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disadvantages of the tourism industry

What's the problem with overtourism?

With visitor numbers around the world increasing towards pre-pandemic levels, the issue of overtourism is once again rearing its head.

When locals in the charming Austrian lakeside village of Hallstatt staged a blockade of the main access tunnel, brandishing placards asking visitors to ‘think of the children’, it highlighted what can happen when places start to feel overrun by tourists. Hallstatt has just 800 residents but has opened its doors to around 10,000 visitors a day — a population increase of over 1,000%. And it’s just one of a growing number of places where residents are up in arms at the influx of travellers.

The term ‘overtourism’ is relatively new, having been coined over a decade ago to highlight the spiralling numbers of visitors taking a toll on cities, landmarks and landscapes. As tourist numbers worldwide return towards pre-pandemic levels, the debate around what constitutes ‘too many’ visitors continues. While many destinations, reliant on the income that tourism brings, are still keen for arrivals, a handful of major cities and sites are now imposing bans, fines, taxes and time-slot systems, and, in some cases, even launching campaigns of discouragement in a bid to curb tourist numbers.

What is overtourism?

In essence, overtourism is too many people in one place at any given time. While there isn’t a definitive figure stipulating the number of visitors allowed, an accumulation of economic, social and environmental factors determine if and how numbers are creeping up.

There are the wide-reaching effects, such as climate change. Coral reefs, like the Great Barrier Reef and Maya Bay, Thailand, made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach , are being degraded from visitors snorkelling, diving and touching the corals, as well as tour boats anchoring in the waters. And 2030 transport-related carbon emissions from tourism are expected to grow 25% from 2016 levels, representing an increase from 5% to 5.3% of all man-made emissions, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). More localised issues are affecting locals, too. Renters are being evicted by landlords in favour of turning properties into holiday lets, and house prices are escalating as a result. As visitors and rental properties outnumber local residents, communities are being lost. And, skyrocketing prices, excessive queues, crowded beaches, exorbitant noise levels, damage at historical sites and the ramifications to nature as people overwhelm or stray from official paths are also reasons the positives of tourism can have a negative impact.

Conversely, ‘undertourism’ is a term applied to less-frequented destinations, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. The economic, social and environmental benefits of tourism aren't always passed on to those with plenty of capacity and, while tourist boards are always keen for visitors to visit their lesser-known attractions, it’s a more sustainable and rewarding experience for both residents and visitors.

disadvantages of the tourism industry

What’s the main problem with it?

Overcrowding is an issue for both locals and tourists. It can ruin the experience of sightseeing for those trapped in long queues, unable to visit museums, galleries and sites without advance booking, incurring escalating costs for basics like food, drink and hotels, and faced with the inability to experience the wonder of a place in relative solitude. The absence of any real regulations has seen places take it upon themselves to try and establish some form of crowd control, meaning no cohesion and no real solution.

Justin Francis, co-founder and CEO of Responsible Travel, a tour operator that focuses on more sustainable travel, says “Social media has concentrated tourism in hotspots and exacerbated the problem, and tourist numbers globally are increasing while destinations have a finite capacity. Until local people are properly consulted about what they want and don’t want from tourism, we’ll see more protests.”

A French start up, Murmuration, which monitors the environmental impact of tourism by using satellite data, states that 80% of travellers visit just 10% of the world's tourism destinations, meaning bigger crowds in fewer spots. And, the UNWTO predicts that by 2030, the number of worldwide tourists, which peaked at 1.5 billion in 2019, will reach 1.8 billion,   likely leading to greater pressure on already popular spots and more objection from locals.

Who has been protesting?

Of the 800 residents in the UNESCO-listed village of Hallstatt, around 100 turned out in August to show their displeasure and to push for a cap on daily visitors and a curfew on tour coach arrivals.

Elsewhere, residents in Venice fought long and hard for a ban on cruise ships, with protest flags often draped from windows. In 2021, large cruise ships over 25,000 tonnes were banned from using the main Giudecca Canal, leaving only smaller passenger ferries and freight vessels able to dock.

In France, the Marseille Provence Cruise Club introduced a flow management system for cruise line passengers in 2020, easing congestion around the popular Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica. A Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) spokesperson said, “Coaches are limited to four per ship during the morning or afternoon at the Basilica to ensure a good visitor experience and safety for residents and local businesses. This is a voluntary arrangement respected by cruise lines.”

While in Orkney, Scotland, residents have been up in arms at the number of cruise ships docking on its shores. At the beginning of 2023, the local council confirmed that 214 cruise ship calls were scheduled for the year, bringing around £15 million in revenue to the islands. Following backlash from locals, the council has since proposed a plan to restrict the number of ships on any day.

disadvantages of the tourism industry

What steps are being taken?  

City taxes have become increasingly popular, with Barcelona increasing its nightly levy in April 2023 — which was originally introduced in 2012 and varies depending on the type of accommodation — and Venice expects to charge day-trippers a €5 fee from 2024.

In Amsterdam this summer, the city council voted to ban cruise ships, while the mayor, Femke Halsema, commissioned a campaign of discouragement, asking young British men who planned to have a 'vacation from morals’ to stay away. In Rome, sitting at popular sites, such as the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, has been restricted by the authorities.

And in Kenya’s Maasai Mara, meanwhile, the Narok County governor has introduced on-the-spot fines for off-roading. He also plans to double nightly park fees in peak season.

What are the forecasts for global tourism?  

During the Covid pandemic, tourism was one of the hardest-hit industries — according to UNWTO, international tourist arrivals dropped 72% in 2020. However, traveller numbers have since been rapidly increasing, with double the number of people venturing abroad in the first three months of 2023 than in the same period in 2022. And, according to the World Travel Tourism Council, the tourism sector is expected to reach £7.5 trillion this year, 95% of its pre-pandemic levels.

While the tourism industry is forecast to represent 11.6% of the global economy by 2033, it’s also predicted that an increasing number of people will show more interest in travelling more sustainably. In a 2022 survey by, 64% of the people asked said they would be prepared to stay away from busy tourist sites to avoid adding to congestion.

Are there any solutions?  

There are ways to better manage tourism by promoting more off-season travel, limiting numbers where possible and having greater regulation within the industry. Encouraging more sustainable travel and finding solutions to reduce friction between residents and tourists could also have positive impacts. Promoting alternative, less-visited spots to redirect travellers may also offer some benefits.

Harold Goodwin, emeritus professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, says, “Overtourism is a function of visitor volumes, but also of conflicting behaviours, crowding in inappropriate places and privacy. Social anthropologists talk about frontstage and backstage spaces. Tourists are rarely welcome in backstage spaces. To manage crowds, it’s first necessary to analyse and determine the causes of them.

Francis adds: “However, we must be careful not to just recreate the same problems elsewhere. The most important thing is to form a clear strategy, in consultation with local people about what a place wants or needs from tourism.”

As it stands, overtourism is a seasonal issue for a small number of destinations. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, a range of measures are clearly an option depending on the scale of the problem. For the majority of the world, tourism remains a force for good with many benefits beyond simple economic growth.

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The Pros and Cons of Tourism

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The tourism industry is one of the most lucrative and essential industries for the global economy since it can provide revenue almost year-round. It allows people to spend time in places they want to explore and enjoy. Every year, people from all over the world visit destinations like Paris, Hawaii, Mexico and Japan to experience a new culture through food, sightseeing and adventures. 

Tourism provides thousands of jobs each year and allows people to explore the world at their leisure. It’s excellent for both the people touring an area themselves for happiness and well-being, and it’s great for the country’s population as a whole. 

However, the disadvantages of tourism should be addressed, especially concerning the environment. Tourism industries in some countries often ignore these cons because they want to continue providing revenue for the peoples’ livelihoods. It’s easy to overlook the negative aspects when tourism has brought enormous wealth to developing countries. 

If developing nations only rely on tourism and dismiss other aspects, like the environment, society and infrastructure development, the cons can quickly outweigh the pros. Fortunately, there are ways to be sustainable in the tourism industry. Here are the pros and cons of tourism. 

The Pros of Tourism

From stimulating job growth to bridging cultural divides, tourism has many benefits for people, the economy and the environment. Below are five advantages of tourism. 

1. Creates Jobs

One of the most significant benefits of tourism is creating jobs for people who may have previously been unemployed. Tourism accounts for about 10% of employment worldwide , whether directly or indirectly. 

The tourism industry encompasses retailers, restaurant workers, transportation industries, entertainment facilities and hospitality workers. It can even include medical workers as some people travel for cosmetic surgery or medical advice and medications. This leads to the reduction of unemployment in many countries, which reduces the burden on the government.

2. Develops Countries

As more people get jobs in developing countries, they can further progress. The government can get the funds needed to advance their nation. The tourism industry offers more security and financial stability. Plus, the government can carry out various infrastructure projects to continue its progression by building roads, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and entertainment businesses to allow more people to stay, generating more jobs and wealth. 

3. Conserves the Environment

Some of the primary attractions in countries are the historical sights and beautiful landscapes. Often, countries try to conserve these sights and attractions to continue bringing in more tourists. Governments and private entities often use tourism money to maintain historical sight and protect the environment.  

4. Broadens Knowledge and Appreciation of Nature

An airboat ride through the Florida Everglades delivers more than the perfect photo opportunity. Airboat captains share stories about the river’s history, wildlife facts, environmental issues plaguing the ecosystem, and how the average person can make a difference. Travel experiences like this are crucial for broadening one’s knowledge and deepening their appreciation for the natural world. The hope is for tourists to impart their knowledge to someone else and spark an interest in conservation and sustainable habits.

5. Encourages Culture-Learning

Finally, tourism encourages the learning of different cultures. It helps to create a sense of unity among people from various cultures and countries. Tourism encourages people of all backgrounds to visit a particular place, so tourist destinations become a melting pot of other cultures. People can begin to understand one another and may even make friends with people from other countries. 

The Cons of Tourism

While welcoming visitors to explore a particular area has benefits — especially within the eco-tourism subsector — it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Unfortunately, there are some cons of tourism that often get overlooked, such as the following.

1. Damages the Environment

Although countries do their best to conserve the environment, including animals, plants and natural scenes, tourists can still be disrespectful. As people flock to one place, waste and pollution accumulate. Sometimes, tours offer animal experiences as well, which put animals through suffering. Further, land is needed to accommodate tourists, so countries will destroy habitats to build hotels and restaurants. 

2. Puts Pressure on Natural Resources

Another con of the tourism industry is that it puts an immense amount of pressure on natural resources. Anytime someone stays in an area, they inevitably use the area’s natural resources , like water and food. Cities and countries around the world have faced droughts. Additionally, tourism puts stress on the local land use, leading to soil erosion which can cause damage to infrastructure. 

3. Strains Infrastructure

Too many tourists in one location can significantly strain infrastructure, including roadways, water resources and waste disposal. For instance, nearly 30 million tourists visit Venice, Italy, annually, crowding narrow canals and limited roadways. In the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda is among the most frequently vacationed and water-stressed countries, with under 1000 cubic meter of freshwater resources per capita. Without a municipal wastewater treatment center, most households rely on poorly built septic tanks.

4. Encourages Dependence on Tourism

It’s not a good thing to be solely dependent on tourism. Regions known for their tourist destinations learned that lesson once COVID-19 spread throughout the world. When people could no longer travel, the tourism industry in countries that depended on it had a more difficult time recovering and getting the necessary resources that locals needed to survive. Without tourists, those countries would receive no more income, which affects the entire country.

5. Leads to Loss of Cultural Identity

Often, locals in a tourist destination will begin copying the lifestyles of tourists and leave their local and cultural traditions behind. Instead of shops filled with daily necessities for the locals, they are filled with things tourists need, like travel-sized toiletries and souvenirs. Fast-food chains have taken over local cuisine as well. And unfortunately, tourism has led to a growth in prostitution and human trafficking. 

Making Tourism a More Sustainable Industry

Tourism is a necessary part of the economy, but the adverse effects often go unnoticed. Fortunately, there are ways to make it a more sustainable industry. Tourists should support the local economy, avoid single-use plastics, take more eco-friendly modes of transportation and avoid all of the traditional “tourist” excursions. The next time you travel, make sustainability a priority.

This post was last updated on April 9, 2024 to provide more current information.

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The Disadvantages of Tourism – What Happens When Travel is not Sustainable

This post will highlight some of the common disadvantages of tourism, and the negative impacts it can have on destinations when it is not managed in a sustainable way.

Disadvantages of Tourism

Table of Contents

The problem with tourism

In 2019 (pre-COVID), international tourist arrivals grew to 1.5 billion and the industry generated 1.4 trillion USD dollars of tourism receipts ( UNWTO ). It was the tenth straight year of growth, with arrivals continuing to increase each year. The receipts from tourism were even growing at a faster rate than global GDP! Ten years of rapid growth, and in many destinations, limited restriction or control on that growth has left tourism causing some pretty serious damage to the destinations it occurs in. It is only in recent years that sustainable tourism has really become a serious priority for destinations and operators around the world. In many cases, it has been out of necessity, in an attempt to resolve the issues unsustainable tourism has caused over the years.

