Tourism in an LEDC
Governments in LEDCs often see tourism as a vital source of income, which can be used for development, but tourism can create problems for host countries.
Countries rich in physical resources - such as warm climates, beautiful beaches, rare ecosystems, and abundant plant and animal life - are often sought-after holiday destinations by people from MEDCs [MEDC: A More Economically Developed Country (MEDC) has high levels of development based on economic indicators such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ]. Tour operators and developers invest in these locations in the hope that they will become as popular as European resorts.
Places such as Kenya in East Africa, where tourists go on safari, or Bali in Indonesia, visited for its beautiful beaches, all benefit financially from tourism. However, tourism in LEDCs [LEDC: A Less Economically Developed Country (LEDC) has low levels of development, based on economic indicators, such as gross domestic product (the country's income). ] needs to be carefully managed to prevent harm to the environment and disruption to local communities.
Foreign currency spent by tourists can be invested in improving local education, health and other services.
Profits go to foreign companies, such as tour operators and hotel chains, rather than to the local community.
Jobs for local people are created and people can learn new skills in tourism services.
Foreign companies may bring foreign workers to do the skilled jobs; so local people only do low skilled, poorly paid work.
Construction creates jobs and develops skills for local people.
House prices rise when foreign companies and investors buy property for hotels and holiday homes. This often makes houses too expensive for locals.
Local infrastructure is improved as water and sanitation facilities, roads, buses, taxis and airports are provided for tourists.
Important projects for local communities might be sidelined as infrastructure developments are focused on tourists.
Visitors get an insight into local customs and traditions.
If the aim of activities is to entertain, rather than educate tourists, this may belittle the local people.
Tourists see beautiful landscapes, wildlife and plants. They can also be educated about the dangers to fragile ecosystems in the modern world.
Pollution and disruption to wildlife habitats could occur if tourism isn't sustainable.