Tourism as a whole is an economically productive activity, unfortunately is not alien to the greed of some operators, lenders and unscrupulous clients who organize and consume tourism products that deteriorate and severely undermine the social roots of host communities.
Because to the strong development of tourism, supported by population expansion and the ease to travel, are increasingly visitors who come to enjoy exotic destinations, which generally are not adequately prepared to receive and manage impact produced by the tourist industry.
In some destinations, such as those located in impoverished countries, a situation of inequality occurs. There has been an infringement of the fundamental rights of the receptor Population. Behind all the magic of tourism we can find very serious social, economic and environmental threats. One of the most serious is discrimination and violence perpetrated against women and girls. It’s a sad situation, hidden and unnoticed by the vast majority of travelers but real.
To properly understand and becoming aware of the magnitude of this problem, here’s a clear example; The United Nations estimates that more than 200 million children, under the age of 18 suffer from some type of violence or sexual abuse due to tourism.
In turn, tourists travel promotes expectations about the destination, including some promotes cultural, such as traditions, gastronomy, art, crafts, architecture and the material elements of the history, celebrations festive and traditional music. Unfortunately, the effect beyond the enjoyment of the trip and the correct distribution of remuneration is quite unfair. The values and cultural identity of the locals, the conditions in land use, the socialisation between the parties, the traditional form of domestic organization, environmental health, religion and even the typical clothing changed.
These impacts are real and constant, inexorable changes occur and should be properly managed during the relation between visitors and the local residents and mostly during the creation and administration of the destination susceptible to be modified.
The unequal relationship between tourists and locals, plus language barriers, carries the risk of reproducing the typical relations of colonialism: firstly, most visitors enjoy travel services in line with comfort demand as the market competitiveness force providers to update their tourist services. At the other hand, local people suffers in worse living conditions as a result of the very presence of tourists. A typical example is water: the enormous consumption of this resource by hotels (showers, swimming pools, gardens, golf courses) decreases the supply and disposition to the local population, even in some tourist destinations should be resorted water rationing during high tourist demand. Moreover, the scarcity of water leads to the unfortunate abandonment of crops, so the negative impact threatens the very survival of the local population located in rural and underdeveloped.
The presence of tourists in poor countries is an inevitable source of frustration: luxurious living standards of travelers actually highlights the daily misery of the local population. The exclusions (eg, private beaches of the hotels) imposed by the presence of tourists, increase social differences.
Alienation is the biggest risk. Tourism can change the social structure of the population, transforming from rural to urban, changing roles within the community, family and even working couple themselves. Tourism promotes the transfer of values, consumption patterns and behavior, causing serious problems due to the gradual abandonment of traditional values.
Without a proper management and knowledge of our business and the risks associated with it, we strongly believe that the medium to long term will definitely affect both sides of the relationship, further encouraging social differences that unfortunately characterize our global society.
We at Yacutinga Lodge believe that responsible tourism is crucial to provide solutions to social differences. Without doubt, it is a huge challenge but mandatory, to which all of us , from travellers to Hotel Bell-Boys passing from Major Hotel chains to Ecofriendly Camps, must be involved and aware in the fundamental need to respect local culture and promote social equity.