Now, I love to travel. And this list is by no means designed to try to make anyone stop travelling (COVID has already done that for us…). But I think it is really important as travellers to be aware of the issues we are contributing to. Either directly or indirectly. The negative impacts of tourism are usually classified into three different areas, economic, social and environmental. In this post, I will share four negative impacts tourism can have in each of these areas. This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are (unfortunately) many other disadvantages of tourism. But the idea of this post is to highlight the problems with unsustainable tourism.

Economic disadvantages of tourism

It might seem hard to believe that there can be economic disadvantages of tourism when it produces so much revenue. But the economic side of tourism is more than just profits. And unsustainable tourism driven by profits only can have dire consequences for the destinations it occurs in.

Over reliance on tourism

Countries can become over-reliant on tourism, with a large portion of their economy and GDP coming from tourism. The situation the world finds itself in now with COVID could not be a better illustrator of the damages of being over-reliant on tourism, a very volatile industry. But even before a global pandemic, this was still an issue. Tourist’s destination preferences change easily, and it doesn’t take much to sway them away from a particular destination. Relying on tourist’s to come back to the same place year after year is risky. Events such as natural disasters, terrorism, health concerns or even just a change in trend can leave countries that were thriving on tourism empty.

disadvantages of tourism neon sign street cambodia

Low quality employment

It’s true that tourism generates employment for many. But often these jobs are low paying and seasonal. With employees completing menial tasks with little room for progression or career advancement. It’s not uncommon for establishments like resorts to hire international staff for senior, managerial roles. Usually from more economically developed countries. This leaves local workers stuck in low-level roles, paid peanuts and not guaranteed year-round work.

Tourism dollars leaking out of local economies

A major economic issue with the tourism industry is that of leakage. You can read about this issue in more detail here. But basically, leakage is when a portion of tourism income does not stay in the destination where the tourists visited. Money ‘leaks’ out to more developed countries. This usually occurs through international companies such as airlines and resorts taking their profits back to their headquartering countries. And the local destination and community do not get the economic benefits of the tourists that have visited.

disadvantages of tourism hotel bed

Favoured over other industries

In countries where tourism is a major industry sector, the government can sometimes focus all their energy and funds on the industry. This is often at the peril of other important industries like education, infrastructure and healthcare. This can result in pristine tourist areas, new infrastructure and funding for the benefit of visitors. But what about the locals who live in the country? They might not enjoy anywhere near the same level of development.

Social disadvantages of tourism

The impacts of tourism on society and culture are often contested and deeply complicated. Tourism is just one of many forces that can impact on and change cultures, like globalisation, technology and the media. But there is no denying that tourism and culture and society are inseparable. And there are some major disadvantages of tourism in this area.

The commodification of culture

This is one of the most complex, morally challenging and difficult parts of tourism. It warrants an entire discussion of its own, but in short, tourism can turn culture into a commodity. When traditional culture becomes an attraction, that people pay to see, this raises complicated ethical issues. Often times the culture that is presented to tourists has been adapted to be more appealing to the visitor. Traditional dances and costumes are amended, ceremonies or rituals are shortened, and handicrafts are often made smaller or lighter to fit in suitcases. Only certain elements of a culture are deemed worthy of presenting to tourists. And usually, there is a whole host of problems behind closed doors that tourists are never exposed to or aware of. The culture of a destination as seen through the tourists’ eyes is not authentic at all.

Erosion of culture

This issue is different to the previous issue in that culture can not only be commodified but in many cases lost altogether as a result of tourism. The ‘demonstration effect’ occurs when locals, particularly in traditional or indigenous cultures, observe the behaviours of visitors, usually Western tourists. Exposing the locals to a completely different way of life can lead to changes in their local culture, particularly from younger members of the community. They can begin to mimic and replicate the cultures of the tourists who visit and move away from the customs and traditions of their own culture.

Monks on street in Luang Prabang Laos

Tourists behaving badly

When people are on holiday they tend to leave their moral compass at home. They are relaxing, want to have a good time, and outside of their usual environment. This can lead to major clashes between tourists and locals, and leave the locals wishing the tourists had never arrived. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, tourists can offend locals and make them uncomfortable in their own homes. Dressing inappropriately, not being aware of culturally unacceptable behaviours and general bad behaviour through the use of alcohol and drugs are just some of the bad behaviours tourists bring to a destination.

Physical damage to built culture and heritage

The Colosseum, Petra, Angkor Wat, the Great Wall of China. Some of the biggest tourist attractions in the world are ancient, historical sites, built centuries ago by different civilisations. These physical representations of ancient cultures are old and fragile. And having thousands, sometimes millions, of tourists tramp through them each year places a lot of strain on the structures and can cause irreparable damage. Not all damage is deliberate on the part of the tourists, but simply having people walk over old stones, touch rock walls and lean on sites can cause irreversible erosion and damage. However many sites are suffering from the deliberate actions of tourists. Littering, graffitiing, taking pieces of the site home with them and climbing on off-limits structures.

Ancient city of Petra in rock

Environmental disadvantages of tourism

The negative impacts of tourism on the environment are often the most publicised and talked about. They are easier for us to physically see and quantify, so it can be easier to talk about them. But the impacts that tourism can have on the environment are very complex and can be both direct and indirect. The environment is a complicated web of ecosystems, and one small action can have rippling effects throughout an entire area or species. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the negative things tourism can do to our environment. But some of the issues listed are a bit easier to quantify, where tourism has a direct impact.

Intense use of resources

Tourists, like all people, use resources such as water and energy. However many popular tourist destinations around the world are already dealing with resource scarcities, and tourism can severely exacerbate the problem. Tourism as an industry is a massive overuser of water. Swimming pools and golf courses require a lot of water, and I can’t think of something more synonymous with a holiday than a swimming pool. Tourists themselves tend to use more water than when they are at home, and doing their laundry can consume a lot of water and energy. Cooling and/or heating large hotels and resort complexes and their swimming pools also require a lot of electricity.

disadvantages of tourism hotel pool over ocean

Physical damage to natural and marine areas

Tourism takes place in some of the most pristine, yet fragile natural areas in the world. Hiking in the rainforest, snorkelling in coral reefs and climbing alpine mountains are just some of the many activities that can physically impact and damage the natural environment. Vegetation can be damaged having tourists continually trampling over the same paths (and often going off the path too). Corals are damaged by boats and anchors, and tourists (accidentally or not) touching and breaking them. This damage has major flow-on effects on the wider ecosystems and can indirectly impact entire ecosystems and species.

Sally snorkelling underwater

Increased waste, pollution and emissions

From rubbish to sewerage, carbon emissions from transport carriers and water pollution – tourism produces a lot of unwanted waste. In many lesser developed countries around the world, tourism has come on quicker than their local infrastructure can handle, and disposing of the increased waste tourists bring has proven troublesome. Sewerage can end up in local rivers and lakes, and rubbish can be burnt or end up in the ocean. And transporting tourists from point A to B, by planes, in particular, releases a ton of carbon emissions into our atmosphere.

Land use and infrastructure development

Tourists need places to stay, airports for planes to land in and ports for boats to depart from. Natural areas are often cleared to make way for this construction, displacing animals and destroying forests or wetlands. A lot of tourism occurs in coastal areas, and building hotels and resorts right along the coastline can have major impacts on the ocean and surrounding reefs due to erosion and sand runoff. The same goes for constructing marinas and ports, where sand mining and dredging can have disastrous consequences for marine ecosystems.

disadvantages of tourism beach front villa with palm trees

The disadvantages of tourism: Conclusion

As I mentioned previously, this list is by no means exhaustive and unfortunately there is a range of other disadvantages of tourism. The problems tourism can cause in destinations around the world are complicated and entangled with other deep societal issues such as development, globalisation and colonialism. The purpose of sharing these negative impacts was to highlight that tourism is not a perfect industry. And as travellers, we should be aware of the damage that we can contribute to when we travel. But it’s not all bad news! Tourism, when managed sustainably, has the opportunity to contribute to positive change for our planet. And there are countless examples of the positive impacts of tourism!

What do you think? Have you experienced some of these disadvantages of tourism first hand? Can you think of any other negative impacts tourism can have on the economy, culture and environment? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

disadvantages of tourism

Sally Rodrick

Sally Rodrick is the voice behind Sally Sees. She has spent 12 months travelling in Mexico and Central America, and has her sights firmly set on South America. Sally helps thousands of readers discover the magic of Latin America. Sharing detailed guides to inspire and equip them with the knowledge they need to plan their own epic adventures in this incredible part of the world.

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The comments.

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It’s nice as you have studied and observed tourists and tourism from the very near…’s fantastic. but the thing is that, tourism must go strictly and very sincerely with modern technological facilities keeping in mind about our extremely valuable resources security and conservation.

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Thankyou for your comment. I agree, for tourism to be beneficial for all parties involved, and the environment it has to be managed carefully with strict limitations in place to protect resources.

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Thanks for simplifying it for me

My pleasure, I hope it was helpful 🙂

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Hi Sally, I enjoy your travel blogs very much and appreciate the way you approach your travel experiences. They have been particularly helpful as I am planning a road trip to BCS.

Regarding the negative side of travel, it is much like the negative side of modern life in general. Our collective efforts and our individual choices can have an impact, however it is governments and large corporations who cause the most damage and reap the most profits from industry and development, and also have all the power to either continue down a path of environmental and cultural destruction or make crucial policy changes to preserve our world. Unfortunately, preservation isn’t lucrative but exploitation is. That’s why our environmental crisis is worsening, not improving, no matter how many reusable straws people are buying.

While I firmly believe that as individuals and consumers we must make conscious choices and also “vote with our dollars”, I find it frustrating that we as a collective society of caring individuals have fallen for the greatest psychological trick of industry: that it’s up to us, the consumer, to make sure our world doesn’t get destroyed, while governments and industries continue to knowingly create mass scale destruction, pollution, waste and overdevelopment.

This same problem applies to most areas of modern life, not just travel, and frankly it is extremely distressing. As someone who is very conscious of the dangerous effects of modern consumerism, I am often extremely troubled and sometimes paralyzed by it. So for me it becomes important to live with balance in this regard. I will always live consciously, but I need to be careful not to feel the enormous and distressing weight of these problems squarely on my shoulders alone. Ultimately, industry and government need to be held accountable more so than individuals. Plus, not all individuals are on board with these efforts. Many plainly do not care. Those individuals who contribute most to environmental and cultural destruction aren’t the ones who will be reading blogs like this, or refraining from purchasing multiple homes, or living beyond their share of resources. They don’t care and never will. We need our leadership to change and to lead us all into conservation and preservation.

Certainly we as caring citizens of the planet should live consciously but our small efforts are no match for the unbridled and unregulated industries that are the true source of our worlds demise.

I certainly appreciate the message you are putting forth here and everything you point out is absolutely accurate, but I fear the ones who need to hear it the most won’t be the ones this message will reach.

Thank you for being a conscious and caring citizen of the planet and thank you for your lovely and helpful blogs. Best wishes and happy trails.

Hi Marissa,

Thankyou for your insightful comment. I couldn’t have said it better myself and completely share your sentiment on the situation of our planet.

To be perfectly honest, I try not to think too much about what our governments and large corporations are doing to our earth. It often feels to overwhelming to even comprehend, when it is so far out of our control.

You are completely right in saying that they are the ones that are really doing the damage, and the only ones that have the potential for real change. But for that to happen profit must be sacrificed, and planet must come first. There are small hints of this happening in some places around the world, and I think countries with large tourism industry are amongst some of the first to say no to profitable industries that are detrimental to the environment. Finally they can see the long term condition of the environment is more valuable than a quick financial win in a destructive industry. A pristine environment with rich biodiversity will be worth financially more to tourists in the long term, so there is incentive to keep it that way.

That’s why I think travel can be so powerful. Sure, travelling produces emissions and has its own set of challenges for our environment. But as you say, modern living in any context, at home or while travelling, is damaging by its very nature. I believe pros of travel can outweigh the cons if done right.

It’s a very tough line between knowing that really, as individuals, we have very little power to make meaningful change. But if we swing too far in the opposite direction it turns into an attitude of not even bothering at all. Little steps can have little impacts, and whilst it won’t solve the enormous problems our earth is facing – it can’t hurt to do the right thing where and when we can.

Keep exploring our beautiful world, and take on board the issues you can solve. All the best, Sally x

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Sinadi Aanya

This is grate I got a lot of information thank u so much 🙏🏻☺️

I’m so glad it was helpful Sinadi! All the best, Sally

The Borgen Project

Tourism: The Advantages, Disadvantages and How to Properly Travel

Tourism, the advantages, disadvantages and how to improve the practice

The Advantages

For developing countries, the advantages of tourism tend to be primarily monetary. A large scale tourism industry prevents larger, more harmful businesses from working off the land. Small tourist companies that reign on the land stops large capitalistic corporations from polluting the air or gentrifying people’s homes.

The tourism industry encompasses many different travel areas, which allows the majority of a country’s population to be employed . These employment places include hotels, car rental agencies, restaurants, tour companies, souvenir shops, and equipment shops, among others.

