1 Chapter 5 Social Impacts Learning Objectives Recognize the different cultures involved in tourism. Examine the various types of social impacts and benefits related to tourism. Examine Social impact mitigation strategies. Identify the types of social indicators that can be used to address socio-cultural change. Examine a long term socio-cultural impact study that involved different host societies. When the study of tourism moved from the advocacy to the cautionary platform (see chapter 1) negative impacts, related to development, became the focus of discussion. The first spate of studies were concerned primarily with environmental issues. A few reports, primarily case studies, dealt with possible socio-cultural impacts. This was due, in large part, to the difficulty of quantifying socio-cultural impacts. Economic impacts have a world wide common denominator (money), environmental impacts can be measured using some accepted parameters (e.g. vegetation loss) but socio-cultural impacts, with some exceptions, are rarely measured. They are most often observed. In fact socio-cultural is a hybrid term which, as used in the context of impacts, encompasses changes to the social organization of a group of people as well as more fundamental reorganization of a society's culture. Social change does not necessarily indicate cultural change but it is a precursor to it. The point where social change results in cultural change is not easily determined. That is why most studies review impacts
2 from a socio-cultural perspective. Not all socio-cultural impacts are negative. New revenue from tourism can result in increasing incomes and improve quality of life for local residents (Gee, Choy and Makens, 1984). Tourism employment can provide entry level positions for youths or other seasonal type employment for a family's second wage earner. Additional jobs from tourism can increase overall wage levels for all sectors especially if competition for labor increases. Additional foreign (i.e. out of region) exchange increases opportunities for income growth. Infrastructure improvements benefit tourists as well as local residents. Services and attractions unavailable before tourism development (e.g. sports facilities, theater) may need the support of tourists to exist. Again community residents also benefit from these additions to the attraction and service base. In addition to increasing the quality of life for local residents through economic impacts tourism may also be responsible for protecting and preserving cultural traditions. Examples where tourism has helped preserve the cultural heritage of a people can be found in Esman (1984), Witt (1991) and Din (1988). The influx of tourists may also be a source of pride and can improve the self esteem of the host society (Boissevain, 1979).
- Fall '08