Displacement: Local communities are sometimes forced off their land for tourism development. Pastoralist groups such as the Maasai and Samburu in East Africa are amongst the worst cases of displacement from lands that they inhabited for centuries. This is due to conservation and tourism policies which have favoured safari tourism above the needs of the local people. The effects have been devastating, further fuelled by the drought in 2007 when the Maasai’s livelihoods were destroyed because they were not allowed to use pastoral land next to the reserves for fear of being an eyesore to the tourists.
In 2006, 1.5 million visitors travelled to Cambodia to see the Angkor Wat temples. There has been a definitive boom in tourism in the country but at the cost of the local people with outside investors and developers taking over their land for tourism purposes. In July 2007, "the forests, lakes, beaches and reefs - and the lives of thousand’s of residents - were quietly transferred into the hands of private western developers". People were jailed, thrown out, or displaced without any compensation. Unfortunately, disregard for the poor continues while massive development costing millions of dollars is taking place on the other hand.
Child labour: The International Labour Organisation estimates that between 13 and 19 million children under the age of 18 work in tourism. This amounts to between 10-15 per cent of the total worldwide tourism labour force.
Sex tourism: A recent publication by ECPAT states that even in countries like Colombia which are not really associated with tourism, child sex tourism exists, with estimates of at least 20,000-35,000 victims of commercial sexual exploitation. An estimate in 2006 by Cambodia’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, states that approximately 30,000 children are forced into prostitution in Cambodia. In 1998 ECPAT Sweden initiated the development of a Tour Operators Code of Conduct against child sex tourism for the tourism industry. and over the years action has taken place in other countries of the world.
Globally, 46 per cent of the tourism workforce are women, compared to an average of 34-40 per cent for the world's workforce as a whole. On average, women working in tourism earn 79 per cent of what men earn, and work 89 per cent of the hours men work - i.e. they are paid less and are more likely to be part-time. Women are much less likely than men to be found in managerial positions and tend to be found in the hotel, catering and restaurant sectors. (Gender & Tourism: Women's Employment and Participation in Tourism, UNED-UK Project Report, 1999).
The tourism industry in Barbados has played a crucial role in the economy, expanding opportunities for women and helping considerably in reducing poverty levels. Data from the Barbados Statistical Service informs that in 2004, of a total labour force of 12,200 persons employed directly in tourism, women comprise 59 per cent compared to 40.1 per cent men (Case study from Gender and Trade)
In the 1970s and 80s Sai Kung, the second largest administrative district in Hong Kong, was transformed from a fishing village to a centre for tourism and this had a great influence on the women of the fishing communities. Many found opportunities owning and operating small boats catering to tourists, while others in the restaurant trade, and still others in the retail business which gained an impetus due to the increasing tourists.
'Financial leakages in tourism occur when revenues arising from tourism-related economic activities in destination countries are not available for (re-) investment or consumption of goods and services in the same countries.' There are hidden costs to tourism which can have negative economic impacts on the destination country and often the poorer countries are least able to realise the positive effects of tourism. This is due to ‘leakage’. According to current statistics assembled by UNCTAD, leakages in the tourism sector total upto 85 per cent in some African least developed countries, more than 80 per cent in the Caribbean, 70 percent in Thailand and 40 per cent in India (Third World Resurgence).www.twnside.org.sg.
According to a UNEP a study of tourism 'leakage' in Thailand estimated that 70 per cent of all money spent by tourists ended up leaving Thailand (via foreign-owned tour operators, airlines, hotels, imported drinks and food, etc). Estimates for other least developed countries range from 80 percent in the Caribbean to 40 per cent in India.
Two-thirds of the income from tourism in the Mediterranean - the world's largest tourist destination - returned to less than 10 tour operators from northern Europe. (WWF)
According to research, most tourists to The Gambia are Europeans buying a package holiday but little of this directly reaches the poor. Between 20 and 35 per cent of the package accrues to hoteliers and the rest to ground handlers, tour operators, airlines etc.
· 1 decade ago