Profit earned from tourism can be reinvested into the country for better infrastructure, education, funding conservation efforts and creating more responsible ways of touring. Without tourism, many countries would not have the same level of access to education and infrastructure. Moreover, tourism allows hosts and visitors to share cultures and meet diverse groups of people. Through respectful interactions, a broader view of the world from both parties can be achieved. By reinvesting the money earned back into the country, tourism and its attractions can grow, creating a positive cycle for the country.

The Disadvantages

With the way the tourism industry is currently run, the disadvantages of tourism may greatly outweigh the advantages in a country. The first factor to take into consideration is environmental damage. When a country has a high tourist attraction, the number of people occupying a space increases immensely. As a result, the release of carbon monoxide gases can increase due to plane and car use affecting the country’s environment. Many countries with ancient ruins or natural attractions are also in danger of destruction or erosion with significant foot traffic and human interaction. Additionally, flora and fauna can decrease in areas or change their growth and migration patterns when there is an overflow of humans interact. Foot traffic and continuous touching can also slowly degrade the stability of ancient structures.

One of the advantages breached upon the sharing of cultures. While this is a great interaction of beliefs and customs, it can become destructive to a host country’s culture. One of the ways cultures can be disrespected is through the commercialization of countries’ cultures . When tourism booms, large industries swoop in and sell figures of the cultures’ icons or traditional wear, disrespecting the countries’ indigenous beliefs and can be harmful to the people living there. Moreover, poor behavior from tourists who don’t respect the spoken or unspoken codes of conduct held by indigenous peoples also undermines the sacred beliefs held within the country.

Also, for many countries, tourism is a seasonal occurrence. For people that work in the tourism industry, their jobs are only viable for a certain number of months, and after the season has ended, many are left without income. Many of these jobs also lack the benefits that other sector jobs supply. Tourism workers are often left without insurance or pension. Not to mention, foreign businesses tend to overtake the companies present in these countries, forcing small businesses to shut down. As a result, foreign businesses keep the majority of profits from tourism, while local businesses lose their income. This hurts small businesses and local economies.

As previously stated, the profit gained from tourism is often reinvested into the industry. However, with unequal infrastructure development, the tourism industry can inadvertently sustain itself without aiding a country’s other vital sectors. As such, many countries end up developing tourism hot spots while the rest of the country suffers. In these countries, there are visible socioeconomic gaps between the wealthy and the poor. Focusing mainly on the tourism industry and places of mass attraction leaves disadvantaged communities at risk of financial instability. Moreover, countries solely invested in tourism are vulnerable to quick economic falls as its working sectors are unevenly balanced. If a natural disaster, political unrest or unprecedented pandemic were to strike, the country would lose a massive income, causing an economic recession that some countries may significantly struggle to bounce back from.

Ways to Respectfully Travel

The most important step to being a respectful tourist is to be an educated tourist. Understanding and respecting the culture and the people of the country is vital. By not undermining tourism countries’ culture and beliefs, the people living there will be more welcoming to tourists, and cultures can flourish without fear of commercialization.

Being environmentally conscious is also important to the survival of these countries. Respecting a country’s land and structures preserve the countries’ beauty and keep the land clean and prepped for further development. Many countries are more environmentally strained, so reducing pollution or your carbon footprint in a foreign country can help ease the strain.

Supporting the small and local businesses found in these countries can help keep local communities employed and support the overall economy.  As local businesses grow, more people will have the opportunity to be employed outside of the tourism sector, and the economy will be able to grow within itself.

By learning the advantages and disadvantages of tourism, and how one can improve the practice of traveling, the tourism industry will be able to change for the better and support the countries that host people from all over the world.

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There are over 1.4 billion tourists arriving at their destination every year. That’s 45 arrivals every single second.

Exponential growth of tourism

In 1950 there were 25 million international tourist arrivals, in 1970 the number was 166 million, and by 1990 it had grown to 435 million. From 1990 to 2018 numbers more than tripled reaching 1.442 billion. By 2030, 1.8 billion tourist arrivals are projected.

Negative environmental impacts of tourism

The negative environmental impacts of tourism are substantial. They include the depletion of local natural resources as well as pollution and waste problems. Tourism often puts pressure on natural resources through over-consumption, often in places where resources are already scarce.

Tourism puts enormous stress on local land use, and can lead to soil erosion, increased pollution, natural habitat loss, and more pressure on endangered species. These effects can gradually destroy the environmental resources on which tourism itself depends.

Tourism often leads to overuse of water

An average golf course in a tropical country, for example, uses as much water as 60,000 rural villagers. It also uses 1500 kilos of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides per year.

Tourism and climate change

Tourism contributes to more than 5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with transportation accounting for 90 percent of this.

By 2030, a 25% increase in CO2-emissions from tourism compared to 2016 is expected. From 1,597 million tons to 1,998 million tons.

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What is Tourism and its pros and cons elaborated

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism: A Comprehensive Overview

Tourism is a crucial part of the global economy, contributing significantly to job creation , economic growth, and cultural exchange. However, tourism also has its disadvantages, including environmental degradation, cultural erosion, and the potential for exploitation. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the advantages and disadvantages of tourism.

Advantages of Tourism

  • Economic benefits: One of the most significant advantages of tourism is the economic benefits it provides. Tourism generates income for local businesses and creates job opportunities for people in the host community. It also boosts the local economy by increasing the demand for goods and services.
  • Cultural exchange: Tourism can be an excellent way for people to experience different cultures and ways of life. It promotes understanding and tolerance between different groups and can help to break down cultural barriers.
  • Preservation of heritage sites: Tourism can help to preserve heritage sites by providing the necessary funding and resources for their maintenance and restoration. This, in turn, helps to protect the cultural and historical significance of these sites for future generations.
  • Environmental awareness: Tourism can promote environmental awareness by encouraging tourists to adopt sustainable travel practices. This includes reducing their carbon footprint, conserving natural resources, and minimizing waste.

Disadvantages of Tourism

  • Environmental degradation: Tourism can have a negative impact on the environment , including increased pollution, depletion of natural resources, and destruction of wildlife habitats.
  • Cultural erosion: Tourism can lead to the erosion of traditional cultures and ways of life. This is especially true in areas where tourism is the primary source of income, and local communities are forced to adapt to meet the needs of tourists.
  • Exploitation: Tourism can lead to the exploitation of local communities, particularly in developing countries where labor laws are lax, and workers are not protected. This includes low wages, long working hours, and poor working conditions.
  • Overcrowding: Tourism can lead to overcrowding, particularly in popular tourist destinations. This can result in traffic congestion, longer wait times, and increased noise levels.

Tourism has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is essential to strike a balance between the two. The benefits of tourism can be significant, but we must also be aware of its potential negative impacts. By adopting sustainable travel practices and promoting responsible tourism, we can ensure that tourism remains a positive force for economic development, cultural exchange, and environmental preservation.

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Overtourism Effects: Positive and Negative Impacts for Sustainable Development

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disadvantages of the tourism industry

  • Ivana Damnjanović 7  

Part of the book series: Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals ((ENUNSDG))

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Responsible tourism ; Tourism overcrowding ; Tourism-phobia ; Tourist-phobia


Tourism today is paradoxically dominated by two opposite aspects: its sustainable character and overtourism. Since its creation by Skift in 2016 (Ali 2016 ), the term “overtourism” has been a buzzword in media and academic circles, although it may only be a new word for a problem discussed over the past three decades.

Overtourism is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon destructive to tourism resources and harmful to destination communities’ well-being through overcrowding and overuse (Center for Responsible Travel 2018 ; International Ecotourism Society 2019 ) as certain locations at times cannot withstand physical, ecological, social, economic, psychological, and/or political pressures of tourism (Peeters et al. 2018 ). Overtourism is predominantly a problem producing deteriorated quality of life of local communities (Responsible Tourism n.d. ; The International Ecotourism Society 2019 ; UNWTO 2018...

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Ivana Damnjanović

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Damnjanović, I. (2020). Overtourism Effects: Positive and Negative Impacts for Sustainable Development. In: Leal Filho, W., Azul, A.M., Brandli, L., Lange Salvia, A., Wall, T. (eds) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham.

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The Negative Environmental Impacts of Tourism

disadvantages of the tourism industry

The tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. On a local, national, and international level, tourism is economically and environmentally significant actor that has great power to affect the future development.

Tourism has the capacity to help support communities and instigate positive environmental change when done with the right approach towards the long-term sustainability in regions and complying with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals that range from eradicating hunger, gender equality to addressing climate actions based on the specific regional needs.

We can see the rise of the positive trend in the last years. Ecotourism and sustainable tourism have gained popularity in the industry but there are still many areas where improvements need to be done. If the number of tourists in a given area is greater than the capacity of the local environment or supporting infrastructure (which is the case of many popular destinations), negative impacts quickly arise and can become overwhelming for the system.

As we embark on new adventures in foreign countries it’s important to realize what environmental impacts our presence poses to local ecosystems and resources. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the three negative environmental impacts of tourism are: the depletion of natural resources, pollution and physical degradation of ecosystems. We will look at these more in detail now.

How does tourism affect the environment? The negative environmental impacts of tourism

Tourism sector has great influence over wellbeing of local residents. It is an industry that flourishes in large cities as well as remote rural areas rich in natural wonders. For many distant communities, tourism is the only opportunity of generating sufficient income to sustain their lifestyle and traditions. It can bring lot of good to regions, but also lot of bad – fast degradation, extinction, and depletion, if not done with the long-term planning and preservation in mind.

In some situations, it is difficult to realize this negative influence until its too late. We already have a few negative examples and data to look at to see the degrading tendency.

#1 The depletion of natural resources

The depletion of natural resources is a growing concern especially in places where resources are already scarce. Water, in particular, is considered a critical resource which is greatly misused in the tourism sector.

I. Water overuse

In many popular tourist destinations, water is overused by tourists in hotels, for breathtaking swimming pools and luxurious wellness areas. When on vacation, most travelers tend to use much more water for personal use than at home, resulting in larger quantities of wastewater and creating water shortages which affect local residents.

The high tourism season goes usually against the natural water cycle of an area and doesn’t consider years with insufficient rainfall – a problem that is on the rise due to climate shift. The driest months of the year are the months of peaking demand for water in resorts and areas of a special tourist interest. These places get crowded with people who expect to have unlimited accessibility to clean water supply from local sources.   

This creates many problems for residents in not having enough water for basic daily needs, as groundwater is often redirected and overdrawn by large hotels, resulting in drying wells of small communities, and increasing salinity of the remaining water table from dissolved minerals in the soil. Additionally, many small farmers struggle with not having water to grow crops – especially during drier years when it hasn’t rained for months.

A special report on Water Equity in Tourism from 2012 mentions a sad statistic. Globally, almost 900 million people still lack access to clean water and 2 million people (mostly children) die every year due to the health problems arising from this hindered access. These numbers include people from countries with popular destinations, mainly in the Global South or Mediterranean.

Zanzibar, Bali, India, but even Greece and Spain are suffering of these consequences. In Zanzibar, an average household consumes a little over 93 liters of water per day, while an average consumption per room in a guesthouse is 686 liters. That is 7 times more. But the difference is even bigger when it comes to a luxurious 5-star hotel room. The consumption rises to unbelievable 3,000+ liters of water per day [3] .

Tourism and agriculture compete for water also in Spain. Spain is important producer of vegetables and fruits for the rest of Europe. The intensive agriculture and greenhouse cultivation requires water to keep up with the demand. At the same time, the country is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations with great demand for water despite the fact that the country has been drought stricken for a couple years in a row due to climate change [4] . Both of these important economic sectors are standing against each other in an unsustainable way.

II. Other resources

The tourism industry depends upon consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources that are available at a given location. This includes variety of minerals, metals, and biomass resources. The industry burns higher amounts of fossil fuels and therefore produces greenhouse gases; affects health of fertile soils needed to grow enough food, and hurts whole ecosystems like, for example, forests or biodiverse  wetlands , and this way the impacts reach even the local wildlife. When more recreational facilities are built, natural habitats with their riches are destroyed and animals are driven away into scarce natural areas or conflict with other human projects.

Land resources, such as forests, are affected when trees are used for building materials or collected for fuel. Tourist attractions and accommodations are heavily reliant on energy for heating, provision of hot water and electricity. That is where the energy demand actually follows the same pattern as water consumption.

Imagine a town like Venice. The town has 271 thousand permanent residents [5] but welcomes every year increasing number of tourists. In 2003, 2.75 million tourists visited the town, while in 2019 this number has risen to 5.5 million [6] . Each visitor consumes energy and resources of the town, further contributing to environmental problems linked with the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources.

#2 Overconsumption & Waste production, incl. food waste

What is the most common image of a nice vacation at some beautiful beach town? Good food, drinks at the beach, little refreshments, and attractive sights with a variety of relaxing activities for everyone. When on vacation, most of us want to forget daily responsibilities. This includes meal planning or carrying with us that refillable water bottle or other long-term use items like quality slippers or reusable shopping bags.

When indulging on that new experience, many rely on single-use plastic items that are fast to dispose. In fact, tourists can produce twice that much waste in a day than long term residents. It has been estimated that the marine litter in the Mediterranean increases by up to 40 percent during the peak season [8] .

