Jun 30, 2017

Tourism matters

Learn about the economic impact of tourism and an innovative approach to tourism - Investours.

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GOOD Travel is founded on social, environmental and economic principles. This article focuses on the economic impact of tourism and provides tips on how to spend your tourist dollars to ensure the local economy benefits. Make sure you read to the end to learn about an innovative new approach of using tourism to support microfinance initiatives.

The idea for GOOD Travel was born in a restaurant called Yanapay in Cusco, Peru. The restaurant was set up as a social enterprise to generate income for a local community centre and provide employment to graduates from the centre. As I enjoyed some pisco sours and delicious Peruvian food at Yanapay, I also felt a strong sense of well-being knowing that my money was making a difference.

This was my first direct experience of the potential for tourism to be a force for GOOD. Once we started looking into the statistics, things became even clearer. If we could enable and empower travellers to spend their tourism dollars in ways that made a positive contribution to the places they visited, we could have a huge impact. Hello GOOD Travel!

If we could enable and empower travellers to spend their tourism dollars in ways that made a positive contribution to the places they visited, we could have a huge impact. Hello GOOD Travel!

Why tourism dollars matter

Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. The business volume of tourism equals or surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles. Tourism is also one of the main income sources for many developing countries, including small island developing states. In the Bahamas for example, an estimated 30% of the population are employed directly through tourism and tourism contributes 64% of the country’s exports.

But the economic benefits of tourism do not always reach those most in need of income. This is particularly the case with mass tourism and all-inclusive foreign-owned resorts. For example, one study of tourism 'leakage' in Thailand estimated that 70% of all money spent by tourists ended up leaving Thailand via foreign-owned tour operators, airlines, hotels, imported drinks and food, etc.

Top tips for ensuring your dollars have a positive impact

So as a traveler what can you do ensure the places you visit benefit from your visit? Here are our top five tips.

  1. Avoid all-inclusive resorts - or make sure you venture outside the gates

Where possible, we recommend seeking out community-based tourism initiatives, which are locally owned and managed. If you love a bit of luxury, don’t panic! There are some amazing resorts out there that have been developed to ensure the economic benefits of tourism are spread as widely as possible throughout the local community. 

The all-inclusive, particularly in the Caribbean, is a model that prevents other forms of tourism from flourishing because nobody is leaving the resort. People are flying in, going to the resort, not leaving, and then flying back out. ~ Mark Watson, Tourism Concern.
  1. Stay local, eat local, travel local

By staying in locally-owned accommodation and eating in local restaurants, you’ll have a far more enriching experience while also ensuring your dollars stay in the country you’re visiting. We also recommend finding a local tour guide who can help you understand the local culture and discover local favourites not listed in your guidebook.

  1. Get off the beaten track

Popular tourist centres result in the economic benefits of tourism being centralised within those destinations. These tourist hot spots also often attract large multinationals or foreign-owned chains. Take time to get off the beaten track to discover community-based tourism initiatives and have unique experiences that you’ll never be able to have within a large hotel. Travelling outside of the tourism high season can also be a great way to support the local economy and have a more authentic experience.

Take time to get off the beaten track to discover community-based tourism initiatives and have unique experiences that you’ll never be able to have within a large hotel. 
  1. Seek out social enterprises

Yanapay restaurant where the idea for GOOD Travel started is one of many social enterprises in the world that uses tourism to generate an income for a good cause. Our feature business below provides another innovative example of how tourism can be used to directly support local people.

  1. Ask questions

One of the most powerful actions we can take as consumers is to ask questions about the things we care about. If you’ve found a beautiful resort, take the time to email them a few questions before you book. Are they locally owned? What percentage of their employees are from the local community, region or country? What about employees in management/decision-making positions? Do they buy their produce, supplies etc. locally?

One of the most powerful actions we can take as consumers is to ask questions about the things we care about.

And of course, remember that GOOD Travel is just an email away. You are welcome to contact us any time if you’d like us to link you to GOOD businesses around the world, ranging from luxury resorts to fair-trade shops.

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GOOD Travel blog author

Eliza Raymond

Eliza is one of the co-founders of GOOD Travel. She has travelled extensively to work with grassroots community organisations and tourism providers. Eliza has found her second home in Peru.

