Hotels and Tourists
But if the hotels are foreign-owned, local people have little to gain. Nor are they better off if tourists stay in them but come prepared to be self-sufficient. In both cases tourists are often strongly resented by locals, who find huge increases in prices as the only tangible result of tourism’s economic impact.
Job creation is another common spin-off from tourism. Governments subside tourism projects in the expectation of increasing employment opportunities in the new hotels and restaurants. But such work is frequently poorly paid and is seasonal. Local people may be neither willing to do demeaning unskilled jobs, nor highly trained enough to be managers and entrepreneurs; they stand on the sidelines while expatriate staff and migrants fill the vacancies. Social tensions surface all too easily in such situations.
Any kind of change brings tensions, and economic development tends to exaggerate the generation gap as the young master learns new skills and the older generation finds its traditions devalued or rejected. Tourists bring with them very different cultures and idea, demonstrated by the way they dress and behave, and these may be very attractive to the younger generation. On the beaches and bar strips of Asia, Africa and the Pacific you can see how readily young people have been lured from their villages by the promise of bright lights and money.
A country’s culture is often a major attraction, particularly when it can be combined with sun, sea and sand. In
Thailand, as in many countries with a rich heritage, tourists’ demands had given a much needed boost to local arts and crafts; after all, a local economy can only stand so many baskets, pots and carvings. The phenomenal growth in Arts Festivals, from Edinburgh to Hong Kong, has brought tourists into festival towns and given some of their inhabitants access to global culture. But what of their own culture? The story here is less rosy. Read the passage carefully and answer the questions that