UNEP estimates that one guest can generate from between 1 to 12 kg of solid waste per day when visiting a new place [9] . The numbers vary based on many factors – location, the type of accommodation, personal preferences, and a character of the stay. Based on the predictions, we would see an increase of 251 percent in solid waste production due to tourism through 2050, if countries do not adopt sustainable practices of addressing product cycle and waste disposal.

Tourists also tend to be more reckless with food. Such behavior contributes to food wasting which is a large problem on its own .

However, waste directly produced by a tourist is not the only waste coming from popular destinations. Large portion of solid waste originates from the background services for tourists – laundries, restaurants, wellness, entertainment and accommodations.

Solid waste and littering can degrade ecosystems and alter the physical appearance of the landscape.  Marine litter harms marine life, often leading to their death, and degrades sensitive and unique, yet vital, ecosystems.

As more tourism facilities are built, sewage pollution also increases. Sewage runoff in seas and lakes damages terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including vulnerable coral reefs which are often the main attraction of a place. Pollution of waterways in any way can stimulate excessive growth of algae, leading to eutrophication, and alter salinity and siltation of water bodies. These are changes to the environment make it difficult for native plants and animals to survive.

#3 Pollution

Pollution in the tourism industry comes in many forms: increased emissions linked to transport and higher need of energy, solid waste as mentioned in the paragraph above, sewage, oil and chemical spills, but even the less talked about noise and  light pollution .

One of the reasons why newly hatched sea turtle babies get confused and head in the opposite direction of water, are the artificial lights we installed along coastlines. Baby turtles have strong instinct to follow the light to guide them to the sea where their life journey begins. In nature, the moon reflection on the water was the brightest point on the beach. Nowadays, however, lamps, bars and other lights shine brighter at night and easily confuse the hatchlings to head in the wrong direction and often lose their life because of that.   

Noise pollution arises from transportation and recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles and jet skis. Noisy tourist destinations and thoroughfares can disturb and distress wildlife, especially in sensitive ecosystems that are often the reason why tourists visit the location in the first place.

Cruise ships are among the top polluters. These “floating cities” make extra noise in deep waters and migration routes of many aquatic mammals who are highly sensitive to noise levels in their serene environment. But that’s not all. Cruises release high amounts of raw sewage and waste of passengers directly into the water. Unfortunately, their practices of dealing with waste are not transparent and are corrupt. At the same time, these giant ships burn fossil fuel and release pollutants in the air, including excessive amounts of carbon dioxide [9] .

Scientists have also found that bacteria originating from sewage contamination of coastal waters affect coral reefs in numerous locations and is clearly linked to increased popularity as tourist destination. One badly affected example is the Mesoamerican Reef. The Reef has already lost 80 percent of corals to pollution released from insufficient infrastructure of trending destinations, such as Cancun, Tulum or Playa del Carmen, that host increasing numbers of tourists. The main problem here is too fast development of luxurious resorts without specific plans for upgrading wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructure. Unfortunately, this is a common issue of many special locations of natural beauty.        

#4 Greenhouse gas emissions and contribution to global warming

Most human activities that encompass modern lifestyle contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Add to this travel to some exotic destination half-way across the globe and the number grows even bigger, adding up large chunk to our carbon footprint. In total, tourism accounts for more than 5 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. This number has been growing steadily and made up around 1,600 million tons of CO2 in 2016 [10] .

According to a report from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the transport is responsible for 75 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in tourism. Air, road, and rail transportation are the main means of travel among tourists. The most polluting form of travel in terms of emissions are the flights – airplanes accounted for 40 percent out of total CO2 emissions in tourism sector in 2005 – especially due to low prices of flights that made this way of travel accessible to masses. The next significant polluter were cars with 32 percent [10] .

Energy consumption to provide services tourists expect is the next large CO2 contributor after the transport. Most accommodations still rely heavily on fossil fuel energy to run air conditioners, water and room heating and other basic or extra services (spas, pools) that consume lot of power. Unfortunately, the burning of fossil fuels has impacts globally and contributes to  climate change .

Energy and transport are both needed even when new resorts are built, or to bring diversity of food to offer to guests, to pick up solid waste, or to clean and maintain recreational areas. Carbon dioxide is not the only gas emitted in the air during these processes, other potent greenhouse gasses such as methane or nitrous oxide are as well. The contribution of tourism to climate change is significant and will grow unless switch to renewable energy is made.

#5 Soil erosion and unsustainable land use

Reckless development and fast expansion of infrastructure, insufficient infrastructure like for example not enough parking spots and cars parked on the edges of roads, too crowded natural sites, disrespect of rules (stepping off the path) can easily kickstart erosive processes and speed up degradation of sites.     

Tourism and recreational activities often change soil properties, especially if the number of tourists is greater than the ecosystem capacity to deal with it. In the most visited places, tourists trample the vegetation around trails, slowly creating larger patches of vegetation free surface. Frequently walked trails become compacted, which leads to the decreased soil permeability and higher surface runoff. The combination of these factors then results in progressively eroding trails and areas around them as people try to avoid slippery or muddy surface of the main trail.

The same scenario happens when off-road biking, horse riding, having fun with ATVs or parking cars on the side of the road.

Construction sites of new resorts or their expansion into surrounding natural areas, coastlines or on the mountain sites is a big contributor to erosion. Many projects begin by removing vegetation, which affects the ability of soils to absorb water, often leaving soils exposed and vulnerable for many years before the project is finished.

 Impervious surfaces of roads, parking lots or around accommodation units do not allow water to infiltrate into the ground. This increases the surface runoff which washes off fragmented pieces of soil even faster. In some locations, spaces between buildings create pathways for wind that magnify its erosive power.

#6 Physical degradation of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity

It is estimated that the average rate of expansion of tourism is 3 percent in developed countries and can be up to 8 percent in developing countries [11] . The industry has many physical impacts on the environment where growth happens, and more short-term visitors come by to admire the place. Many popular tourist sites are located in areas of sensitive ecosystems. Ecosystems such as rain forests, wetlands, mangroves, coral reefs , sea grass beds and alpine regions are often threatened because they are attractive places to developers and tourists who seek the special feeling of a close contact with nature’s wonders.

Construction and infrastructure development can include extensive paving, sand mining, wetland draining, marine development and deforestation. Unsustainable land use practices can lead to sand dune and soil erosion and the deterioration of the landscape.

Not only is the physical environment under threat but living organisms and their natural cycles are also altered. Ecosystem disturbance can lead to destruction in the long term. Poor building regulations and land use planning can also alter the aesthetic appeal of the local environment. This puts a strain on both the natural environment and indigenous structures of the area.

Around the world are many ecotourism activities and sustainable tourism businesses that keep environmental values at the heart of their business practices. Conventional tourism businesses on the other hand don’t always consider natural resources, pollution and environmental degradation.

Before you jet off on your next travel adventure be sure to take some environmental values with you. To reduce your ecological footprint as a tourist be sure to conserve the amount of water you use, dispose of waste appropriately, tread lightly on the land, and become aware of the local ecosystems you choose to visit. Wherever you may go in the world do your best to support green businesses and minimize your impact on the environment.

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10 Economic impacts of tourism + explanations + examples

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There are many economic impacts of tourism, and it is important that we understand what they are and how we can maximise the positive economic impacts of tourism and minimise the negative economic impacts of tourism.

Many argue that the tourism industry is the largest industry in the world. While its actual value is difficult to accurately determine, the economic potential of the tourism industry is indisputable. In fact, it is because of the positive economic impacts that most destinations embark on their tourism journey.

There is, however, more than meets the eye in most cases. The positive economic impacts of tourism are often not as significant as anticipated. Furthermore, tourism activity tends to bring with it unwanted and often unexpected negative economic impacts of tourism.

In this article I will discuss the importance of understanding the economic impacts of tourism and what the economic impacts of tourism might be. A range of positive and negative impacts are discussed and case studies are provided.

At the end of the post I have provided some additional reading on the economic impacts of tourism for tourism stakeholders , students and those who are interested in learning more.

 Foreign exchange earnings

Contribution to government revenues, employment generation, contribution to local economies, development of the private sector, infrastructure cost, increase in prices, economic dependence of the local community on tourism, foreign ownership and management, economic impacts of tourism: conclusion, further reading on the economic impacts of tourism, the economic impacts of tourism: why governments invest.

Tourism brings with it huge economic potential for a destination that wishes to develop their tourism industry. Employment, currency exchange, imports and taxes are just a few of the ways that tourism can bring money into a destination.

In recent years, tourism numbers have increased globally at exponential rates, as shown in the World Tourism Organisation data below.

There are a number of reasons for this growth including improvements in technology, increases in disposable income, the growth of budget airlines and consumer desires to travel further, to new destinations and more often.

disadvantages of the tourism industry

Here are a few facts about the economic importance of the tourism industry globally:

  • The tourism economy represents 5 percent of world GDP
  • Tourism contributes to 6-7 percent of total employment
  • International tourism ranks fourth (after fuels, chemicals and automotive products) in global exports
  • The tourism industry is valued at US$1trillion a year
  • Tourism accounts for 30 percent of the world’s exports of commercial services
  • Tourism accounts for 6 percent of total exports
  • 1.4billion international tourists were recorded in 2018 (UNWTO)
  • In over 150 countries, tourism is one of five top export earners
  • Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange for one-third of developing countries and one-half of less economically developed countries (LEDCs)

There is a wealth of data about the economic value of tourism worldwide, with lots of handy graphs and charts in the United Nations Economic Impact Report .

In short, tourism is an example of an economic policy pursued by governments because:

  •      it brings in foreign exchange
  •      it generates employment
  •      it creates economic activity

Building and developing a tourism industry, however, involves a lot of initial and ongoing expenditure. The airport may need expanding. The beaches need to be regularly cleaned. New roads may need to be built. All of this takes money, which is usually a financial outlay required by the Government.

For governments, decisions have to be made regarding their expenditure. They must ask questions such as:

How much money should be spent on the provision of social services such as health, education, housing?

How much should be spent on building new tourism facilities or maintaining existing ones?

If financial investment and resources are provided for tourism, the issue of opportunity costs arises.

By opportunity costs, I mean that by spending money on tourism, money will not be spent somewhere else. Think of it like this- we all have a specified amount of money and when it runs out, it runs out. If we decide to buy the new shoes instead of going out for dinner than we might look great, but have nowhere to go…!

In tourism, this means that the money and resources that are used for one purpose may not then be available to be used for other purposes. Some destinations have been known to spend more money on tourism than on providing education or healthcare for the people who live there, for example.

This can be said for other stakeholders of the tourism industry too.

There are a number of independent, franchised or multinational investors who play an important role in the industry. They may own hotels, roads or land amongst other aspects that are important players in the overall success of the tourism industry. Many businesses and individuals will take out loans to help fund their initial ventures.

So investing in tourism is big business, that much is clear. What what are the positive and negative impacts of this?

economic impacts of tourism

Positive economic impacts of tourism

So what are the positive economic impacts of tourism? As I explained, most destinations choose to invest their time and money into tourism because of the positive economic impacts that they hope to achieve. There are a range of possible positive economic impacts. I will explain the most common economic benefits of tourism below.

man sitting on street near tree

One of the biggest benefits of tourism is the ability to make money through foreign exchange earnings.

Tourism expenditures generate income to the host economy. The money that the country makes from tourism can then be reinvested in the economy. How a destination manages their finances differs around the world; some destinations may spend this money on growing their tourism industry further, some may spend this money on public services such as education or healthcare and some destinations suffer extreme corruption so nobody really knows where the money ends up!

Some currencies are worth more than others and so some countries will target tourists from particular areas. I remember when I visited Goa and somebody helped to carry my luggage at the airport. I wanted to give them a small tip and handed them some Rupees only to be told that the young man would prefer a British Pound!

Currencies that are strong are generally the most desirable currencies. This typically includes the British Pound, American, Australian and Singapore Dollar and the Euro .

Tourism is one of the top five export categories for as many as 83% of countries and is a main source of foreign exchange earnings for at least 38% of countries.

Tourism can help to raise money that it then invested elsewhere by the Government. There are two main ways that this money is accumulated.

Direct contributions are generated by taxes on incomes from tourism employment and tourism businesses and things such as departure taxes.

Taxes differ considerably between destinations. I will never forget the first time that I was asked to pay a departure tax (I had never heard of it before then), because I was on my way home from a six month backpacking trip and I was almost out of money!

Japan is known for its high departure taxes. Here is a video by a travel blogger explaining how it works.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, the direct contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP in 2018 was $2,750.7billion (3.2% of GDP). This is forecast to rise by 3.6% to $2,849.2billion in 2019.

Indirect contributions come from goods and services supplied to tourists which are not directly related to the tourism industry.

Take food, for example. A tourist may buy food at a local supermarket. The supermarket is not directly associated with tourism, but if it wasn’t for tourism its revenues wouldn’t be as high because the tourists would not shop there.

