Tourism is simply defined as an act where people travel to places of monuments or histories outside their place of resident or work, for pleasure, relaxation or holiday. Activities in tourism include sightseeing and camping.
The World Tourism Organization also defined tourism more generally, in terms that goes “beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only”, but as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”.
While tourism is divided into many types such as: Religious tourism, Education tourism, Medical tourism, Mass tourism, Social tourism, winter tourism and so on, One thing is common to them all, and that is people leaving their place of work or residence to visit these monumental sites.
People who travel for fun are called tourist, the place where they camp or stay is called resort, and the places where people go to for tourism are called tourist destinations.
Tourism can be international or domestic (within the traveler’s country) with both incoming and outgoing implications on the country’s balance of payment.
Apart from being a way of preserving nature and histories for generations to come, tourism is also a way of generating income for the nation, state and town that is the host to the tourism center(s). Recent finding shows that many nations of the world have made so much money from tourism, and it has accounted for 30% of the world trade of services[H1] .
Ogun state has been blessed with so many tourist attractions which has the capacity of changing the fortune of the state. In the last few years, I have traversed the length and breadth of the state. To my amazement, many of the host communities of tourist sites have not fully taken advantage of the gold mine in their “backyard”.
In view of this, it has become imperative to enlighten the host communities on what they stand to gain when tourists start trooping into their communities. Here are some of the benefits
Employment: This is one of the greatest benefits (if not the best) that a community can benefit from for been a host to a tourist site, skilled and unskilled jobs like tour guide, hotel staffs, coaching services, restaurants, etc., will be made available for the benefit of residents of the community.
Diversification: It serves as another source of income for the community, especially a community that relies on just one source of income. It gives an alternative to the community in a situation where the community source of income collapse or suffer a setback. It is an act of insurance policy, helping the community to rely less on one source of income.
Increase the spending in the community: With tourists paying visits to the tourist destinations, circulation of money in the community will increase. There will be huge basic human requirement that will need to be purchased like food, medical services, transportation, clothing and so on all these be have to be purchased in the community. Because tourists are spending in the host community, the money made will be injected into the economy of the host community thus improving the standard of living.
Infrastructure: When a tourist center in a community starts gaining the attention of people from all over, and starts generating income for the economy, the government will improve the infrastructure of the community like good roads, electricity, hospitals, etc., in order to make the community conducive for tourist and also attracts prospective tourist to the country, state, and community of the site. The community will definitely be the beneficiary of the developments.
Opportunities: Bringing tourists into a community give opportunities for entrepreneur to establish businesses/ products and services, it also gives a boost to the local industry since the goods and services will be sourced for locally.
Social advantage: Apart from the fact that tourism is a means of generating income for the economy, it also has cultural advantages. It serves as a source of pride to the community and allows them to look at their history and cultural heritage. This can inspire them to develop their own identity.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that host communities of tourist sites have so much to gain. This is one of the reasons the government is been called upon to give the necessary attention to this sector, and upgrade the centers that need to be upgraded so that the nation, state and especially the communities of these spots can enjoy the benefits highlighted above.
Writes from UK
[H1]Countries in particular?