by Ben Heron
Local people must try not to become dependent upon tourism, yet
at the same time, they need to make the most of what it can offer
while it exists as a resource.
If we are to create a sustainable future and save our planet
from destruction we must start thinking on a much larger time-scale;
we must put our children's needs ahead of our own.
Tourism can serve to revitalize traditions, customs and institutions
as well as generate income to reduce poverty and conserve natural
environments. Not only can tourism be used to improve the economic
and environmental conditions of tourist destinations; it can also
contribute to cross-cultural understanding and the development
of world peace.
Tourism is an industry that carries people, ideas and messages
to all corners of the earth, so it is essential for tourists to
remember that they "are both teachers and students whose
classroom is the world" (Jafari).
Through tourism, western tourists can experience and learn other
ways of living that can be applied to daily life in the West.
At the same time, western tourists can try to raise awareness
to prevent 'less developed' societies from making the same ecological
mistakes that have been made in the West. Through such cultural
interchange, we can work towards living on a more sustainable,
harmonious and peaceful planet. Changes need to be made though,
not just by the tourist industry, but also by the tourists and
the tourist destinations.