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Tourism industry and its potential in the alleviation of poverty

Discuss about the Tourism Reduces Poverty- An Argumentative Essay.

The term poverty denotes the condition in which the basic amenities of a person or a community like food, shelter and clothing are not met. Poverty is of two types-absolute poverty and relative poverty. The term absolute poverty refers to destitution and is a condition when people are unable to meet the sufficient resources (Hagenaars 2017). On the other hand, relative poverty is a condition when people do not enjoy minimum living standards. Given the reference of the report used in this case, the tourism industry has created the most number of employment in the developing countries. It was found that tourism has generated an amount of US$50 billion to USD$260 between the period of 1990 and 2007 for the developing countries. It was found that out of 46 of the 49 LDCs (Least Developing Countries), tourism is the main source of foreign exchange (Gmelch and Kaul 2018). The aim of the paper is to elucidate and support the contention that tourism reduces poverty with a focus on India and employs scholarly evidence to substantiate the argument. The paper sets to argue that tourism is beneficial for the reduction of poverty and also document counter arguments regarding the same.

Tourism has direct, indirect and induced impacts on tourism. The induced impact of tourism is its contribution through the provision of direct and indirect employment. The impact of tourism has been found to be beneficial for the rise in GNP (Gross National Product) as it creates employment for the multiple stakeholders like the hotels, restaurants, handloom and handicraft industry, flea market, guides and local shopkeepers. Tourism development as an aspect in any country has been studied from the perspective of financial growth or economic modernization. In the area of development, the emphasis of most countries have been on identifying patterns of economic growth that augments the development. There are two critical paradigms of tourism that is related to poverty. One of them is tourism being labour-intensive and provides small-scale opportunities. Secondly, there is a thrust to revive the natural resources and value the cultural heritage which are significant for the marginalized section. Vanegas, Gartner and Senauer (2015) strongly beliee that tourism becomes an inclusive opportunity for women as it generates employment for them. It has been found that countries such as Bolivia, tourism has filled up 60 per cent of the seats; in case of Muslim countries it has been 10 per cent (Chen, Petrick and Shahvali 2016). The service orientation of the tourism industry combined with the emphasis on low-level domestic tasks enhances the possibility of employment for the women as they are largely involved in the employment sector.

Tourism industry and the scope of alleviation of poverty

Tourists visit the country and return to their country, however the income ushered in through the tourists is instrumental for the contribution to the human capital. This generates income that is effective in developing the infrastructure to forge new business that is significant for the for generating income for the growing population in the context of India. Hugo and Nyaupane (2016) are of the opinion that in many developed and developing countries of the world tourism is the vehicle for earning foreign revenue. It also creates direct and indirect employment. Tourism has been reported to contribute to 5 per cent of the world’s GDP (Step.unwto.org 2018). WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) have reported that tourism contributes to 12 per cent of the GDP of the world and 40 per cent of the GDP of the developing countries of the world. In 2010, it was reported that tourism contributed to 12 per cent of the total GDP (Sharma and Kumar 2018). Tourism has been accounted for generating 8 per cent of employment and it is predicted to generate employment for 324 million and tourism also accounts for 36 per cent of the service exports in the advanced countries of the world (Brako and Joseph 2017). It is found to be the primary economic exchange for 47 per cent of the world’s  economy. . It is also reported that it contributes to 66 per cent of the service exports for the developing countries. It is argued that tourism is considered as a major cause for poverty alleviation, generation of employment and also fosters human development. Tourism has indirect impact on the generation of income and employment.

In the context of India, tourism is found to be contributing to one-third of the foreign exchange of the world’s foreign exchange revenue in India. In India, the tourism industry is the most vibrant industry and is predicted to be a multi-million industry. It was found that travel and tourism would generate culminate to 24, 931, 000 jobs for the multiple stakeholders in the tourism industry (Seetanah et al. 2017). This means hotels, travel agents, transportation and airlines will benefit from such a trend. According to Kalaiya and Kumar (2015) Kachchh is touted to be a bastion for immense possibilities to attract tourists from all over the world. There is a robust revival of the tourism sector thus making the Kachchh region a frontrunner in the tourism sector. It has been found that the Rannutsav in Kachchh has indirectly contributed to the livelihood of the local communities. The entry fee alone generated 516955 INR and the footfall of the tourists are 66656 in 2011 that includes NRI, foreign tourists, Gujarati community as well as the non-Gujarati people (Tang, Tiwari and Shahbaz 2016). The activities of hot air balloon and other terrain vehicles lead to the generation of 2.24 lakh INR.