There is also the income that is generated through induced contributions . This accounts for money spent by the people who are employed in the tourism industry. This might include costs for housing, food, clothing and leisure Activities amongst others. This will all contribute to an increase in economic activity in the area where tourism is being developed.

disadvantages of the tourism industry

The rapid expansion of international tourism has led to significant employment creation. From hotel managers to theme park operatives to cleaners, tourism creates many employment opportunities. Tourism supports some 7% of the world’s workers.

There are two types of employment in the tourism industry: direct and indirect.

Direct employment includes jobs that are immediately associated with the tourism industry. This might include hotel staff, restaurant staff or taxi drivers, to name a few.

Indirect employment includes jobs which are not technically based in the tourism industry, but are related to the tourism industry. Take a fisherman, for example. He does not have any contact of dealings with tourists. BUT he does sell his fish to the hotel which serves tourists. So he is indirectly employed by the tourism industry, because without the tourists he would not be supplying the fish to the hotel.

It is because of these indirect relationships, that it is very difficult to accurately measure the economic value of tourism.

It is also difficult to say how many people are employed, directly and indirectly, within the tourism industry.

Furthermore, many informal employments may not be officially accounted for. Think tut tut driver in Cambodia or street seller in The Gambia – these people are not likely to be registered by the state and therefore their earnings are not declared.

It is for this reason that some suggest that the actual economic benefits of tourism may be as high as double that of the recorded figures!

All of the money raised, whether through formal or informal means, has the potential to contribute to the local economy.

If sustainable tourism is demonstrated, money will be directed to areas that will benefit the local community most.

There may be pro-poor tourism initiatives (tourism which is intended to help the poor) or volunteer tourism projects.

The government may reinvest money towards public services and money earned by tourism employees will be spent in the local community. This is known as the multiplier effect.

The multiplier effect relates to spending in one place creating economic benefits elsewhere. Tourism can do wonders for a destination in areas that may seem to be completely unrelated to tourism, but which are actually connected somewhere in the economic system.

disadvantages of the tourism industry

Let me give you an example.

A tourist buys an omelet and a glass of orange juice for their breakfast in the restaurant of their hotel. This simple transaction actually has a significant multiplier effect. Below I have listed just a few of the effects of the tourist buying this breakfast.

The waiter is paid a salary- he spends his salary on schooling for his kids- the school has more money to spend on equipment- the standard of education at the school increases- the kids graduate with better qualifications- as adults, they secure better paying jobs- they can then spend more money in the local community…

The restaurant purchases eggs from a local farmer- the farmer uses that money to buy some more chickens- the chicken breeder uses that money to improve the standards of their cages, meaning that the chickens are healthier, live longer and lay more eggs- they can now sell the chickens for a higher price- the increased money made means that they can hire an extra employee- the employee spends his income in the local community…

The restaurant purchase the oranges from a local supplier- the supplier uses this money to pay the lorry driver who transports the oranges- the lorry driver pays road tax- the Government uses said road tax income to fix pot holes in the road- the improved roads make journeys quicker for the local community…

So as you can see, that breakfast that the tourist probably gave not another thought to after taking his last mouthful of egg, actually had the potential to have a significant economic impact on the local community!

architecture building business city

The private sector has continuously developed within the tourism industry and owning a business within the private sector can be extremely profitable; making this a positive economic impact of tourism.

Whilst many businesses that you will come across are multinational, internationally-owned organisations (which contribute towards economic leakage ).

Many are also owned by the local community. This is the case even more so in recent years due to the rise in the popularity of the sharing economy and the likes of Airbnb and Uber, which encourage the growth of businesses within the local community.

Every destination is different with regards to how they manage the development of the private sector in tourism.

Some destinations do not allow multinational organisations for fear that they will steal business and thus profits away from local people. I have seen this myself in Italy when I was in search of a Starbucks mug for my collection , only to find that Italy has not allowed the company to open up any shops in their country because they are very proud of their individually-owned coffee shops.

Negative economic impacts of tourism

Unfortunately, the tourism industry doesn’t always smell of roses and there are also several negative economic impacts of tourism.

There are many hidden costs to tourism, which can have unfavourable economic effects on the host community.

Whilst such negative impacts are well documented in the tourism literature, many tourists are unaware of the negative effects that their actions may cause. Likewise, many destinations who are inexperienced or uneducated in tourism and economics may not be aware of the problems that can occur if tourism is not management properly.

Below, I will outline the most prominent negative economic impacts of tourism.

woman holding tomatoes

Economic leakage in tourism is one of the major negative economic impacts of tourism. This is when money spent does not remain in the country but ends up elsewhere; therefore limiting the economic benefits of tourism to the host destination.

The biggest culprits of economic leakage are multinational and internationally-owned corporations, all-inclusive holidays and enclave tourism.

I have written a detailed post on the concept of economic leakage in tourism, you can take a look here- Economic leakage in tourism explained .

road landscape nature forest

Another one of the negative economic impacts of tourism is the cost of infrastructure. Tourism development can cost the local government and local taxpayers a great deal of money.

Tourism may require the government to improve the airport, roads and other infrastructure, which are costly. The development of the third runway at London Heathrow, for example, is estimated to cost £18.6billion!

Money spent in these areas may reduce government money needed in other critical areas such as education and health, as I outlined previously in my discussion on opportunity costs.

glass bottle of cola with empty bottle on white surface

One of the most obvious economic impacts of tourism is that the very presence of tourism increases prices in the local area.

Have you ever tried to buy a can of Coke in the supermarket in your hotel? Or the bar on the beachfront? Walk five minutes down the road and try buying that same can in a local shop- I promise you, in the majority of cases you will see a BIG difference In cost! (For more travel hacks like this subscribe to my newsletter – I send out lots of tips, tricks and coupons!)

Increasing demand for basic services and goods from tourists will often cause price hikes that negatively impact local residents whose income does not increase proportionately.

Tourism development and the related rise in real estate demand may dramatically increase building costs and land values. This often means that local people will be forced to move away from the area that tourism is located, known as gentrification.

Taking measures to ensure that tourism is managed sustainably can help to mitigate this negative economic impact of tourism. Techniques such as employing only local people, limiting the number of all-inclusive hotels and encouraging the purchasing of local products and services can all help.

Another one of the major economic impacts of tourism is dependency. Many countries run the risk of becoming too dependant on tourism. The country sees $ signs and places all of its efforts in tourism. Whilst this can work out well, it is also risky business!

If for some reason tourism begins to lack in a destination, then it is important that the destination has alternative methods of making money. If they don’t, then they run the risk of being in severe financial difficulty if there is a decline in their tourism industry.

In The Gambia, for instance, 30% of the workforce depends directly or indirectly on tourism. In small island developing states, percentages can range from 83% in the Maldives to 21% in the Seychelles and 34% in Jamaica.

There are a number of reasons that tourism could decline in a destination.

The Gambia has experienced this just recently when they had a double hit on their tourism industry. The first hit was due to political instability in the country, which has put many tourists off visiting, and the second was when airline Monarch went bust, as they had a large market share in flights to The Gambia.

Other issues that could result in a decline in tourism includes economic recession, natural disasters and changing tourism patterns. Over-reliance on tourism carries risks to tourism-dependent economies, which can have devastating consequences.

disadvantages of the tourism industry

The last of the negative economic impacts of tourism that I will discuss is that of foreign ownership and management.

As enterprise in the developed world becomes increasingly expensive, many businesses choose to go abroad. Whilst this may save the business money, it is usually not so beneficial for the economy of the host destination.

Foreign companies often bring with them their own staff, thus limiting the economic impact of increased employment. They will usually also export a large proportion of their income to the country where they are based. You can read more on this in my post on economic leakage in tourism .

As I have demonstrated in this post, tourism is a significant economic driver the world over. However, not all economic impacts of tourism are positive. In order to ensure that the economic impacts of tourism are maximised, careful management of the tourism industry is required.

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18 Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism

Tourism is the act of traveling for leisure, recreation, or business purposes. It involves the movement of people to destinations outside their usual environment for a certain period of time.

The purpose of this article is to examine the advantages and disadvantages of tourism, with a focus on its economic, cultural, and social effects.

The article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the benefits and drawbacks of tourism, and to encourage readers to consider the impact of their travel on local communities and the environment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tourism

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Advantages of Tourism

  • Job creation and income generation : Tourism provides jobs in a variety of industries, such as hotels, restaurants, transportation, and entertainment. Tourist attractions, local businesses and historical sites can lead to increased source of income for local residents and a boost to the overall economy.
  • Increase in foreign exchange : Tourism can also bring in foreign currency, as tourists typically spend money on goods and services while visiting a destination. This can help to stabilize the economy and lead to growth.
  • Development of infrastructure : Tourism can also lead to the infrastructure development, such as roads, airports, and public transportation systems. This can improve the overall hospitality and quality of life for residents and make the destination more attractive to future tourists.
  • Exposure to different cultures : Tourism allows people to experience different cultures and ways of life, which can broaden their perspectives and promote understanding and tolerance.
  • Preservation of heritage sites : Tourism can also help to preserve tourism-related heritage sites, as the income generated by tourism can be used to fund their maintenance and restoration.
  • Cultural exchange : Tourism also provides many countries opportunities for cultural exchange, as tourists and locals interact and share their customs and traditions.
  • Promotion of international understanding : Tourism sector can promote international understanding by bringing people from different cultures together and fostering mutual respect and understanding.
  • Increase in community involvement : Tourism can also increase community involvement, as residents may become more engaged in efforts to attract tourists and improve their destination.
  • Development of tourism industry : Tourism also can lead to the development of the tourism industry, which can create hotels and places to stay, jobs and economic opportunities in a destination.

These are some examples of how tourism accounts can be beneficial and positively impact different aspects of society, however, it’s important to note that not all tourism activities are carried out in a sustainable and responsible way, which can lead to negative consequences.

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  • Damage to natural habitats and wildlife : Tourism can have a negative impact on the environment, as it can lead to the destruction of natural habitats and the displacement of wildlife. Activities such as excessive hiking, off-roading, and building of tourism infrastructure can generate environmental damage to natural resources.
  • Pollution and waste management : Tourism can also lead to an increase in pollution and waste, as large numbers of tourists can generate a significant amount of trash, sewage, and other waste products. This can put a strain on local waste management systems and have negative impacts on the environment and generate natural disasters.
  • Overcrowding of popular destinations : Popular tourist destinations can become overcrowded, which can lead to strain on local resources and the degradation of the natural environment. This can also make it difficult for tourists to fully enjoy their experience as they may feel like they are fighting for space with other visitors.
  • Disruption of local communities : Tourism can disrupt local communities by altering traditional ways of life, and leading to the displacement of residents. This can cause social and cultural changes that may not be beneficial to everyone in the community.
  • Exploitation of local resources and culture : Tourism can also lead to the exploitation of local resources, as well as the commercialization and commodification of local culture. This can lead to the loss of authenticity in tourist destinations and the erosion of traditional ways of life.
  • Loss of authenticity in tourist destinations : Some places can become too commercialized and lose their authenticity, being transformed into tourist traps, this can lead to a loss of charm and interest for the tourists, and local residents might feel like they are living in a theme park.
  • Dependence on tourism industry : A destination can become too dependent on tourism, and if the tourism industry were to decline, it could have a severe economic impact on the community.
  • Widening income gap : Tourism can also lead to a widening income gap, as the benefits of tourism may not be distributed equally among all members of a community. This can lead to an increase in poverty, and social inequality.
  • Inflation : Tourism can also lead to inflation, as the demand for goods and services increases, prices may rise, making it more difficult for residents to afford necessities.

Conclusion of Pros and Cons of Tourism

Tourism can bring many benefits to a destination, including economic growth, cultural exchange, and increased community involvement. However, it can also have negative impacts, such as environmental degradation, disruption of local communities, and exploitation of local resources and culture.

To minimize the negative impacts of tourism and to promote sustainable development, it is important to plan and manage tourism marketing activities in a responsible and sustainable way. This includes measures such as setting limits on the number of tourists, protecting natural habitats and wildlife, and involving local communities in tourism planning.

Overall, tourism can be a valuable tool for economic and social development, but it’s important to consider its potential negative consequences and to strive for sustainable tourism practices. This way, tourists, locals, and the environment can all benefit from tourism activities.

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Pros and Cons of Tourism

Be it Niagara Falls, The Grand Canyon, or the Amazon Rainforest, these places have numerous reasons to attract tourists every year. Tourists love to visit such spots looking for fun, amusement, and even finding peace of mind. Tourism has turned into a thriving industry in many countries. Governments and local communities reap the benefits of tourism in many different ways. But those advantages come with certain risks as well. However, like everything else, there are pros and cons of tourism . You should be taking a closer look at the good and the bad of tourism before you set a vacation schedule alone or with your friends and families.

What are the Pros of Tourism?

In 2021, tourism to Grand Canyon National Park made a significant contribution of $710 million to the local economy, reports National Park Service.

1. Economic Boost

Tourism is a significant contributor to the economy of a country. By attracting tourists, nations can create sustainable revenue streams, generate job opportunities, and boost growth across several sectors. According to a report by NPS, the park welcomed approximately 4.5 million visitors to the Grand Canyon, spending an estimated $710 million in the surrounding gateway regions.

