While tourism improves services and generates incomes and employment, its jobs are low-income and no-career, living costs rise, leaving the local economy disrupted while wealth leaks away. Where it can lead to exchange between cultures, modernization, more education and (self)-respect for cultural sites, it can also result in loss of cultural identity and risk of exploitation (of women and children). It might support protected nature parks, but often impacts negatively on vegetation, air and water while leaving communities without access to resources and coastal communities suffering under higher sea levels.
Tourism redirects resources and infrastructure and thus affects all communities, not only when tourists arrive, but in all the phases of the touristic lifecycle (planning, development, construction, exploitation, decline and termination) with direct, indirect or induced impacts, positive for one group and negative for the other, and often mixed blessings. The check is often left to vulnerable groups such as the poor, landless, women, children, elderly and the disabled.
Tourism for community development is not a simple trickle down process, it requires careful planning, to avoid dependency and over-tourism, balancing the interests of People, Planet and Profit. It should be inclusive, respecting all, protecting Human and Community Rights, strengthening community organizations and offering them informed participation.
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