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.

Shop Local

  1. Learn About Local Businesses

To learn more about local businesses in your area, set aside a day to explore your town and see what it has to offer. Since part of the benefit of shopping local comes from being able to run errands on foot, leave your car at home and focus on the area within walking distance, if possible.

Start at one end of the main street or one corner of the central shopping district and work your way along, making note of all the businesses you see along the way. When you see one that looks useful or interesting, stop and make a note of its name, its location, and its hours. Then, the next time you’re looking for a jewelry shop, for example, you’ll know exactly where to find one.

 

  1. Shop Locally

Once you’ve identified local businesses in your area, the next step is to make shopping at them part of your usual routine. This can be a challenge if you’re on a tight budget, since local businesses often can’t match the low prices of big-box stores. However, there are several ways to get around this problem:

  • Budget for it. Set aside a small sum in your personal budget each month specifically for local shopping.
  • Go local for services. Goods are often cheaper at big-box stores that sell cheap, mass-produced wares. However, services are often just as cheap or even cheaper when you buy them locally.
  • Shop local for the holidays. Shopping local is a great choice for holiday gifts, because a present feels more special when it comes from your own hometown. Each year, American Express sponsors “Small Business Saturday” after Thanksgiving to encourage people to start their holiday shopping at local businesses, and many independent businesses offer special sales on this day.

 

  1. Eat Locally

Not all local businesses are useful to everyone. For instance, a children’s clothing store isn’t of much interest if you don’t have kids. However, everybody has to eat, so shopping locally for food is one of the best ways to support your local economy.

 

  1. Bank Locally

Another way to keep your money in your community is to literally keep your money at a local community bank or credit union, rather than at a large national bank. Banking locally offers several benefits: lower cost, better service, and supporting your local community.