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The Interrelationship of Tourism and Society

Sociology is the study of social structures and human connections. Sociology aims to explain how human activity and awareness are influenced by surrounding cultural and social systems by unifying the study of these disparate fields. Sharma (2021) claims that one of sociology’s specializations and subfields is tourism, which uses sociological ideas, methodologies, and frameworks. Models and theories may be explanatory, descriptive, or predictive. Tourist activity, social aspects of tourism, its effects, traveler motivation and role, and social, economic, and cultural repercussions in both the host and destination countries are a few topics covered in sociological studies of tourism.

Because it is “the phenomenon and interactions emerging from the engagement of tourists’ businesses suppliers, host governments, and host communities in recruiting and hosting these tourists and other visitors,” tourism may be referred to as “the whole of these phenomena and connections.” Sharma (2002). Domestic, foreign, and international tourism are the three sorts. A collection of individuals with a shared industrial, social, and economic infrastructure is referred to as a society (Andrew & Leopold,2013). Furthermore, they contend that civilisation creates social groupings and molds cultures. It permits control of how public facilities are distributed and fosters interpersonal harmony. According to the UN, sustainable tourism “addresses the demands of travelers, the industry, the environment, and host communities, taking full account of its present and future economic, social, and environmental implications.”

According to Apostolopoulos et al. (2013), tourism involves cross-cultural interaction between people from different nations and fosters peace and harmony. Tourism enhances communication between communities and adjacent countries by promoting cultural understanding, mutual respect, and peace. Tourists are aware of and appreciate the art, architecture, and other aspects that greatly influence them. This essay aims to show how tourism and society are interconnected by highlighting tourism’s many effects on society. The effects on culture, socioeconomics, environment, and economy include both sound and negative, direct and indirect effects. The essay also predicts how tourism and society will function in the future:

Economic Impacts of Tourism

Tourism’s direct and indirect economic consequences on society are both beneficial and destructive. The direct effects category represents the GDP produced by enterprises directly associated with the tourism sector. This includes travel agencies, hotels, tour operators, airlines, restaurants, and other businesses that serve tourists (WTTC 2019). The term “indirect effects” describes the results of the sector’s activities. Three factors affect them: Spending by companies in unrelated sectors on tourism-related assets like transportation and hotels is considered part of the tourism industry’s total capital investment. “Government spending on tourism” refers to federal, state, and municipal dollars spent boosting the travel and hospitality industries. Other tasks include management and guest services, as well as the promotion of tourism. Implications for the Supply Chain: This refers to the money companies spend in the tourism sector on domestic goods and services that will be utilised as raw materials to produce finished goods.

According to Sharma (2021), there are six key ways that tourism directly affects the more extensive economy: Employment Creation: When tourism-related activities result in jobs being created via a variety of channels, such as hotel personnel, tour guides, and chefs. Food and furnishings are examples of the services and goods that national or local firms may provide to the tourist industry (WTTC 2019). When domestic production falls short of meeting consumer demand in terms of price, quality, or quantity, imports may be necessary. Retailers in popular tourist destinations may reap the economic advantages of the influx of tourists right away via direct sales of products and services. Construction of Tourism Businesses: High levels of tourist activity encourage the development of new businesses and the creation of new jobs. Tax and Levy Generation: The local, federal, and state governments get more revenue from tourism-related enterprises paying taxes directly to the government and tourists paying taxes.Investment in Infrastructure – As the tourist industry grows, so will its demands on the local infrastructure, which drives infrastructure investment from the public or private sector.

However, the adverse economic effects include the following: In many cases, residents have to pay extra for transportation, meals, and other needs because of a sudden increase in demand caused by an influx of visitors. Owners of second homes in popular tourist areas sometimes only spend a fraction of the year there. Disputes between residents and tourists are common because of the rising cost of living brought on by the demand for vacation homes, which makes it harder for locals, especially young people, to buy their first homes (Apostolopoulos et al., 2013).

According to research, the sector globally supports (WTTC, 2019): 5 times the employment of the automobile industry; 5 times the number of employees in the worldwide chemical industry; four times the number of jobs in the mining sector; twice as the number of jobs in the communications sector; and fifteen more jobs than in the financial service sector. The main economic benefit of tourism-related activities is their contribution to the three top priorities of developing nations: employment, revenue creation, and foreign currency earnings. In this regard, tourism may significantly contribute to economic growth (Sparrowly Group, 2022).

Environmental Impacts

There are cases in which environmental change is sparked in part because of the positive impact tourism has on the local ecosystem. Several once-derelict factories and other locations in the United Kingdom have been renovated into tourist destinations (Fletcher, 2018). The tourist industry has also benefited from the revitalization of once-abandoned waterways. Historic buildings such as churches, castles, and cathedrals may be preserved for future generations with the help of tourism, which can help generate funding for restoration work on these sites.

However, several travel and tourist activities hurt the environment. Natural resources deplete when visitors use a lot of water and other resources in areas where such items are in short supply. Water Waste: Excessive Use of Water Caused by Tourist Attractions Like Swimming Pools, Garden Maintenance, and Individual Use. Local Resources: Increased tourism may increase the need for energy, food, and raw materials. According to the WTTC (2020), tourism may harm biodiversity by overfishing and trekking. Pollution: tourism may cause pollution by releasing air pollutants, solid waste, and wastewater. Noise & Air Pollution: As the number of tourists grows, the tourism industry’s role as a significant producer of pollutants increases. Based on data from 2005, the WTTC (2019) studied the effect of tourism on carbon emissions, and it was realized that the sector contributed almost 5% of all carbon emissions.

