The practice of stripping to bareness as it applies to tourism has become a major problem in many areas of the world, particularly in Africa. The practice has given African cultures a more authentic feel. Tourists are not always required to adhere to local dress codes, however. If tourists would follow the example of the locals, they will enjoy themselves much more and feel more at home. Some people in the tourism industry have adopted an attitude which prefers to portray local culture over that of other cultures.
In addition, some tourists often buy very expensive pieces of clothing in order to wear them on the street or beach. Others buy souvenirs like sculptures and wooden statues from foreign countries so that they can take them home. Such practices are condemned by local and international tourism organizations. Acknowledging this, there is now a campaign in Africa calling for respect for cultural diversity.
It is difficult to determine exactly how many people travel in the age of tourism. Estimates place the number at around twenty-five percent. However, the true figure may be much higher. Many families who earn a living from various forms of tourism do not wish to speak about it. They fear that people will stop patronizing their shops and thus the source of their income will be reduced.
There is certainly a downside to the practice of stripping, as anyone who has seen some parts of Africa will vouch. The decline in tourism means less money for the local people and this directly affects their living standards. This, in turn, directly affects the rest of the community. When tourists visit a town or village, there is usually very little money available for other forms of local economy. The lack of tourism creates a vacuum which is quickly filled by people trying to earn a living through activities which do not involve travel.
This practice also leads to people misrepresenting the culture of different places as their own. This often results in people inaccurately assuming that a country is backward or poor when, in fact, it is not. They tend to see a culture that they have never seen as representative of all others. Travel in the age of tourism often leads to people assuming that a certain culture is not valued around the world.
Tourism, it must be understood, is not the root of many of society’s problems. There are many complex issues affecting millions of people, especially in the developing world. However, it is necessary for us to acknowledge that travel can sometimes have negative repercussions. It is equally true that tourists often take advantage of the locals and their culture, under the pretence that they are visiting in order to appreciate it. The effect of tourism on the local economy needs to be discussed in terms of its impact on the local people and their economy rather than on the tourists.
This is probably the biggest threat that we face in the age of tourism. Because tourists tend to focus on the tourist destinations and forget about the communities that they are visiting, this can have adverse effects on the economy. For example, it is widely believed that all of the recent anti-American sentiment is linked to the fact that Americans were not paying enough attention to the local people when they were travelling in the world’s most popular tourist destination. The impact of tourism has been negative for many reasons.
Now that we have covered some of the negative impacts of travel, let us look at some ways that we can improve tourism. Firstly, it is important that we teach our children not to assume that all cultures are the same and, secondly, it is also important that we understand and respect other cultures. I always feel most comfortable when I am exploring a new area or culture with people who speak the language that I do. There is nothing worse than being forced to learn a language that you do not immediately speak. In this way, by introducing my language early, I avoid the language barriers that can affect my travel experiences.