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How Tourism Benefits Communities

Tourism is one of the most effective ways of redistributing wealth, by moving money into local economies from other parts of the country and overseas. It brings income into a community that would otherwise not be earned.

Economic benefits

Economic benefits resulting from tourism can take a number of forms including:

1. Jobs

Employment may be associated directly, such as tour guide or managerial positions; or in supporting industries like food production or retail suppliers.

2. Increased spending

Increased spending in the community generated from visitors or tourism businesses can directly and indirectly promote the viability of local businesses.

3. Economic diversification

Tourism operators can play a role in highlighting the broad prosperity that tourism can bring to a community and will contribute to a greater understanding and respect for the value of tourism.

Economic diversification is, for many communities, an insurance policy against hard times. By offering an additional means of income, tourism can support a community when a traditional industry is under financial pressure, particularly where that community relies heavily on a single industry.

Case Study: Farmers markets

The popularity of farmers’ markets is increasing becoming a key driver of economic development in regional areas. Activities such as visits to farms and farmers’ markets, fruit picking and agricultural farm accommodation may provide important supplemental activities to struggling rural areas. Some of the benefits of Farmers’ Markets seen include:

  • Showcases local produce and local products
  • Encourage visitors from other areas
  • Showcase the local and regional areas
  • Allows for community events to be incorporated
  • Provides distribution opportunities for small businesses
  • Valuable contribution to the economic development of the area as money is spent locally

4. Infrastructure

Infrastructure including roads, parks, and other public spaces can be developed and improved both for visitors and local residents through increased tourism activity in a region.

Social benefits

Community identity and pride can be generated through tourism. A positive sense of community identity can be reinforced and tourism can encourage local communities to maintain their traditions and identity.

Environmental benefits

Providing financial or in-kind support for the conservation of the local environment and natural resources will enhance the reputation of any tourism business.

Tourism, particularly ecotourism, can place a greater focus on the conservation of natural resources through the recognition of their importance to visitor experiences and their economic value to the local community.


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