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Impacts of tourism
Posted: 4 August 2007

Hicks is right in what he says and having tramped around South East Asia last year for several weeks we saw the worst of Western European excesses in the sex trade in Thailand,locals touting brazenly for business with mobile PA systems, and foreign traders [non Thai] jostling out the locals for tourist business. We were left sadly disillusioned too by the behaviour of many tourists towards their hosts. Some of the places we visited are so overloaded with people that they are rapidly being destroyed by the sheer volume of visitors. We spent a lot of time talking to local poeple about their country and were fascinated by the culture and the wonderful courtesy we enjoyed, but at the same time were alarmed by the commercialisation of fragile natural resources and the invasion of the tourist into rural villages to "see how the local people lived".
Eco-tourism is a big buzzword here in Africa but there does seem to be an attempt at local government level to encourage involvment of the local community rather than import tourguides and the like. Let's hope we keep our tourism "rustic" and keep away the hordes that invade southern Europe and South East Asia every year. Its the old story of insufficient resources for a burgeoning population.
Regards John

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