Scholars who staunchly believe in the positive impact of tourism are of the opinion that the tourism industry generates employment for the poor and enable them to earn their livelihood (Antonakakis, Dragouni and Filis 2015). In this light, the PPT (Pro-poor tourism) needs to be discussed. The concept of Pro-poor tourism, also known as PPT, has been credited for generating multiple advantages for the poor. This orientation of tourism has a pro-poor approach as it ensures their growth. This can be witnessed in the creation of part-time employment along with a cluster of different livelihood benefits like access to road, markets, health, potable water and education. Mowforth and Munt (2015) argues that this kind of approach to tourism is not just labour intensive but is inclusive of women and also boosts the informal economy. Apart from private enterprises, the concerned communities, government, NGO and the tourists all have key roles to play in the alleviation of poverty. Irrespective of the size of the country, tourism is considered to provide boost for the generation of finance (Ravallion 2017). Tourism is believed to have strong linkage with other sectors of the economy like fisheries and agriculture. This kind of connection will augment the growth of tourism. Ravallion (2017) is firmly of the opinion that the rise in demand for one sector, it is believed that there will be a growth in the other sectors  too like the transport sector. Tourism is premised on the natural resources which are the assets of the poor and therefore can be easily developed. Tourism also involves women who can become important vehicles in the alleviation of poverty. The variegated infrastructure related to the development of tourism like electricity, road and communication are believed to be pertinent for the several rural communities who would otherwise been deprived from the infrastructural provision (Holden 2016). Apart from direct and indirect modes of employment, tourism also has implications for induced employment. This underscore on re-expenditure of the income generated through direct and indirect means of employment. High employment opportunities in the tourism sector is contingent on four key areas that includes the presence of low paying jobs, pervasion of temporary and part-time jobs and seasonal intensity (Antonakakis, Dragouni and Filis 2015). Tourism is found to exhaust a series of non-traded goods and services from the local suppliers. Holden (2016) contends that over the past decade, there has been a remarkable proliferation in the tourism industry compared to other industries. The correlation between the alleviation of poverty and tourism is not a new issue but it has existed since 1960s. Countries that veer towards using tourism as a major source of income are found to be growing a faster pace than other competing countries. Another luminous example of reduction of poverty using tourism is the possibility of slum tourism in Dharavi (Nisbett 2017). Private players, charitable trust and various NGOs can come together and create tourist itineraries. It will also enable tourists to challenge the stenotypes in India and be aware about the detrimental effects of globalization.

Studies have shown that tourism might always be in favour of the marginalized communities and poorer section of the society. It is reported that tourism has been in favour of the local elites, expatriate and international and international enterprises therefore generating low income and limiting the scope of employment for the poor. If the framework of tourism is poorly planned, organized and executed then it has potential to destroy the ecological system, it can raise the cost of living for the local communities and can have pernicious effects on the cultural, social and traditional lives of the people. Brako and Joseph (2017) argues that economic growth and development is not the only parameter for the alleviation of poverty. There needs to be a complete reorientation that would advocate the cause and interest of the poor. There needs to be a reconceptualization and reinterpretation in the existing laws, rules, regulations, customs and practices that would play a pivotal role in the reduction of poverty. Contrary to the popular notion of tourism having the potential to reduce poverty, critics have argued it can lead to the commercial0ization of poverty and expose the concerned poor people to more problems (Nisbett 2017). In case of the Dharavi slum tourism, objections were raised by the government as it demeaning the image of the country in front of the foreign tourists and could counter the benefits reaped through tourism. Tourism can pose threat if it generating employment for one sector like fisheries and agriculture and is limiting the opportunities for other sectors. This leads to the condition of employment distortion. In case, technical staff and expatriate managers are employed at a higher rate, the local communities may express resentment on their loss. Another negative aspect related to tourism is related to the seasonal nature of tourism and therefore, it is not a sustainable option for the poor throughout the year (Mowforth and Munt 2015). Tourism poses threat to the destruction of cultural assets and the degradation of the cultural resources. In the broader context of the global issues related to the depletion of the resources and degradation of the environment, tourism can have negative effect on the environment. As noted by scholars, tourism as an industry demands a lot of expenditure and therefore, the lack of engagement of the poor can reduce the attraction of tourism from the poor destinations. Therefore, the income that would be generated would not benefit the poor but the affluent and well-off sections of the society as consistent with the trickle effect. Since tourism is directly proportional to the socio-cultural, political, environmental and economic condition, the absence of social security and insurance can push the poor towards more vulnerable condition (Vanegas, Gartner and Senauer 2015). This would be especially in a situation when there would be the downswing of demand. Tourism may also lead to the increase in crime like drug pedalling and trafficking. Many poor localities lack the adequate transport and communication that is main basis of support for the growth of tourism

