TOPIC GUIDE: Tourism
"Tourism benefits the world"
PUBLISHED: 01 Jan 2007
AUTHOR: James Gledhill
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Tourism has traditionally been a way of escaping the cares of the world, but mounting fears about the impact of mass tourism mean that tourists are now encouraged not to leave their consciences at home. A debate about whether mass tourism is exploitative [Ref: BBC News] has been going on for some time, leading to the rise of related ideas like ethical (dead link), [Ref: Association of Independent Tour Operators] or eco tourism [Ref: Global Development Research Centre]. However, recently the focus has switched from whether we should travel more responsibly to whether we should actually travel less. The increase in cheap flights is a particular focus of controversy. The Bishop of London has argued that it’s selfish and sinful to contribute to climate change by flying on holiday, and that we should ‘walk more lightly upon the earth’ [Ref: Times Online]. Even the editors of backpackers’ bibles Lonely Planet and Rough Guide have sought to discourage ‘casual flying’ [Ref: Guardian]. Carbon offsetting [Ref: Wikipedia] services, which seek to cancel out the carbon dioxide produced by flying, are increasingly popular. Gap years have also come in for criticism, with warnings that they may do more harm than good [Ref: Guardian]. There has, however, been a backlash against the war on tourism, with renewed arguments for the economic and social benefits tourism brings. Critics detect snobbery against mass tourism, moral posturing and hypocrisy, with people bemoaning the effects of tourism while continuing to take full advantage of its many benefits. They ask on what basis people claim a right to tell others how to enjoy themselves. The overall impact of tourism therefore needs to be reassessed, and the question remains: is the holiday over for mass tourism?
DEBATE IN CONTEXT
This section provides a summary of the key issues in the debate, set in the context of recent discussions and the competing positions that have been adopted.
Is mass tourism exploitative?
From the time that the father of mass tourism, Thomas Cook, organised the world’s first package tour in 1841, tourism has been more than the preserve of a privileged few. The post-war expansion of air travel kick started the era of international mass travel, which today, with the increase in cheap flights, includes many more short breaks alongside annual summer holidays. But tourism has many critics who accuse it of three main forms of exploitation: economic, environmental and cultural. There is disagreement about whether ethical tourism provides the answer, and it has its critics on both sides of the debate. On the for side there are those who argue all tourism is beneficial and that we shouldn’t make moralising distinctions between different types of holiday. On the against side, some people question whether ‘ethical’ tourism is ever really possible. The debate is increasingly framed in terms of whether global tourism levels should be reduced.
Do the economic benefits outweigh the costs?
Tourism is the world’s largest industry and the only source of rapid development for many small developing countries. However, it’s criticised for the way in which most of the money goes to companies abroad rather than local people. One side points to the benefits from employment and associated opportunities for small family businesses like cafes and handicrafts, while the other points to the large areas of land that are bought up by foreign companies, creating resorts which exclude local people and which tourists seldom leave.
Does tourism damage or improve the environment?
Environmentalists argue flying is the fastest growing cause of climate change, although it is currently responsible for only three percent of greenhouse gas emissions. There are calls for a tax on aviation fuel to discourage flying. Budget airlines are a focus of criticism, but they argue that they are more efficient than other carriers. The debate over the effect on the environment of tourist destinations sets benefits like the creation of national parks, restoration of monuments and improved infrastructure against damage to coral reefs, pressure on water resources and the effects of golf courses and resorts on people and the landscape.
Does tourism undermine indigenous cultures or break down barriers?
Our pursuit of the exotic, some say, is turning other cultures into consumer goods. Even independent travel is not immune from criticism, as it brings package tourists in its wake. Sex tourism is seen as indicative of rampant exploitation. Counter arguments say tourism promotes cultural understanding, even supposedly superficial package holidays. Trying to protect indigenous cultures, it’s argued, denies them the benefits of development, treating them as museum pieces to be admired rather than active cultures to be engaged with.
Should we travel less?
There are few voices making a positive case for travel. Previously, travel was associated with the way social progress afforded free time for individual leisure and even self-improvement. Travel was held to ‘broaden the mind’ and being ‘well travelled’ commanded respect. Now many people present a negative view: we’re ‘addicted to oil’ and our disruptive restlessness undermines community life and threatens the planet. While some commentators argue that ‘flying kills’ [Ref: Guardian] and would welcome travel once again becoming an ‘expensive luxury [Ref: Guardian], others argue that we shouldn’t lose sight of the remarkable opportunities travel affords us and that we should actually work to ensure that these can enjoyed by more of the people of the world.
It is crucial for debaters to have read the articles in this section, which provide essential information and arguments for and against the debate motion. Students will be expected to have additional evidence and examples derived from independent research, but they can expect to be criticised if they lack a basic familiarity with the issues raised in the essential reading.
