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Impact of Tourism on Local Community

Iran Nomad ToursEcoutourism iranImpact of Tourism on Local Community

“People leaving behind all the unique stories, skills, traditions, and sceneries for economical issues and joining a community to which they don’t belong”.

This is definitely a truly sad story happening almost every day in a corner of the world. As time passes, environmentalists and cultural anthropologists become more concerned about cultural diversity which is about to vanish. Additionally, responsible travellers are trying to fight against the current flow. As a result, they are trying to help the cultural diversity by tourism. You may already know how it works. Or you may be curious about how tourism can affect the local community. Below, you can become acquainted of both positive and negative impacts of tourism on the local community.

Why Should We Worry about the Local Community?

Although tourism can have a prominent role in the economic growth of a region, concerns for negative impacts of tourism on local community arise. Not to mention all the social benefits that tourism brings out for that community. Additionally, it can have a great role in preserving nature including national parks and protected areas.

Environmentalists are concerned about the authentic communities which are about to vanish. So expanding tourism in the local community results in social benefits. This entail improvement of infrastructures, more jobs, and no more leaving villages for occupation opportunities. Tourism can offer job opportunities directly and indirectly through the supplies of goods and necessary stuff for cities or suburbs.

Tourism impacts on the economy, environment, politics, and socio-cultural being of the host community.

Elements of the Tourism Industry
Elements of the Tourism Industry (Esmaeil Zaei & Esmaeil Zaei, 2013)[1]

Why Tourism Matters?

In developing countries, the first purpose of promoting tourism is to earn foreign currency. It results in creating more jobs. Hopefully, it leads to ending unemployment, eliminating poverty, and promoting dialogue among civilizations. Additionally, it provides an atmosphere in which different cultures can meet and mingle. So we all are aware of the importance of tourism on economic and social development.

Categorizing the tourism impact into different terms might be quite hard. They may be somehow inseparable and overlap a lot. We do believe that these categories have so much in common and also affect each other in so many ways. But for a better understanding, we have put each subject in the most related category.

Tourism planners must realize that these three concepts, ‘the environment, the economy and the society are inextricably linked… like a spider’s web- touch, one part of it and reverberations will be felt throughout’.

Hall, 2000

Positive Impacts of Tourism on Local Community

Sociocultural Aspect

Maintainance of culture and traditions like the handicraft industry and preservation of eco-system is a notable point of tourism. Meeting different cultures is a part of the consequence of the impact of tourism on the local community.

  • Better local facilities and infrastructure: It includes better education, health care, and occupation opportunities.
  • More cultural and social events for the local community.
  • More leisure facilities.
  • Preservation of cultural heritage: It leads in the rebirth of crafts, architectural traditions and ancestral heritage.
  • The revival of both urban and rural areas: Since a major population of people are moving to urban areas for more job opportunities, it can be a great factor to pause all the immigration.
  • National Integration: Interacting with different people with various cultures and languages lead in Expansion of Literacy and Education among people.
  • Increase in Standards of Living
  • Improvement in health and family welfare.

Economic Aspect

When money comes into rural and urban areas, it stimulates new businesses and brings out a more positive image of the area and reduction of poverty. Economic benefits entail income creation, foreign exchange achievement, and more employment. We will face the economic growth of the country through industrialization, technology, education, better advertising, and liberal trade policies.

  • Generating jobs include sectors like food service, entertainment, accommodation, automobile transportation, public transportation, and travel arrangers.
  • Creation of infrastructure utilities is not only for tourists but also for the local population. For sure the infrastructure must be developed in a planned manner. They must be aware of the probable congestion, overcrowding, and damages to the environment.

Environmental Aspect

  • Increased investment in the area and more environmental actions.
  • Educating the local community to raise awareness for environmental concerns.
  • Income for the preservation of facilities in each area to have minimum pollution consequently.

The more involved the local community gets in tourism development, the fewer damages of tourism will be on the area. Although we must be concerned about the negative effects and costs of tourism on that community. That is why we must focus on raising public awareness.


Negative Impacts of Tourism on Local Community

Beside all the positives benefits, tourism can also have some negative impacts on the local community as well.

Sociocultural Aspect

Tourists, out of carelessness, may fail to respect local values and customs. It causes irritation for the host community. The different cultures of outsiders may disturb the local’s culture and cause social unrest. If locals copy the outsiders’ behaviour and attitude, the may change in time and turn into new people losing their culture and tradition.

Economic Aspect

Development of tourism may result in overcrowding. Overcrowding with a poor infrastructure may result in worsening the situation for locals and also worsen the sanitation status. It is important to be careful about the tourism income and allocate a noticeable percentage of its income to the local community.

Environmental Aspect

The more people come to the area, the more natural resources are needed. The pollution may increase and disturbs the ecological balance of the region. Soil erosion, natural habitat loss, forest fire, and more vulnerability to endangered species are some of the negative impacts to mention.

To Where Tourism Income belongs?

Since money spent in tourism, percolate through many levels; so it is important that the tourism industry allocates a noticeable percentage of the tourism income to the local community benefits. As Holloway & Robinson (1995) put it:

One of the important economic features of the tourism industry is that an income earned in places of residence is spent in places “visited”

Tourism and Economic Development Issues, Tanja Mihalic

However in tourism, there is clearly an uneven distribution of benefits; this is threatening the social, economic and environmental sustainability of tourism in some developing countries. Tourism is one of the fundamental pillars of the development process in many developing countries. Although, for some particular places (like in islands and small economies), it is the only source of foreign currency and employment; therefore it constitutes the platform for their economic development[2].


How to Minimize Negative Environmental Impacts?
  • Respect the local land and give attention to the signs. Do not contribute to any further degradation.
  • Support local businesses and organizations.
  • Support the hotels, tours, and services that are eco-friendly and sustainable as well.
  • Sustainable transport

Surely they are so many individuals and companies involved in these concerns and tourists may be the end of the supply chain. Governments must provide the needed infrastructure for growth. They must ensure that growth is well managed based on the growth of tourism in that area.


Iran Nomad Tours; An Example of Min Negative & Max Positive Impact

Iran Nomad Tours is an ecotourism startup. We try to maximize all the positive impacts and minimize the negative impacts of tourism on the local community as well. We are concerned about the consequences of mass tourism. So we focused on developing Nomads Tourism in Iran. In this local community project, we aim to empower the nomad families. So that in the end, we will be only a platform for the local operators.

Iran Nomad Tours also has a code of ethics in which they are committed not to change and interfere in the local community’s culture. We try to respect their values and do nothing against them.

The other important concern for us is to allocate a great percentage of tourism income to the locals themselves. So that they can develop their facilities and most importantly survive their lifestyle. We don’t want to be visitors. Accordingly, we try to live with nomads like a family member and eat what they eat and do as they do.


[1]. The Impact of Tourism Industry on Host Community

[2]. https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/serv_e/diaz.doc

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