2. Cultural Exchange

Travel can bring people together and provide a unique opportunity to share ideas and experiences. Travelers often have an open mind about different cultures and customs, so they are eager to explore new places. This type of exchange can break down cultural barriers between countries by allowing each party to understand the other's culture better. This exchange of cultural values can be counted as one of the major advantages of tourism.

3. Environmental Conservation

All natural heritages are tourist spots, and people come to admire the view. One of the significant advantages of tourism is that it can help protect and preserve the environment. Local governments can invest the revenue generated by tourism for the betterment of environmentally sensitive regions and areas with fragile ecosystems.

4. Improved Infrastructure is Among the Pros of Tourism

With the influx of tourists, countries can consider upgrading their infrastructure to accommodate visitors' needs. This includes constructing new airports, roads, accommodations, and public facilities such as parks and museums. This positive change can be felt both by the tourists and the inhabitants.

5. Global Recognition

Tourism is an essential part of many countries economies, and it can also provide significant global recognition for the destination. A well-designed tourism strategy that attracts a high volume of international visitors can bring in foreign money, create jobs, and help to develop infrastructure. It also raises awareness about an area, leading to increased interest from the rest of the world.

What are the Cons of Tourism?

Besides the positive changes, tourism also has its share of downsides. Most of the cons of the tourism industry are associated with the misuse of natural resources. Some of the other problems with tourism include:

1. Environmental Damage

Tourism can lead to environmental damage in many ways. For example, it can impact water resources through increased water and wastewater production demand. It can also add to pollution by generating emissions from transportation as visitors travel around the area. Additionally, tourists may increase pressure on local land resources, leading to deforestation and loss of habitats for native species.

2. Displaced Communities

Tourism often brings economic benefits to local communities. Still, when done in a way that does not consider the local community's needs and aspirations, it can cause displacement. Communities may be displaced from their traditional lands or homes, pushing them away from the resources they need for subsistence. This can be particularly detrimental if these resources are already scarce or difficult to access.

3. Cultural Erosion

Cultural Erosion is one of the most dreaded cons of tourism. A tourist destination with a distinct local culture is prone to changes due to the influx of tourists. The more tourism activities are higher the chances of community displacement.

This phenomenon is often compounded by the fact that many tourists come from cultures very different to those of the local community, and their presence can lead to a sudden change in cultural values. This rapid transition can significantly damage a community as its members may no longer feel represented or respected.

4. Economic Dependence

The COVID-19 pandemic best explains how tourism can suddenly burden an economy. As the pandemic wiped out all income for many countries' businesses, many had to rely heavily on government support and bailouts as their primary sources of revenue. This has resulted in rising debts due to emergency aid distributions and other fiscal measures associated with relief during this crisis.

5. Overcrowding

Visiting a particular area can harm the environment and local culture as tourism grows. One of the main disadvantages of tourism is overcrowding, which can strain resources, increase pollution, and damage natural habitats.

Overcrowding can decrease the quality of life for residents, as tourists take up public space and resources. It can also affect the health and safety of visitors who may be exposed to increased levels of crime or air pollution.

Conclusion on the Pros and Cons of Tourism

The pros and cons of tourism are complex if you evaluate them thoroughly. It is easy to see that people benefit from increased access to new cultures, experiences, and destinations.

On the other hand, there are real risks associated with tourist activities like over-tourism and the destruction of natural spaces. Therefore, it's up to individuals to assess these impacts on their own terms. It's up to every citizen to become responsible travelers who understand tourism's positive and negative effects.

Pros and Cons of Tourism

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the cons of tourism.

Tourism frequently exerts excessive strain on natural resources due to overconsumption, particularly in areas with limited resources. It places immense pressure on local land utilization, resulting in soil erosion, heightened pollution levels, loss of natural habitats, and increased jeopardy for endangered species.

What are the pros of tourism?

It fosters job creation, bolsters the local economy, facilitates infrastructure development, preserves the natural environment and cultural heritage, and works towards alleviating poverty and inequality.

What are the social benefits of tourism?

Tourism brings forth numerous social benefits, showcasing its positive impacts on society. These encompass the preservation of local culture and heritage, the fostering of vibrant communities, the provision of essential social services, the promotion of cultural and artistic commerce, the revitalization of customs and art forms, as well as the safeguarding of our precious heritage.

Who does tourism help?

Tourists contribute to the local economy by spending their money, leading to job creation and economic growth. This support is particularly crucial for small businesses, which often struggle to generate substantial profits.

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Don’t forget tourism has benefits too

Readers respond to Christopher de Bellaigue’s long read on the future of global tourism

Christopher de Bellaigue’s article ( The end of tourism? , Long read, 18 June) is interesting and insightful, but fails to point out the intrinsic value of travel. Mass tourism, apart from its economic and ecological impacts, has also implied the opportunity to access peoples, cultures and foods that we have hitherto never experienced. To travel is to live, as Hans Christian Andersen once wrote.

The chance to experience and appreciate other cultures, to understand the lives of others unlike oneself, must be seen as a public good in itself. The “end of tourism” will not mean the end of travel for the classes who can afford it, but only means the denying of the opportunity for the vast majority of the world’s people to experience the world in ways that previous generations could not have dreamed of. An end to tourism will not hinder the travel plans of the world’s richest, but will serve to insulate and harden the nativist sentiments of the more disadvantaged. Madhav Tipu Ramachandran Bengaluru, India

Tourism and globalisation is what has brought us the very knowledge and cultural understanding about all the destinations that the author talks about. Without a globally connected and travelling society there would be little awareness of other cultures, little respect for other traditions and much less intercultural exchange.

Travelling and experiencing other cultures first-hand is what makes us more open and accepting of others. It connects us to the rest of the world. Progressive politics, fighting racism and supporting migration all depend on people understanding more of other countries and cultures. Lorenz Kost Düsseldorf, Germany

I was a bit bemused that no mention was made of staying in your own country for a holiday and the impact of Covid-19 on the UK tourism industry. Lockdown has helped many of us to appreciate what we have close at hand, from our own back gardens to wildlife areas on our doorsteps.

There’s much choice for urban, countryside and seaside holidays, and such diverse beauty and culture available right here in the UK. Reopening UK-based tourism will help the economy and people’s wellbeing without impacting on the environment in the way that overseas travel does. Danielle Lowy Manchester

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology in Tourism Industry

Introduction, background information, technology in the industry, benefits of technology in the tourism industry, negative impact of technology in tourism industry.

Examining all the possible advantages and disadvantages of technology in the tourism industry has become a topic of interest for numerous people in the field. It’s not a secret that the Internet and different information systems have transformed the hospitality sphere.

Were these changes welcomed and embraced? What is the negative impact of technology on the tourism industry? Does it exist at all?

Technology is paramount to the success of the industry. Yet, as it turns out, the Internet and other digital perks of the modern world have both benefits and flaws. In this essay, the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the hospitality industry are explored.

The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the best-performing industries, both at regional/domestic and international levels. According to the Tourism World Council (2004), the tourism industry contributes to around 10% of GDP in the world.

This rate is expected to increase by the year 2014 (World Travel and Tourism Council 2004). The force behind this rapid growth is the adoption of information technology in its management and operations.

Many businesses in hospitality and tourism incorporate information technology in their businesses, thus standing a good chance of reaping huge returns of the same (Garzotto et al. 2004).

Computerized reservation systems are an example of an information technology system used in this sector to reach the target customers.

Before the advancement of technology, it was very difficult for the tourist and hospitality industry to market its services to its customers. It was also very expensive because customers are always physically apart, miles away, for instance.

However, the coming of information technology has eased the transaction of business besides boosting the customer base. The fact that people are able to communicate and interact with one another in different regions has made it easier and cheap to market their products and services.

In the past, inter-organizational system, which connected organizations, was the most popular form of IT. However, because of high costs, many businesses could not meet the cost of using it (Chih-Yao 2011, p. 1986).

The emergence of global distribution systems allowed easy connection and communication across borders. This allowed a fast transfer of information that helped to boost the industry in terms of the number of bookings.

Global distribution was a form of inter-organizational system that emerged from computer reservation systems that helped to integrate information from the airline. These integrations boosted the tourism industry since customers were able to make their reservations at one common marketplace.

These systems were used in the 1960s, and their integration into the modern computer was impossible. The advancement of technology has seen the emergence of the Internet and the World Wide Web, which have transformed the way people interact and or do their businesses (Cristiana 2008, p. 345).

Businesses market their hospitality services and tourism products through the Internet. This platform has connected the world. It has turned it into a global village. People can interact in different locations in real-time.

They can share their views and opinions without having to meet physically. Technology has led to the development of different forms or platforms that enable interconnections.

Nowadays, social media such as MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and many others are sources of information that both the tourism and hospitality industry have used to reach customers across the globe leading to an influx of tourists hence boosting the level of their income (Alexis, & Buhalis 2007, p. 389).

Clayton and Criscuolo (2002) argue that technology through the Internet has brought about various changes in how people carry out their businesses.

The changes include providing an avenue through which ideas can be transformed into marketable innovation to be transmitted later to a wider market at low costs of accessing these markets and searching for buyers.

It allows easier access to the market offering new products. It has changed the way information is shared between individuals and organizations (p. 14). The benefits of technology in the hospitality and tourism industry are enormous.

The benefits of IT are manifested almost in every aspect of our lives. The Internet has become an important part of people’s lives. People are able to share information in their remote locations through personal computers, fax machines, cell phones, emails, and the Internet in real-time (Cristiana 2008, p. 346).

The capability that has come with technology has been manifested in major sectors of economies. The hospitality and tourism sector is one of the sectors that require adequate marketing across the globe.

With the Internet in place, this has been achieved with ease and at low costs. The business has hosted different sites that they use to advertise their products and services to the entire world. They are able to tailor the needs of the customers accordingly.

Another advantage of technology is that it has facilitated globalization. The world has been constricted into one small village. People are connected through Internet networks and social media. Information is transmitted at a faster rate with just one click of a mouse.

The hospitality industry and tourism have used this opportunity to share ideas on various businesses. It has also helped to bring together people separated by geographical location and those from different cultures.

Since this industry depends on information, this technology has added a boost because people are able to access information about the locations that they can visit and spend their leisure time and holidays relaxing.

According to Cristiana (2008), many people in the USA use the Internet to book their trips to various destinations (p. 344). The rate is increasing every day. For instance, it is estimated that more than 75 million people who travel across the globe use the Internet to get information on their destinations.

They, therefore, use the Internet to book, check and compare prices, and schedule their traveling to various tourist destinations. Many people who travel across their borders spend their time and or are accommodated by the hospitality industry. Therefore, they contribute a lot to the industry.

Some travel for leisure. They, therefore, pay the host country foreign exchange for them to be hosted or to travel across the country visiting any area of attraction like game reserves and game parks. The number of bookings increased to double digits between 1996 and 2006.

The growth was high in 2001 at 58% and 25% in 2002 (Cristiana 2008, p. 344). Many online travelers say that they use the Internet to get updates or information on their destinations and any other logistics about their traveling (Cristiana 2008, p. 344).

Therefore, they transact their businesses through the Internet. For instance, they book the places of visit upon landing at their destination in advance. This shows how technology has transformed the industry.

In the past, it was very difficult and costly to travel because of the numerous tedious paperwork processes that people went through. When they reach their destinations, they do not have to look for accommodation.

Therefore, technology has taken this a notch higher, as everything is done in the comfort of the houses (Dis 2010, p. 9).

A study carried out on online travelers showed that the majority of people traveling did so for pleasure, vacation/holiday, personal purposes, and business (Cristiana 2008, p. 347).

Technology has enabled people to search for their directions, maps for directions, accommodation/hospitality facilities, schedules, airfare, and the amount of money to be spent for a tour. These logistics are available on the Internet. It has become an essential medium of budgeting and choice-making.

This is with regard to the places or locations that a person wants to visit. The availability of this information on the Internet, for example, tourist attractions sites, tourist attraction scenes, and features, create a platform for persuading people to travel and experience them.

Therefore, the Internet has contributed to the increased booking and tourist visits, explaining the increase in the industry’s gross domestic product (Cristiana 2008, p. 344).

Technology has evolved at a faster rate making it even possible to access the Internet through cell phones. People across the globe are able to access information on their phones, even to the extent of communicating with one another. This platform has enabled the hospitability industry and tourist industry to market their products on the Internet.

People traveling for leisure or any other reason are always in touch with their family members and friends. This has contributed to the increased travel across borders by many people (Cristiana 2008, p. 348).

According to Jungsun and Hardin (2010), social media, Facebook and MySpace host many users (p. 735). It is estimated that around 360 million people visited and used the media in 2007 for their interaction and other purposes (Jungsun & Hardin 2010, p. 735).

The media is used for sharing ideas and keeping in touch with people across the country. Therefore, they provide a good platform for businesses to market their products and services. The hospitality and tourism industry has the potential to use such media to reach out to many potential visitors.

People will get information about tourist destinations and some of the hospitality services provided through such media. Therefore, they can contribute greatly to the success of the hospitality and tourism industry. However, technology has had a negative impact on this industry.

