Tourism is a collection of activities, services, and industries that deliver a travel experience including transportation, accommodation, eating and drinking, establishments, retail shops, entertainment businesses, activities, and other hospitality services provided to individuals travelling away from home. Tourists are people who travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for more than twenty-four hours and not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other activities remunerated from within the place visited.
Lea (1988, P. 240) argues that, part from entertaining tourists, tourism has a number of advantages and disadvantages to the most common tourist areas. However, this essay discusses the advantages tourism brings to these areas. People working in the tourism sector have an advantage in that one gets to meet many new people from different parts of the world or country, which enhances social interaction, and creation of links with them.
Another advantage is that tourism enhances foreign exchange where goods and services that are not available in this areas. Consequently, it creates an opportunity to market commodities from these areas in the regional and foreign markets. It also results to development and improvement of facilities and services, which is beneficial to the local people and the country at large Jafari (2003, P.667).
Moreover, tourism encourages the preservation and celebration of local festivals and cultural activities. When a local community, for instance, organizes a cultural dance to entertain visitors it ensures that such cultural activities will be sustained in the end. This is because it will attract tourist who are interested in cultural activities of different communities and the locals on the other hand will continue practicing them to attract the tourists and in turn benefit from their visit Sears (1989, P. 580).
In addition, tourism encourages the learning of new languages and skills. As tourists come around, they learn the local language as they interact with the locals, so do the people of this area learn the visitors' language. This promotes cultural exchange in a way. Both the tourist and the locals learn different languages that enhance communication between them and in turn better understanding Murphy (1988, P.206).
Tourism also provides direct employment to the people who work in various tourism attractions. Tourism relies on hotels, bars, curio shops, and shops. Therefore, people who are employed to run this spots benefit from employment. This translates to a considerable increase in the living standards of the people and a reduction in the rate of unemployment.
It is understood that as the government works hard to promote tourism in a given area, it ensures that there is environmental protection such as prohibition of deforestation as forests in a particular area could serve as tourist site. Forests, water catchment areas, caves and other natural antiquities therefore need to be protected. This means that as the government provides resources to take care of these places, the locals also benefit.
Getz (1991, P.387) concludes, tourism happens to have more advantages than the disadvantages and hence should be encouraged, both the tourists and the locals should be encouraged to be of benefit to each other and try to reduce the mishappenings that might result from tourism and both parties benefit from each other. However, in some areas, the locals consider a visit by a foreigner as intrusion and often see them with suspicion. It its therefore necessary that such people be made aware that the tourists are up to no other interests and in the long run benefits from tourism accrue to the either directly or indirectly.