Social Impacts

People travel for many reasons, but one of the most common is to broaden their horizons by meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. “(Fletcher, 2018)” Improvements done with tourists in mind frequently result in a positive return on investment. No rule prevents locals from enjoying tourist spots that cater exclusively to visitors (Philipp, 2022). Travelers typically have a deeper appreciation for the culture of the places they visit. It has been shown that an increase in tourism has a positive effect on a region’s economic prosperity and educational level.

Negative social repercussions have been seen. Most of them involve problems between guests and the locals. These could develop due to the activities of residents who are upset about tourists intruding on their area. Local crimes increase, including robbery, prostitution, illicit gambling, and drug trafficking. Locals, in particular places, have been forced to leave their traditional homes to create room for tourist development. Seasonal work, or more accurately, unemployment, is another frequent problem (Philipp, 2022).

Cultural Impacts

Due to tourism, there may be a greater demand for regionally produced food and drink and an increased interest in preserving traditional arts like music. As a result of increased demand from tourists, several indigenous communities have begun producing and selling arts and crafts. To keep a place’s unique culture alive, tourist marketing is essential, says WTTC (2020). In recent years, concern has grown that rapid growth in mass tourism might damage local cultures. Instead of urging visitors to consume local dishes, giving them ethnic cuisine and beverages that they are used to is simpler. Staging of performances, such as Spanish dancing, in which the local culture is insulted or made fun of to attract visitors (WTTC 2020).

According to WTTC (2021), the tourism sector has to acknowledge that it produces a significant amount of carbon emissions and look into strategies to do so while preserving the mobility required for travel. Local tourist stakeholders must be aware of the threat they pose to protecting their original local surroundings and take action to ensure their activities are sustainable.

Future of Tourism and Society

According to Vintean (2019), international tourism is expected to expand rapidly by 2023. As of that year, there will have been 1.6 billion tourists from all around the world. With better transportation links, more people will visit the UK. According to the UN (2016), many factors will determine the future tourism business’s course. The increasing number of people on Earth, the expansion of international trade and travel, the emergence of affluent middle classes in emerging markets, the advent of low-cost airlines and their effect on consumer behaviour, and the development of new technologies that influence costs, travel times, and information dissemination are all factors to consider.

Longer flights are now possible with new aircraft technology while simultaneously reducing emissions, fuel consumption, and noise. According to Vintean (2019), Clouds in the sky include the availability and cost of energy, terrorist attacks, and political unrest worldwide. Buyers are starting to pay attention to carbon dioxide levels and environmental consequences. Companies of all sizes are beginning to understand the importance of environmental protection. This is often a result of public demand. The aviation industry, a significant contributor to carbon emissions, is under intense scrutiny.

According to United Nations, Some preventative measures that can be put in place for future development include using newer planes and greener technologies and allowing consumers to offset their emissions by donating to environmental causes. Because of the damage it does to the planet, flying can lose its appeal. Better fuel efficiency, carbon dioxide collection and storage, and alternative fuel mixes might benefit the aviation industry. As a means of mitigating their impact on the planet and becoming ready for a future with fewer resources, several industries advocate for eco-friendly and sustainable technologies.

Countless variables have an impact on the tourist industry. United Nations (2016) predicts cultural and social disruptions brought by the global crisis and mindful consumerism. The emphasis is no longer on the individual but on the group. In the wake of the Great Recession, prudent consumption has taken the place of frivolous spending. Consumers’ perceptions of brands and the values they represent are shifting. Plans include promoting mindful travel, i.e., keeping in mind the true purpose of travel, which is to familiarise oneself with the locals, form meaningful relationships with the landscape, and absorb as much of the history and culture of the place visited as one’s own pace allows (Legislation 2016).

In conclusion, there are four connected ways that tourism affects economies: positively and negatively, directly and indirectly. Direct effects come directly from tourism-related activities, such as tourist spending, employment in the industry, and taxes generated by these activities. The influence of tourism on other economic sectors, such as hotels buying products from shops or procuring food from growers, results in indirect effects. The economic impact of the tourist industry on a nation is determined by these effects and the sector’s organisational structure. The statistics on the direct and overall impacts of the tourist industry reveal considerable positive economic consequences, and the section demonstrates an apparent beneficial influence on growth by the sector. The favourable effects of tourism on employment are similar to those of growth.

Overall, the tourist industry supports a sizeable number of employees and performs well compared to other important industries like the extractive, financial, and car manufacturing sectors. Depending on the nation and how prevalent tourism is, its effects vary, but generally, it is a net contributor to employment. Compared to growth and employment, the impact of tourism on incomes is more challenging to measure, primarily because of the sparse data and the global scale. The data on how tourism affects growth and employment is sufficient to understand the “raw” effects of the industry. However, more information is needed on how the industry affects incomes, livelihoods, and poverty, making it more challenging to measure and track how it affects equality. Due to the scarcity of impact data, it is more challenging to accurately estimate tourism’s environmental effects. However, there needs to be more information on the industry’s other environmental effects, such as waste, deforestation, and land degradation. However, data indicates that tourism may have a negative environmental effect since GHG emissions rise when travel demand rises along with the sector’s demand.


Apostolopoulos, Y., Leivadi, S. and Yiannakis, A., 2013. The sociology of tourism: Theoretical and empirical investigations. Routledge.

Fletcher, J., Fyall, A., Gilbert, D. and Wanhill, S., 2018. Tourism: Principles and Practice (6th Editio). Harlow, England: Pearson. 2016. Equality Act 2010.

Miles, S. (2021). Consumer Culture. Oxford Bibliographies Online

Philipp, J., 2022. World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). In Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing (pp. 806-808). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Sharma, S. (2021). Introduction to tourism. New Delhi: SAGE Publications

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WTTC, 2020. Travel & Tourism: Global Economic Impact & Trends 2020. World Travel & Tourism Council, pp.1-20.


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