Technology has some challenges. According to Jungsun and Hardin (2010), the virtual world presents challenges of maintenance and follow-up (p. 735). It requires a lot of investment in Internet use in terms of updating the links and responding to many blogs that are sent.

People or potential visitors may change their minds or plan to travel to a particular destination if their queries are not answered on time (Jungsun & Hardin 2010, p. 735). Another challenge is the increased risk of cybercrime and hacking.

Some people may gain entrance to a system hosted on the Internet to gain access to any information that may be confidential. Such individuals may falsify the information hence leading to misrepresentation and loss of customers.

Furthermore, the number of visitors that visit the website may not be enough as expected. This causes a huge loss since the company may not be able to raise enough revenue hence affecting the level of income of the company.

One of the disadvantages that technology has brought to the industry is that it has caused unemployment. Many people who worked in the hotels as managers, waiters, and cooks, as well as those in the tourist industry, such as tour guides, lost their jobs to cut the cost and by utilizing the Internet.

The creation of jobs in these industries has also reduced because most of the marketing and advertising is done through the Internet. Privacy has also been affected by the coming up of the Internet.

People have improvised ways of hacking or gaining into the websites of organizations to steal important information. This exposes the company to risk (Zipf 2002, p. 57).

Proliferation has increased on the Internet. Many tourist websites are available on the Internet. This is a challenge, especially for small and medium tourist enterprises that possess inadequate skills and knowledge in website efficiency.

This proliferation is a sign that there is a lack of organization in the market that is already saturated. Many of these websites are not familiar to the clients. This becomes difficult for potential customers to locate them and even to have confidence in them to the extent of using them.

Intermediaries that are used to link customers to various businesses provide another challenge on the Internet. They are paid for their services hence leading to low profits, revenue, and homogeneity of the websites (Alexis & Buhalis 2007, p. 389).

Therefore, in conclusion, technology has contributed greatly to the success of the hospitality and tourism industry across the globe. Countries that have positively embraced technology in their operations have benefited in terms of increased revenue.

The potential of this technology is exorbitant. However, it requires people who have vast knowledge and expertise on how it operates to manage it well and to reap its overwhelming potential.

On the other hand, technology has rendered many people jobless. This has affected their living standards since they depend on their jobs as their source of livelihood. However, its benefits surpass the negatives, as revealed in the paper.

Alexis, P. & Buhalis, D. 2007, ‘ Exploring the information and communication technologies revolution and visioning the future of tourism, travel and hospitality industries, 6th e-tourism futures forum: ICT revolutionising tourism 26–27 March 2007 , Guildford’, International Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 9 I no.5, pp. 385-387.

Chih-Yao, L. 2011, ‘The Integration and Development of the Leisure and Hospitality Information System Module with the Embedded Technology,’ International Journal on Computer Science & Engineering , vol. 3 no. 5, pp. 1986-1994.

Cristiana, P. 2008, ‘The tourism industry and the use of internet’, Annals of the University of Oradea, Economic Science Series, vol. 17 no. 2, pp. 344-347.

Clayton, T. & Criscuolo, C. 2002, Electronic commerce and business change, National Statistics . Web.

Dis, T. 2010, ‘Information and Communication Technologies in the Hospitality Industry’, Hosteur , vol. 19 no. 1, pp. 9-11.

Garzotto, F. et al. 2004, Ubiquitous access to cultural tourism portals’, paper presented to Database and Expert Systems Applications, 15th International Workshop on (DEXA’04), Zaragoza, Spain.

Jungsun, K. & Hardin, A. 2010, ‘The Impact of Virtual Worlds on Word-of-Mouth: improving Social Networking and Services cape in the Hospitality Industry,’ Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management , vol. 19 no. 7, pp. 735-753.

World Travel and Tourism Council 2004, Progress and priorities 2004/2005, World Travel and Tourism Council . Web.

Zipf, A. 2002, ‘Adaptive context-aware mobility support for tourists,’ IEEE Intelligent Systems , vol. 17 no. 6, pp. 57-59.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media in Tourism Industry

Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media in Tourism industry

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, and it has had a significant impact on various industries, including the tourism industry.

Social media platforms have enabled the tourism industry to improve various processes and deliver better experiences to travelers worldwide.

Travel companies can use social media to engage with their customers, answer important questions, enable online booking, and measure KPIs such as engagement and click-through rates.

However, social media also has its drawbacks, such as negative feedback from customers, the need to constantly create new content, and the potential for information overload.

In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of social media in tourism industry.

Advantages of Social Media in Tourism Industry

Social media has transformed the way businesses communicate with and market to their target demographics, and the tourism industry is no exception.

The impact of social media on the tourism industry has been immense, and it has enabled the sector to improve various processes and deliver better experiences to travelers worldwide.

Social media marketing is effective because it allows businesses to create and distribute engaging content to a large audience, providing an opportunity to enhance brand awareness, increase customer engagement, and deliver targeted and relevant ads.

We will explore the advantages of social media in the tourism industry, including how it has transformed tourism marketing and how it has democratized online reviews.

Advantages of Social Media in Tourism industry infographic

1. Enhanced Destination Awareness and Exposure

Enhanced Destination Awareness and Exposure is a significant advantage of social media in the tourism industry. Through social media platforms, destinations can gain increased visibility and reach a wider audience.

Tourism businesses and destinations can create engaging content, such as photos, videos, and travel guides, to showcase their attractions and experiences.

By sharing this content on social media, they can attract the attention of potential travelers and generate interest in visiting their destination.

Social media also allows for direct interaction with travelers, enabling destinations to provide real-time updates, answer questions, and address concerns.

This enhanced awareness and exposure can ultimately lead to increased tourism and economic growth for the destination.

2. Improved Customer Engagement and Interaction

Social media has revolutionized the way businesses interact with their customers, and the tourism industry is no exception. One of the key advantages of social media in the tourism industry is improved customer engagement and interaction.

Social media platforms allow tourism businesses to connect with their customers in real time, respond to their queries and complaints, and provide personalized recommendations and offers.

This not only helps businesses to build stronger relationships with their customers but also enables them to gather valuable feedback and insights that can be used to improve their products and services.

By leveraging social media, tourism businesses can create a more engaging and interactive experience for their customers, which can ultimately lead to increased loyalty and repeat business.

3. Real-Time Travel Updates and Information

Real-time travel updates and information are one of the key advantages of social media in the tourism industry.

Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow travel companies to provide real-time updates to their customers about flight delays, cancellations, and other important information.

This is especially important in the tourism industry, where travelers are often on tight schedules and need to be kept informed about any changes to their travel plans.

Social media also allows travel companies to provide information about local events, attractions, and restaurants, which can help travelers plan their trips more effectively.

By providing real-time travel updates and information, travel companies can improve the overall travel experience for their customers and build stronger relationships with them.

4. Cost-Effective Marketing and Promotion

Social media is a cost-effective way for tourism businesses of all sizes to increase awareness and engage with potential customers.

Social media marketing allows businesses to create and distribute engaging content to a large audience, providing an opportunity to enhance brand awareness, increase customer engagement, and target relevant ads.

Social media has transformed the way people research and make decisions about travel, with 89% of millennials planning travel activities based on content posted by their peers online.

Social media has also democratized online reviews, making them a crucial part of building a positive brand reputation.

By curating an active social media presence, tourism businesses can take care of their advertising needs, customer service, and engagement strategy, all while keeping costs low.

5. Personalized Travel Recommendations

Personalized travel recommendations are becoming increasingly important in the tourism industry, as customers demand new and exciting forms of content shared across multiple channels.

By 2027, 74% of total revenue in the Travel and tourism market is expected to be generated through online sales , making it crucial for travel companies to know their customers and provide relevant content at the right time.

Social media has become a critical aspect of travel marketing, as people buy from brands they trust and turn to influencers, bloggers, online communities, and various social media channels for recommendations and guidance.

In-person customer experience is also a driver of personalization ROI, with travel companies looking to personalize the customer journey from start to finish and gain a competitive edge.

From customized travel packages to personalized recommendations, companies in the travel industry are using data and technology to tailor their marketing.

Travel advisors can also build their brand and increase sales with a strong and steady presence on social media, which has become their storefront in this day and age.

6. User-generated content and Authentic Experiences

User-generated content (UGC) refers to any content created by people, rather than brands, such as text, videos, images, reviews, and more. UGC is authentic and more experience-driven than brand-pushed content because it involves no fabrication, embellishment, or Photoshop.

In the tourism industry, UGC can be a powerful tool for promoting destinations and experiences. By sharing UGC on social media, tourism businesses can improve buyer trust and engagement.

UGC allows consumers a more authentic buying experience, which can be more influential than content made by brands directly.

According to Adweek, 85% of people say UGC is more influential than content made by brands directly. By leveraging real users’ word of mouth, tourism businesses can engage and persuade prospects to trust their products.

7. Influencer Collaboration and Partnerships

Influencer collaboration and partnerships are becoming increasingly popular in the tourism industry, with travel providers partnering with social media influencers to promote their products and destinations.

Collaborating with influencers can provide a dynamic and immersive experience for the influencer’s audience, encouraging them to explore the destination.

One of the key advantages of collaborating with travel brands and influencers is the ability to create engaging and authentic content, which can help to inspire travel and attract new customers.

Instagram, in particular, plays a pivotal role in this trend and has gained the attention of both influencers and business owners alike.

In the medical tourism industry, influencer marketing offers an innovative way to promote healthcare facilities, services, and destinations to potential patients worldwide.

By partnering with influential individuals on social media platforms, medical tourism providers can tap into their established networks, increase brand awareness, and showcase their healthcare offerings.

Disadvantages of Social Media in Tourism Industry

Social media has become an integral part of the tourism industry, with many businesses using it to improve various processes and deliver better experiences to travelers worldwide.

However, social media also has its disadvantages, and negative comments can spread quickly among potential customers, affecting the tourism industry in one geographical location.

Disadvantages of Social Media in Tourism industry infographic

1. Spread of Negative Reviews and Reputation Damage

Negative reviews can have a significant impact on the reputation of tourism businesses, as well as the tourism industry as a whole. Negative reviews left unresponded can damage a business’s reputation and hurt its star rating.

Building a business’s reputation can take years, but it can be damaged or destroyed in hours. Negative reviews can decrease demand and damage the hotel’s reputation.

Destinations with poor wayfinding may be viewed negatively by visitors, leading to a damaged reputation. Visitors may share their negative experiences on social media or review platforms, dissuading others from visiting the destination.

This can result in long-term negative impacts on the tourism industry and overall economic growth. Therefore, it is essential for tourism businesses to monitor and respond to negative reviews promptly to mitigate the potential damage to their reputation.

2. Misleading Information and False Advertising

Misleading Information and False Advertising in the Tourism Industry can have significant negative impacts. Social media platforms have become a breeding ground for fake news and false advertising, which can mislead tourists and affect their travel experiences.

Fake news can be defined as false information distributed as part of news reporting, and it can be prevalent in the tourism industry. Tourists may be lured to a destination based on certain travel packages, only to find hidden charges or misrepresented information.

Additionally, misleading advertising can be a problem, with tourism promoters sometimes using the wrong photos to advertise a destination. This can create false expectations and disappointment for tourists when they arrive at the actual location.

False, misleading, and deceptive advertising in the travel industry is a concern that affects consumer trust and satisfaction. It is important for the tourism industry to address these issues and ensure that accurate and transparent information is provided to tourists.

3. Dependence on Online Reviews for Decision Making

Online reviews have become increasingly important in the decision-making process of tourists. Many travelers rely on online reviews to make decisions about where to stay, what to do, and where to eat.

However, the reliability of these reviews can be questionable. Some reviews may be fake or biased, and it can be difficult to distinguish between genuine and fake reviews.

Additionally, some businesses may pay for positive reviews or post fake negative reviews about their competitors. This can lead to tourists making decisions based on false information, which can ultimately lead to a negative experience.

Therefore, while online reviews can be a useful tool for tourists, it is important to approach them with a critical eye and not rely solely on them for decision-making.

4. Privacy and Security Concerns for Travelers

The impact of social media on the tourism industry has brought about privacy and security concerns for travelers.

With the widespread use of social media, travelers are sharing more information about their trips than ever before, including their location, travel plans, and personal details. This information can be used by cybercriminals to target travelers for theft or other crimes.

Additionally, travelers may feel pressure to share their experiences on social media, leading to a focus on capturing the perfect photo or video rather than fully experiencing their trip.

As a result, it is important for travelers to be aware of the potential risks associated with social media use while traveling and take steps to protect their privacy and security.

This may include limiting the amount of personal information shared on social media, using secure networks to access the internet, and being cautious of unsolicited messages or requests from strangers.

5. Overcrowding and Overtourism Issues

The tourism industry has been facing the issue of overcrowding and over-tourism due to the increased use of social media.

Social media platforms have made it easier for people to share their travel experiences, which has led to an increase in the number of tourists visiting popular destinations.

This has resulted in overcrowding, which can negatively impact the environment, local communities, and the overall tourism experience. Overcrowding can lead to environmental degradation, increased waste, and damage to cultural heritage sites.

Additionally, the influx of tourists can lead to increased prices, displacement of local residents, and a loss of authenticity in the tourism experience.