Mamata Nanda Huffington Post 3 October 2013
Dr. Raywat Deonandan Huffington Post 29 October 2012
Tamara Audi and Arlene Chang Wall Street Journal 10 December 2010
Amana Fontanella-Khan Slate 23 August 2010
Sarah Boseley Guardian 30 June 2009
Justin Francis vs Jeremy Skidmore The Times 19 November 2005
Simon Calder vs Mark Lynas Independent on Sunday 19 June 2005
Jonathan Meades vs Peter Smith The Future Cities Project 27 February 2003
Amindita Majumdar Daily Mail India 15 July 2013
University of Huddersfield 17 January 2013
Kamayani B Mahabal Tehelka 8 June 2011
Jennifer Lahl The Centre for Bioethics and Culture Network 20 January 2011
James Panton spiked 16 August 2007
Anatole Kaletsky, Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Micheal O'Leary The Times 10 June 2006
Brendan O’Neill Guardian Comment is Free 19 May 2006
Keith Jowett and Roger Wiltshire Guardian 3 March 2006
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2 February 2004
Kendal Youngblood Culture Wars 27 June 2013
Global IVF 25 May 2013
Mina Chang Harvard International Review 6 July 2009
Uday Mahurkar India Today 13 September 2007
James Mair BBC News The Green Room 14 December 2006
Simon Jenkins Guardian 16 August 2006
Nicholas Crane Daily Telegraph 29 July 2006
George Monbiot Guardian 28 February 2006
The Oxford Student 22 November 2001
Hemlata Aithan Oman Tribune
Olga van den Akker Expert Reviews 2010
Raekha Prasad Guardian 30 July 2008
Amelia Gentleman New York Times 4 March 2008
Jim Butcher spiked 11 August 2005
John Adams PIU Transport Seminar 13 November 2001
Definitions of key concepts that are crucial for understanding the topic. Students should be familiar with these terms and the different ways in which they are used and interpreted and should be prepared to explain their significance.
Useful websites and materials that provide a good starting point for research.
HM Government 19 June 2013
Cherrill Hicks Telegraph 10 February 2013
Prachi Bharadwaj MightyLaws.in 1 May 2011
BioNews 14 March 2011
Paul Troop Practical Ethics 20 January 2011
Gina Maranto Biopolitical Times 6 December 2010
Nature 26 July 2010
Scott Carney Mother Jones March 2010
Naomi Canton Hindustan Times 9 December 2009
Mike Celizic Today 20 February 2008
Cubically Challenged 2008
Stanford University 2008
PRS India 2008
Sheela Bhatt Rediff India 1 November 2007
Carmen de Jong BBC News The Green Room 6 August 2007
Abigail Haworth Marie Claire 29 July 2007
Jacky Boivin, Laura Bunting, John A. Collins and Karl G. Nygren Oxford Journals 2 January 2007
Kate Humble, Ben Fogle and Alain de Botton The Times 10 June 2006
Cath Urquart The Times 8 January 2005
Susan Llewelyn Leach Christian Science Monitor 22 December 2004
Sue Wheat peopleandplanet.net 6 September 2004
Lisa Mastny and Steve Conklin Worldwatch Live Online Discussion 23 June 2003
BBC World Service Talking Point 9 August 2001
United Nations Environment Programme 1 January 2001
Our Planet February 1999
Dr Alka Sehgal wscpedia.org
New Zealand Ministry of Tourism
BBC World Service
Links to organisations, campaign groups and official bodies who are referenced within the Topic Guide or which will be of use in providing additional research information.
IN THE NEWS
Relevant recent news stories from a variety of sources, which ensure students have an up to date awareness of the state of the debate.
Independent 13 January 2014
Reuters 30 September 2013
Hindu 16 July 2013
Daily Mail 16 July 2013
Global Post 10 June 2013
Indian Express 28 May 2013
NDTV 25 February 2013
Times of India 21 January 2013
Telegraph 18 January 2013
Scotsman 30 June 2011
India Today 25 April 2011
Times of India 27 January 2011
Russia Today 13 December 2010
New Zealand Herald 14 September 2010
Daily News Analysis 14 May 2010
Telegraph India 13 December 2009
Dr.Malpani's Blog 28 September 2009
Medindia 1 January 2008
Guardian 20 August 2007
BBC News 7 May 2007
Guardian 24 July 2006
The Sunday Times 23 July 2006
Guardian 17 July 2006
Inter Press Service News Agency 11 July 2006
BBC News 4 July 2006
BBC News 19 June 2006
BBC News 19 June 2006
BBC News 13 June 2006
Daily Telegraph 3 June 2006
Guardian 4 March 2006
Daily Telegraph 26 November 2005
Daily Telegraph 19 November 2005
Times Online 17 August 2005
BBC News 7 February 2005
Paul Brown Guardian 6 September 2003
BBC News 23 June 2001
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