traits, such as crime, prostitution and gambling. It

should not be forgotten however, that new knowledge and technology are filtered to the Third World, although it is contentious as to whether this new learning is advantageous. The host area can then become not a new and different world to explore, learn from and enjoy, but a similar world at a different locality. In the words of Mathieson & Wall, (1982) `euphoria’ becomes `xenophobia’, as tourism in the Third World becomes justifiably labelled as a new form of imperialism. “Tourism feeds on the colonial impulse. Part of the appeal, the `frisson’, of travelling to strange lands is the opportunity that it may afford to patronize the poor native unfortunates who may know no better way of life than that of their homeland. Tourism, in many ways, is a sort of

neo-colonialism.” (Boniface & Fowler, 1993, p. 19) ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS The physical environment constitutes the basis of much tourist development, as it is largely the fragile environment that attracts the tourists, for example, coastal, alpine or historical areas (Pearce, 1989). Until the mid 1980’s, studies on the physical impact of tourism had been few. Parallel to an increased environmental awareness recently, it has been widely accepted that a growth in tourism will inevitably result in modifications of the environment. As this is still a new area of study, research is sparse and uneven, for example, much work has been carried out on the impact on wildlife and vegetation, but not on soils, air and water quality; on Britain and North America but not on LDC’s; on

specific ecosystems such as coastlines, mountains and small islands but not on man-made environments (Pearce, 1981, p.46). Most studies concentrate on the environmental costs, such as the alteration of the landscape, congestion in peak seasons, the detrimental effect on wildlife, air and water as a result of the inevitable urban sprawl. However, few though they are, there are environmental benefits of tourism, such as the increased infrastructure for whole communities, the opening up of new areas to enhance people’s appreciation of the environment and widening their frames of references. There has always been conflict between conservation and development, and as tourism develops, the environmental impact and resultant landscape change will rise in importance in tourism studies.

Irrespective of how much information there is in the literature on each economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism and of how much this chapter has detailed each of them, all three are acknowledged as important and it is appreciated that they have a symbiotic relationship and therefore the division between the groups is not so unequivocal than is often suggested. As tourist development in the Third World is such a prevailing and accepted area of study, the research and literature is becoming more substantial. 2.4 – MEXICO – AN INTRODUCTION Mexico is a land of extraordinary diversity (Lonely Planet Publications, 1992, p. 9). Thousands of years ago, home to some of the most advanced civilisations, the destination of Hernán Cortez in the early sixteenth century and