What is Tourism?
Tourism is the process which involves the visiting of people to places of interest for pleasure, relaxation, entertainment or education.
Table of Contents
Tourism refers to the activities and industry associated with traveling for leisure, recreation, or business purposes to destinations outside one’s usual environment. It involves individuals or groups of people visiting places away from their homes and engaging in various activities, such as sightseeing, exploring natural or cultural attractions, participating in adventure sports, attending events or conferences, or simply relaxing.
Tourism plays a significant role in the global economy, generating revenue, creating jobs, and fostering cultural exchange. It encompasses a wide range of sectors and services, including transportation, accommodation, food and beverage, entertainment, and recreation. The tourism industry includes businesses and organizations that cater to the needs and preferences of travelers, such as hotels, resorts, restaurants, travel agencies, tour operators, airlines, and tourist attractions.
There are various forms of tourism, including domestic tourism (within one’s own country), international tourism (traveling to foreign countries), and different types of tourism based on specific interests or activities, such as ecotourism, adventure tourism, cultural tourism, medical tourism, and educational tourism.
Tourism can have both positive and negative impacts on destinations. On the positive side, it can contribute to economic growth, job creation, infrastructure development, and cultural understanding. It can also promote the preservation of natural and cultural heritage by supporting conservation efforts and raising awareness. However, tourism can also lead to environmental degradation, cultural commodification, overcrowding, and social and economic inequality if not managed responsibly.
Overall, tourism is a dynamic and multifaceted industry that encompasses the movement of people, the provision of services, and the exploration of different places, contributing to personal enrichment, economic development, and global interconnectedness.
FACTORS FAVOURABLE FOR TOURISM
- Presence of wildlife
- Presence of highlands
- Good accommodation or hotels
- Easy means of communication
- Good transportation network or accessibility
- Availability of fund
- Adequate security
- Political stability.
Here are some explanations for each of them:
1. Presence of wildlife: Wildlife, such as national parks, reserves, and diverse ecosystems, can attract tourists who are interested in observing and experiencing nature. Countries or regions with abundant wildlife often offer opportunities for wildlife safaris, bird watching, and eco-tourism activities, which can be major draws for tourists.
2. Presence of highlands: High-altitude regions with scenic landscapes, mountains, and natural beauty can be attractive to tourists seeking outdoor activities like hiking, mountaineering, skiing, or simply enjoying the panoramic views. These areas can offer unique experiences and breathtaking vistas that appeal to adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.
3. Good accommodation or hotels: Availability of comfortable and well-maintained accommodation options, such as hotels, resorts, lodges, or vacation rentals, is crucial for attracting and accommodating tourists. Quality accommodations that cater to different budgets and preferences are essential for providing a positive experience and ensuring visitor satisfaction.
4. Easy means of communication: Efficient and reliable communication systems, including internet access, mobile networks, and infrastructure for information sharing, play a vital role in facilitating tourism. Tourists rely on communication channels to plan their trips, stay connected, and access necessary information about destinations, attractions, and local services.
5. Good transportation network or accessibility: Accessible transportation infrastructure, including well-connected roads, airports, seaports, and public transportation systems, is important for attracting tourists. Easy accessibility allows visitors to reach their desired destinations conveniently and explore various attractions within a region, thereby enhancing the overall tourism experience.
6. Availability of funds: Adequate financial resources, including investment in tourism infrastructure, marketing campaigns, and support for tourism development, can contribute to the growth of the tourism sector. Funding initiatives can help improve amenities, promote destinations, and create opportunities for tourism businesses to thrive.
7. Adequate security: Providing a safe and secure environment for tourists is crucial for attracting visitors and ensuring their well-being. Effective security measures, including law enforcement, emergency services, and tourist police, help instill confidence among travelers, making them more likely to choose a destination for their trips.
8. Political stability: Political stability and a favorable socio-political environment are important factors that influence tourism. Countries or regions with stable governments, peaceful conditions, and favorable policies tend to inspire confidence in tourists and investors, creating a conducive environment for tourism development.
It’s worth noting that while these factors can contribute to the growth and attractiveness of tourism, each destination may have its unique strengths and characteristics that appeal to specific types of travelers. Additionally, factors like natural and cultural heritage, hospitality, local cuisine, and unique experiences also play significant roles in attracting tourists.
IMPORTANCE OF TOURISM
- Generates foreign exchange
- Provides educational knowledge
- Promotes employment opportunities
- Provision of social amenities
- Conservation of wild life
- Promotes local craft industries
- Diffusion of ideas.
We have highlighted several important aspects of tourism. Here’s a further explanation of the importance of each:
1. Generates foreign exchange: Tourism can be a significant source of foreign exchange earnings for countries. When tourists visit a destination, they spend money on accommodations, food, transportation, shopping, and various services, contributing to the local economy. This influx of foreign currency can help strengthen a country’s balance of payments and support economic growth.
2. Provides educational knowledge: Tourism offers opportunities for cultural exchange and learning. Travelers can gain firsthand experiences and insights into different cultures, traditions, and historical sites. They can learn about the local heritage, architecture, art, cuisine, and traditions, promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.
3. Promotes employment opportunities: The tourism industry is a major employer worldwide. It creates job opportunities directly in sectors such as hospitality, transportation, tour guiding, and attractions management. Additionally, tourism has a multiplier effect on employment by supporting indirect jobs in related industries, including agriculture, handicrafts, entertainment, and retail.
4. Provision of social amenities: To cater to tourists’ needs, destinations often develop and improve social amenities and infrastructure. This includes the construction of hotels, resorts, restaurants, recreational facilities, transportation networks, and public services like healthcare and sanitation. The presence of these amenities benefits both tourists and local residents, enhancing the overall quality of life.
5. Conservation of wildlife: Tourism can contribute to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. Many tourists are drawn to destinations known for their rich biodiversity and natural beauty. In order to preserve these attractions, governments and local communities often establish protected areas, national parks, and wildlife reserves. Tourism revenue can be used to fund conservation efforts, support sustainable practices, and raise awareness about environmental preservation.
6. Promotes local craft industries: Tourism can provide a market and demand for locally produced handicrafts, artwork, and traditional products. Tourists often seek authentic souvenirs and unique items that reflect the local culture and heritage of a destination. This can support local artisans and craft industries, preserving traditional skills and generating income for local communities.
7. Diffusion of ideas: Tourism facilitates the exchange of ideas and knowledge between different cultures and societies. When people from diverse backgrounds interact through travel, they share perspectives, traditions, and innovations, fostering cultural understanding and promoting tolerance. This cultural exchange can lead to the enrichment of local communities and the broader society.
It’s important to note that while tourism offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges. Sustainable tourism practices, responsible management of resources, and consideration for the social and environmental impacts are essential to ensure the long-term benefits of tourism are maximized while minimizing negative effects.
GENERAL EVALUATION QUESTIONS
- What is tourism?
- What is a resort centre?
- Mention five resort centers in Nigeria
- Mention ten tourist areas in Africa.
- What are the factors that promote tourism?
On a sketch map of Africa, show the following highlands (i) Kilimanjaro (ii) Atlas (iii) Drakensberge (iv) Guinea highland.