Therefore, it is important for the tourism industry to address the issue of overcrowding and over-tourism to ensure sustainable tourism practices and preserve the natural and cultural resources of popular destinations.

6. Risk of Over-commercialization and Authenticity Loss

The tourism industry has been greatly impacted by social media, but there are also risks associated with over-commercialization and authenticity loss.

One of the main disadvantages of social media in the tourism industry is the potential for over-commercialization.

As tourism businesses strive to attract more visitors, they may focus too heavily on promoting their products and services, rather than providing an authentic experience. This can lead to a loss of authenticity, which is a key factor in attracting tourists in the first place.

Additionally, social media can create unrealistic expectations for travelers, leading to disappointment when they arrive at their destination and find that it does not live up to the images they saw online.

Therefore, it is important for tourism businesses to strike a balance between promoting their offerings and maintaining the authenticity of the experience they provide.

7. Negative Impact on Local Cultures and Environments

Social media has the potential to negatively impact local cultures and environments in the tourism industry.

One of the biggest concerns for tourism brands is maintaining their brand image, and negative interactions on official social media postings can potentially hurt a travel brand’s image.

Additionally, social media can negatively affect the tourism industry in one geographical location. For example, the Maldives tourist authority’s Twitter campaign backfired, and the entire sector in the Maldives suffered.

Social media-induced travelers often fail to connect with a destination and local culture due to a hyper-focus on their self-presentation-based photo-taking.

Furthermore, when interests are damaged, consumers can express their dissatisfaction through negative word of mouth, which can have great negative impacts on the destination image as well as the sustainable development of the local tourism industry.

Therefore, it is important for tourism brands to be aware of the potential negative impacts of social media and to manage their online presence carefully to avoid damaging local cultures and environments.

Conclusion on Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media in Tourism Industry

In conclusion, social media has both advantages and disadvantages for the tourism industry. On the positive side, social media has become a vital part of tourism companies’ strategic operations, and consumption increased by 72% during the pandemic.

Social media platforms have enabled the sector to improve various processes and deliver better experiences to travelers worldwide.

They have also become important communication channels, supporting the integration of AI and chatbots that travel companies can use to answer important questions or enable online booking.

Additionally, social media analytics software can help travel companies make sense of the data, measure KPIs such as engagement and click-through rate, and gauge followers’ sentiment.

On the negative side, social media can also have a negative impact on the tourism industry. For example, negative reviews or comments on social media can harm a tourism company’s reputation and deter potential customers.

Moreover, social media can create unrealistic expectations for travelers, leading to disappointment when their experiences do not match what they saw on social media.

Overall, social media has transformed the way people make decisions about travel, and it has become an essential way for consumers to search for online tourism information.

Social media has also enabled tourism companies to reach a wider audience and build better customer relations through social sharing.

However, tourism companies must be aware of the possible benefits and drawbacks of social media for their business and use it wisely to maximize its potential.

Relevant Resources:

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Ahmad Ali

Ahmad Ali (Author)

Ahmad Ali has been a technology enthusiast and writer for the past 5 years having vast knowledge of technology.

Rehmat Ullah

Rehmat Ullah (Content Reviewer)

Rehmat Ullah is a software engineer and CEO of Softhat IT Solutions. He is an expert technologist, entrepreneur, and educationist.

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Mary Wells Lawrence, High-Profile Advertising Pioneer, Dies at 95

She was the first woman to own and run a major national advertising agency. Her company, Wells Rich Greene, was best known for the “I ♥ NY” campaign.

A black and white photo of two men and a woman posing for the camera against an entirely white background. Ms. Wells had collar-length blond hair and wore a round-necked business dress. The men, both with dark hair, wore dark suits and ties. One man, with dark-framed eyeglasses, who was sitting in the foreground, held up a lit cigarette.

By Robert D. McFadden

She splashed jazzy colors on Braniff airliners. She put the “plop plop, fizz fizz” into Alka-Seltzer. She warned Benson & Hedges smokers that long cigarettes might pop balloons or set fire to beards. And from Niagara Falls to Broadway, she reached millions with her “I ♥ NY” campaign.

Mary Wells Lawrence, who grew up in Ohio, at 22 took her imagination and ambition to New York, where she broke through advertising’s male bastions of the 1960s, quit a prestigious job when she was denied a presidency, founded her own agency and dazzled Madison Avenue with vivid campaigns that became embedded in American culture. She died on Saturday morning in London. She was 95.

Her death, in a hospital, was confirmed by her daughter Katy Bryan.

Ms. Wells Lawrence was the first woman to own and run a major national advertising agency — Wells Rich Greene — and the first female chief executive of a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In the 1970s, she was reputed to be the industry’s most highly paid executive, with a salary of more than $300,000 (more than a million dollars in today’s currency).

She was “arguably the most powerful and successful woman ever to work in advertising,” Stuart Elliott, who was then the advertising columnist of The New York Times, wrote in 2002 of Ms. Wells Lawrence , who sold her agency for $160 million (about $385 million today) and retired in 1990.

The world of advertising has changed dramatically since her day. Most agencies that nurtured creativity and made commercials with hummable music, talented acting, clever writing and deft strategies to reinforce brands and products have long since given way to corporate giants led by chief executives not closely involved in actual ad production, which relies heavily on market research and pictorially on digital tricks.

But in a pioneering career across four decades, including 24 years as her own boss, Ms. Wells Lawrence and her colleagues, Dick Rich and Stewart Greene, created hands-on campaigns that defied orthodoxy, took chances and, with flashes of wit and insight, often turned old-fashioned selling into entertainment. Sometimes they radically changed public perceptions.

Her agency’s best-known campaign was “I ♥ NY,” which began in 1977, when New York City’s social fabric seemed to be fraying, with dangerous streets littered with garbage and graffiti, a serial killer at large and racial strife. To resurrect tourism in the city and around New York State, the state hired Wells Rich Greene and the graphic designer Milton Glaser , who devised the heart logo to go with the campaign’s catchphrase.

“The first commercial we made ended with Frank Langella as Dracula,” Ms. Wells Lawrence recalled in a memoir, “A Big Life (in Advertising)” (2002). It was shot with machine-generated fog outside the Martin Beck Theater on 45th Street in Midtown, where Mr. Langella was starring as that famous vampire. “Swirling in his Dracula cape, he looks into your eyes and says thrillingly, ‘I love New York — especially in the evening.’”

Stars of Broadway, Hollywood and the Metropolitan Opera, political leaders and hosts of celebrities appeared in the ads. The “I Love New York” song, composed by Steve Karmen, was declared the state anthem by Gov. Hugh L. Carey in 1980, and the Glaser logo, a staple of television ads, still appears on millions of T-shirts, buttons, caps and posters.

Originally meant to last only a few months, the campaign went on for years, growing into one of the most successful and imitated in history. It instilled pride in New Yorkers and brought tourism roaring back as a key industry of both the city and the state.

Even before forming their own agency, Ms. Wells Lawrence, Mr. Rich and Mr. Greene made memorable commercials in the 1960s for Jack Tinker & Partners, a subsidiary of the advertising giant Interpublic.

For Alka-Seltzer, they shot two tablets dissolving in water as a catchy voice-over declared: “Plop-plop, fizz-fizz. Oh, what a relief it is!” They called it “Alka-Seltzer on the Rocks.” Sales nearly doubled as consumers got into the habit of taking two tablets instead of one.

The agency introduced the 100-millimeter Benson & Hedges cigarette with a tongue-in-cheek campaign that focused on the “disadvantages” of smokes so lengthy that they set men’s beards afire or were squashed in the closing doors of a crowded elevator.

The campaign for Braniff International Airways took another novel approach. A little-known airline that flew to Mexico and South America, it had invested in new planes, and its new president, Harding L. Lawrence, was desperate for recognition.

“Listen, Mary,” he said, as she recalled in her memoir, “I need a very big idea for this airline, something so big it will make Braniff important news overnight.”

She toured Braniff’s terminals, examined its planes and staff, and came away dismayed. The terminals “looked like a prison camp,” she said; the planes were drab “metallic or white”; flight attendants were “dressed to look like nurses.”

Then it hit her — an idea to exploit the 1960s culture of rebel freedom, eccentricity and vitality. “I saw Braniff in a wash of beautiful color,” she said.

The result was a fleet of airliners, each painted from nose to tail in one of seven bright hues: ocher, orange, turquoise, beige, yellow and two other shades of blue. Interiors were decorated with Herman Miller fabrics. Terminal lounges were redesigned by Alexander Girard with art from Mexico and South America. Flight attendants were attired in Emilio Pucci fashions worn, and removed, in layers during flights, an idea called “the air strip.”

“The End of the Plain Plane,” advertisements boasted. Braniff, suddenly the airline of the youthful jet set, reported an 80 percent leap in business. (Later, when the airline switched agencies, George Lois of Lois, Holland, Callaway contributed the tagline “When you got it — flaunt it!”)

Ms. Wells Lawrence sold Wells Rich Greene to a French company in 1990. Eight years later, with most of its clients and management talent gone, the agency closed. ( Mr. Rich died in 2014, Mr. Greene in 2019.)

Mary Wells Lawrence was born Mary Georgene Berg in Youngstown, Ohio, on May 25, 1928, the only child of Waldemar and Violet (Meltz) Berg. Her father was a furniture salesman.

Mary was shy, and her mother enrolled her in acting, dancing and music classes. She first performed at the Youngstown Playhouse when she was 5, and at 17 she began studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.

When she was 18, she enrolled in the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, where she met Bert Wells. They were married in 1949, divorced in 1952, remarried in 1954 and divorced again in 1965. In 1967 she married Mr. Lawrence, Braniff’s president. Mr. Lawrence died in 2002.

In addition to Ms. Bryan, Ms. Wells Lawrence is survived by another daughter, Pamela Lombard; a stepson, State Lawrence; a stepdaughter, Deborah Lawrence; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Ms. Wells Lawrence wrote ad copy for a Youngstown department store and was an ad manager for Macy’s in New York in the early 1950s before joining the McCann-Erickson agency in 1953. She rose rapidly, but she felt undervalued. She joined Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1957 and became a $40,000-a-year vice president in 1963. Her first memorable ad was for French tourism — a photo of an old man and a child, behind him, riding a bicycle on a country road.

“Think you’ve seen France?” the caption read. “Think again.”

In 1964, she took a $60,000-a-year senior partnership with Jack Tinker & Partners, one of many agencies in the Interpublic Group. The job, she told Fortune magazine, held “the promise of eventual command.” She and a small group, including Mr. Rich and Mr. Greene, known as “Tinker’s Thinkers,” rented an office away from Madison Avenue’s bustle and devised the Alka-Seltzer and Braniff campaigns.

In 1966, having several high-profile campaigns under her belt and feeling entitled, Ms. Wells Lawrence asked for the presidency of Tinker & Partners. Her boss, Marion Harper Jr. , the president and chairman of Interpublic, told her that he would give her presidential authority but not the title — a woman, he said, could not win acceptance as president.

It was her moment of truth.

“He could see that I was feeling a red rage,” she told The Times in 2012. “And he said, ‘You wouldn’t want to ruin something you built.’ And at that point I just walked out the door. It wasn’t as though I wanted to be Betty Friedan . I just wanted my own agency.”

Mr. Rich and Mr. Greene quit, too. Mr. Rich joined her as treasurer and copy chief of the new agency, Mr. Greene as secretary and art director. They set up shop in a hotel suite, signed Braniff as their first client and soon won Benson & Hedges, Burma toiletries and Utica Club beer. Within months, Ms. Wells Lawrence was a national celebrity.

She took her agency public in 1968. In 1977, she profited handsomely by reverting to private ownership. Annual billings eventually reached $885 million, with clients including IBM, Procter & Gamble, Ford, American Motors, Cadbury Schweppes, MCI Communications, Hertz, Philip Morris, and Pan American and Trans World Airlines.

Her friends became a who’s who of American politics, entertainment, communications and corporate life. She was named Woman of the Year by the American Advertising Federation in 1971 and inducted into the American Advertising Hall of Fame in 1999.

In the 1980s, she survived uterine and breast cancer.

Ms. Wells Lawrence had homes in New York and the south of France, but spent most months in later years aboard her yacht in the Mediterranean. In 2020, she relocated to London. Since 2008 she had worked on wowOwow, a website for women, with her friends the book publisher Joni Evans, the columnists Peggy Noonan and Liz Smith , and the broadcast journalist Lesley Stahl. It was merged in 2010 with PureWow , a site aimed at a younger audience.

Michael S. Rosenwald contributed reporting.

An earlier version of this obituary referred imprecisely to Ms. Wells-Lawrence’s role in promoting Braniff International Airways. Though her agency was responsible for redesigning the airline’s planes, terminal lounges and flight attendant uniforms and for the slogan “The end of the plain plane,” it did not create the subsequent campaign built around the slogan “When you got it — flaunt it!” That campaign was created by George Lois after the Braniff account had moved to his agency, Lois, Holland, Callaway.

How we handle corrections

Robert D. McFadden is a Times reporter who writes advance obituaries of notable people. More about Robert D. McFadden


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