Monday, November 25, 2019

Social Cultural Impacts of Tourism

Social Cultural Impacts of Tourism Introduction The social cultural impact of tourism refers to the positive and negative effect or impact of tourism on the cultural heritage, traditions, customs, and social life style of host communities. This paper will look at the positive and negative socios of authentic cultural elements that may be staged out of context for tourists include traditional dances, certain rituals or practices, the wearing of traditional dresses purely for the benefit of tourists, and the re-enactment of long gone or ancient lifestyles. In all the above, while these elements may be an authentic representation of how the hosts used to live, they may not be a true reflection of how they live today, and hence the representation is reduced to a mere staging of something. As an example, think of an authentic traditional dance performance by singers in animal skins at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The problem with this performance is that it may not be a true reflection of the contemporary and living culture of the place, and might even reinforce tourist’s perception that, in this particular case, Africans are still primitive.Advertising Looking for essay on communications media? Let's see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More Factors that Influence the Social Cultural Impact of Tourism In general, the social cultural impact of tourism is not the same across the world, and a number of factors affect the impact of tourism on any community. Ordinarily, most tourist-host interactions occur at the tourist destination region, when tourists purchase goods and services from local people, when tourists and local residents use the same facilities such as beaches, shops, restaurants, and other amenities and infrastructure, or when they purposefully meet to exchange ideas and information. The type of interaction between tourists and hosts influence the relationship and the attitudes they have towards each other, and this in turn influences the social cultural impact of tourism (Wang Pfister 2008). The tourist-host relationship and thus the social cultural impact of tourism is affected by the differences between tourists and hosts, the type of contact between tourists and hosts, the importance of tourism in a commun ity, and community tolerance threshold which refers to how willing a community is to bear the inflow of tourists and their influences. These are discussed as follows. Differences between Tourists and Hosts The differences between tourists and hosts that can affect the social cultural impact of tourism are their basic value and logic systems, religious beliefs, traditions, customs, lifestyles, behavioral patterns, dress codes, sense of time budgeting, and attitudes towards strangers. Basic Value and Logic Systems The values and the logic systems of a host community and tourists will determine what they value and how they value it. If the hosts and tourists have different values and logic systems, it could cause attraction or resentment whenever there is an interaction. Religion, Traditions, and Customs When tourists and hosts belonging to different religions come into contact with one another, there are likely to be shocks and new discoveries. For example, the public display of affec tion between males and female Christian tourists may be shocking to many Muslims in the Middle East. Contact between tourists and hosts whose traditions differ might cause greater impact. For example, the scantily dressed tourist may, in the long run, impact on the dress code of many rural communities in Africa. The reaction might be to copy them or loathe them for not adhering to local norms and social codes. Variations in traditional practices can be found even among people of the same race and language. The similarity of customs between the guest and the hosts lessen the possibility of misunderstanding each other. For example, tourists from Cape Town visiting Durban will find many customary similarities to their hosts and may not have any impact on their host community. Differences in customs, however, do not always mean that there will be a negative social cultural impact. Lifestyle Lifestyle differences can be caused by income differences. The rich tend to lead similar lifestyl es even though their cultures may not be identical, as the way they spend their money on property, travel, and entertainment, for example, is usually similar. Such lifestyle differences might have an impact if the hosts copy, envy, or morally judge the tourists, or vice versa (Pizam 1978, p. 98). Dress Code When the dress code of tourists is different from that of hosts, the hosts tend to be either attracted to or offended by the dress of the visitors. In most cases, the hosts tend to envy and copy the dress style of tourists, which may not always be acceptable. Sense of Time Budgeting People from developed countries generally value time and think that it is polite to be on time for appointments. On the other hand, people from developing countries generally have a more relaxed attitude towards time, and are not as strict in keeping appointments. Such differences can be a source of misunderstanding or even conflict between tourists and the host community. Attitude towards Strangers S ome cultures and societies view strangers with suspicion while other cultures are more open towards outsiders. The more open the host communities are towards strangers, the greater the social cultural impact of tourism is likely to be on them. Type of Contact between Tourists and Hosts The type of activities tourists engage in, such as passive or active activities, can determine the type of contact and level of interaction with a community. The more active the activity, the greater the interaction with the host community, and the more likely tourism is to have an impact on them (Lankford 1994, p. 35). For example, formal contact, as in the case where tourists receive services from their hosts, makes it necessary for tourists and the local community to interact with each other and is a platform where cultures, norms, and values are exchanged. Thus, it is an opportunity for both parties to copy the behavior and mannerisms of the other. In a similar way, informal contact that takes pla ce where tourists and hosts share the same facilities such as stadiums, streets, or beaches may have either a good or bad influence on tourists or hosts or both. The Importance of Tourism in the Community The way tourism is perceived by the local people in communities, especially their perceptions about its importance to their livelihood, will impact on tourist-host relationship. In cases where there is an excitement about tourists and the benefits that their presence will bring, the tourist-host relationship is usually good due to mutual admiration between tourists and their hosts (Hafeznia et al. 2007). In contrast, when the novelty of meeting new cultures wears off and tourists begin to irritate the locals, probably due to their large numbers, their competing for the limited resources with locals, or the real or perceived ills that tourists bring, tourism might be seen as having less importance and a more antagonistic relationship will begin to develop (Huang Stewart 1996). Comm unity Tolerance Threshold As stated earlier community tolerance threshold refers to how willing a community is to bear the inflow of tourists and their influences. Where the members of a community are less irritable and able to accept tourists regardless of their mannerisms, then tourism will have an impact on them (Aref Redzuan 2010). On the other hand, when members of the host community are irritable, it becomes very difficult for tourists to penetrate their society and the tourism will have little or no impact at all on the local community. Conclusion As explained in this paper, the social cultural impact of tourism is not the same across the world. Various factors that differ from location to location influence not only the type of impact, but also whether those impacts will be negative or positive. The type of interaction between tourists and hosts influences their relationship and the attitudes they have towards one another, and this in turn influences the social cultural imp act of tourism. Typically, the tourist-host relationship and thus the social cultural impact of tourism are affected by differences between tourists and the host communities. Other factors are the type of contacts created and how tourism is regarded by the local community. The location of tourism, such as a rural or urban location or in a developed or developing country, determines whether the social cultural impact on the location will be positive or negative. To a great extent, the number of tourists visiting a location affects the level of impact on the host community. For example, a large number of tourists will have a greater influence on the host community, because there are many chances of a local person meeting a tourist. The origin of tourists also affects the social cultural impact of tourism because there might be notable differences between them and the hosts due to their origin, which might intensify the impact. The stage of tourism development in a destination affects the host community’s knowledge of tourism and attitude towards tourists, and its reaction to tourism. Reactions of host communities in the development stage can include hostility, lack of charity, and imitation. These in turn affect the nature of social cultural impacts that result from tourism. To some degree, the length of the tourist season influences the intensity of the social cultural impact. The longer the interaction, the greater the impact of tourism on the host community will be. Reference List Allen, LR, Hafer, HR, Long, PT Perdue, RR, 1993, ‘Rural Residents’ Attitudes toward Recreation and Tourism Development’, Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 27 – 33. Aref, F Redzuan, M 2010, ‘Community Leaders’ Perceptions towards Socio-cultural Impacts of Tourism on Local Communities’, Journal of Human Ecology, 29 (2): 87 – 91. 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