Many economies around the world depend heavily on tourism as a major contributor to a country’s GDP. Other countries, such as our target countries, have the potential to see substantial economic gains should their tourists' industries improve.
While tourism has the potential to attract foreign investment and, at the very least, bring foreign money into the country through tourists, not all tourism has a positive impact on the economic standing of local communities. When the tourism industry is managed entirely by foreign entities, who rely heavily on foreign sourced goods and do not concern themselves with the impact they may be having on the local communities, the economic conditions of the country they are located in will not improve and may actually deteriorate.
To the contrary, a tourist business that is owned and operated by a native, or is at the very least locally managed, which purchases all the materials it needs from local businesses, employs local staff at a competitive wage and consistently engages and supports other local businesses, will have a significant positive impact on the economic development of their home country.
As tourists, it is important that we educate ourselves on how our travel choices may impact local communities. We as travelers have the potential to contribute, even in small ways, towards a better future for local business owners, their families, and communities. Dunia Unificada is working to bring you ideas on how to better support local economies when traveling. We will also be introducing you to hotels, restaurants, tourism companies and other businesses we think are doing a fantastic job at supporting local businesses, so you can rest easy while enjoying new destinations. Finally, in an effort to make sure you are an informed traveler, we will be bringing you examples and stories of both positive and negative impacts tourism have had on different communities.
Have a story to share? Want us to highlight a business? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!