Conclusion

The main argument of the essay was that the tourism industry plays a significant role in alleviation of poverty. The tourism industry creates employment for the local communities and provides them an opportunity to introduce their culture and talent to the tourists. For the developing countries, especially there is a need to boost the tourism industry and tap the benefits reaped through it as foreign exchange will increase the Gross Nation Product (GNP) of the country. The Kachchh region in Gujarat is a luminous example in this line as it has created benefits for multiple stakeholders. However, thrust on tourism to alleviate poverty can also have its detrimental effects. The advantages reaped through tourism might be limited to the affluent and well-off sections of the society and the benefits are never reached to the poor. Tourism can also pose threat to the cultural assets and natural resources of the poor communities and heighten their problems. The seasonal nature of the industry will not incur sustainable benefits for the poor, therefore exacerbating their conditions in the lean season. Since tourism is contingent on the improvement in transport and communication, poorly developed regions inhabited by the local communities will not be able to reap the benefits incurred through tourism.

References

Antonakakis, N., Dragouni, M. and Filis, G., 2015. How strong is the linkage between tourism and economic growth in Europe?. Economic Modelling, 44, pp.142-155.

Brako, P. and Joseph, S.T., 2017. Study on How Economic Reforms Have Affected Tourism in India over the Decade.

Chen, C.C., Petrick, J.F. and Shahvali, M., 2016. Tourism experiences as a stress reliever: Examining the effects of tourism recovery experiences on life satisfaction. Journal of Travel Research, 55(2), pp.150-160.

Gmelch, S.B. and Kaul, A., 2018. Tourists and tourism: A reader. Waveland Press.

Hagenaars, A.J., 2017. The definition and measurement of poverty. In Economic Inequality and Poverty: International Perspectives (pp. 148-170). Routledge.

Holden, A., 2016. Environment and tourism. Routledge.

Hugo, N.C. and Nyaupane, G.P., 2016. Poverty Alleviation in Third World Countries through Tourism Development: A Comparison Study of Costa Rica and icaragua.

Kalaiya, A.B. and Kumar, A., 2015. Tourism as a development tool: A study on role of tourism in economic development, employment generation and poverty reduction: Special focus on Kachchh. International Journal, 3(7), pp.189-197.

Mowforth, M. and Munt, I., 2015. Tourism and sustainability: Development, globalisation and new tourism in the third world. Routledge.

Nisbett, M., 2017. Empowering the empowered? Slum tourism and the depoliticization of poverty. Geoforum, 85, pp.37-45.

Ravallion, M., 2017. Poverty comparisons. Routledge.

Seetanah, B., Nunkoo, R., Sannassee, R.V., Georges, P. and Jaffur?, W.M.Z.R.K., 2017. A meta-analysis of the tourism and economic growth nexus. BEST EN Think Tank XVII: Innovation and Progress in Sustainable Tourism, p.180.

Sharma, S. and Kumar, K., 2018. Tourism and Its Counterpart in Sustaining the Indian Economy. Multidisciplinary Higher Education, Research, Dynamics & Concepts: Opportunities & Challenges For Sustainable Development (ISBN 978-93-87662-12-4), 1(1), pp.344-347.

Step.unwto.org. (2018). Tourism and Poverty Alleviation | Tourism and Poverty Alleviation. [online] Available at: https://step.unwto.org/content/tourism-and-poverty-alleviation-1 [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018].

Tang, C.F., Tiwari, A.K. and Shahbaz, M., 2016. Dynamic inter-relationships among tourism, economic growth and energy consumption in India. Geosystem Engineering, 19(4), pp.158-169.

Vanegas Sr, M., Gartner, W. and Senauer, B., 2015. Tourism and poverty reduction: An economic sector analysis for Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Tourism economics, 21(1), pp.159-182.

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