How Tourism Affects the Local Economy

Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. It “surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles,” according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Inbound tourism boosts the economic growth of a region’s economy while providing high potential to support job creation. Outbound tourism promotes cross-cultural understanding and goodwill. In the words of Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…”

Job creation is paramount to any discussion about tourism’s positive economic effects. The 2017 Economic Impact Report by the World Travel & Tourism Council indicates that the industry generates one out of 10 jobs worldwide, growing at a pace that outperforms employment in the global economy for the sixth consecutive year. The report also indicates that among new jobs, the sector accounts for one in five.

Tourism has long been cited by world leaders as a driver of peace and security through understanding. In the 21st century, tourism is closely linked to development, embracing a growing number ‎of new destinations – hence new jobs. Tourism can create civic pride by encouraging cultivation and sharing of local customs, food, traditions and festivals. Personal exchanges between hosts and guests goes a long way toward fostering better cultural understanding. Tour operators are focusing on the experiential travel trend, providing more authentic and immersive experiences for their guests. Open spaces and national parks in countries around the world are good for replenishing both body and soul, but traffic jams are not a good look.