GOOD Travel is founded on social, environmental and economic principles. This article focuses on the economic impact of tourism and provides tips on how to spend your tourist dollars to ensure the local economy benefits. Make sure you read to the end to learn about an innovative new approach of using tourism to support microfinance initiatives.

The idea for GOOD Travel was born in a restaurant called Yanapay in Cusco, Peru. The restaurant was set up as a social enterprise to generate income for a local community centre and provide employment to graduates from the centre. As I enjoyed some pisco sours and delicious Peruvian food at Yanapay, I also felt a strong sense of well-being knowing that my money was making a difference.

This was my first direct experience of the potential for tourism to be a force for GOOD. Once we started looking into the statistics, things became even clearer. If we could enable and empower travellers to spend their tourism dollars in ways that made a positive contribution to the places they visited, we could have a huge impact. Hello GOOD Travel!

If we could enable and empower travellers to spend their tourism dollars in ways that made a positive contribution to the places they visited, we could have a huge impact. Hello GOOD Travel!

Why tourism dollars matter

Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. The business volume of tourism equals or surpasses that of oil exports, ‎food products or automobiles. Tourism is also one of the main income sources for many developing countries, including small island developing states. In the Bahamas for example, an estimated 30% of the population are employed directly through tourism and tourism contributes 64% of the country’s exports.

But the economic benefits of tourism do not always reach those most in need of income. This is particularly the case with mass tourism and all-inclusive foreign-owned resorts. For example, one study of tourism 'leakage' in Thailand estimated that 70% of all money spent by tourists ended up leaving Thailand via foreign-owned tour operators, airlines, hotels, imported drinks and food, etc.

Top tips for ensuring your dollars have a positive impact

So as a traveler what can you do ensure the places you visit benefit from your visit? Here are our top five tips.

  1. Avoid all-inclusive resorts - or make sure you venture outside the gates

Where possible, we recommend seeking out community-based tourism initiatives, which are locally owned and managed. If you love a bit of luxury, don’t panic! There are some amazing resorts out there that have been developed to ensure the economic benefits of tourism are spread as widely as possible throughout the local community. 

The all-inclusive, particularly in the Caribbean, is a model that prevents other forms of tourism from flourishing because nobody is leaving the resort. People are flying in, going to the resort, not leaving, and then flying back out. ~ Mark Watson, Tourism Concern.
  1. Stay local, eat local, travel local

By staying in locally-owned accommodation and eating in local restaurants, you’ll have a far more enriching experience while also ensuring your dollars stay in the country you’re visiting. We also recommend finding a local tour guide who can help you understand the local culture and discover local favourites not listed in your guidebook.

  1. Get off the beaten track

Popular tourist centres result in the economic benefits of tourism being centralised within those destinations. These tourist hot spots also often attract large multinationals or foreign-owned chains. Take time to get off the beaten track to discover community-based tourism initiatives and have unique experiences that you’ll never be able to have within a large hotel. Travelling outside of the tourism high season can also be a great way to support the local economy and have a more authentic experience.

Take time to get off the beaten track to discover community-based tourism initiatives and have unique experiences that you’ll never be able to have within a large hotel. 
  1. Seek out social enterprises

Yanapay restaurant where the idea for GOOD Travel started is one of many social enterprises in the world that uses tourism to generate an income for a good cause. Our feature business below provides another innovative example of how tourism can be used to directly support local people.

  1. Ask questions

One of the most powerful actions we can take as consumers is to ask questions about the things we care about. If you’ve found a beautiful resort, take the time to email them a few questions before you book. Are they locally owned? What percentage of their employees are from the local community, region or country? What about employees in management/decision-making positions? Do they buy their produce, supplies etc. locally?

One of the most powerful actions we can take as consumers is to ask questions about the things we care about.

And of course, remember that GOOD Travel is just an email away. You are welcome to contact us any time if you’d like us to link you to GOOD businesses around the world, ranging from luxury resorts to fair-trade shops.

MORE BLOGS

Eliza Raymond

Eliza is one of the co-founders of GOOD Travel. She has travelled extensively to work with grassroots community organisations and tourism providers. Eliza has found her second home in Peru.

Recent Posts

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