How Is Tourism Affecting The Health of Local Communities in Developing Countries

There are many developing countries which attract millions of tourists from all over the world every year and there are many  industries in these countries which are dependent on tourism for survival. But then there is a dark side to the tourism industry as well: The health of the locals suffers as a direct and indirect consequence of foreign tourism. When one travels a poor country he might be affecting the health of the locals even though he might not even be aware of it himself.

What is rather disturbing though is that there a glaring lack of research in this field and as tourism is increasing every year this is something that will have to be looked into.

Here we have attempted to specify how foreign tourism can affect the health of the locals in a developing country. We have tried to categorize the people tourism affect and as to what health problems they are likely to face due to foreign toutism.

Affect On Child Labors:

Child labor is a big problem in all developing nations and often children are seen working as porters and guides in these countries. Often as tourists we are left with little choice than to allow these children to carry our luggage, after all isn’t one suppose to do like the Romans when in Rome? What we might not know is that these children are often exploited and they end up sustaining serious injuries by carrying heavy luggage every day, It is unfortunate but true. This is what difficult to improve.

Many small hotels and resorts employ children as waiters and bell boys. These children are made to carry heavy luggage and made to work over time as a result they sustain injuries and back aches.

The porters and guides suffer from work stress and the because of the longer work hours they sustain work related injuries.

Affect On Porters:

Exploitation is very common in developing nations and the tourism industry is no exception, For examples the porters are paid peanuts by many travel companies and these porters often don’t have enough money to seek proper medical help when need be. Often tourists are not even aware of how much the local porters make per day and end up indirectly exploiting them.

In adventure destinations such as mountain trekking or skiing  locations one might see a guide without proper safety gear on doing  his job regardless. Obviously this practice exposes them to risks of life threatening injuries .

The travel companies which organizes the tours are mostly aware of the situations but choose to be a party in the exploitation. One can inquire these companies about their polices.

Affect On Sex Workers

Other major health impact is being seen in the sex industry. Many developing nations are becoming popular for their sex industry and this makes the sex workers vulnerable to many sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. In a report it was stated that in a particular developing country almost 60% of all sex workers who were infected by HIV were mainly infected due to the travel industry.  In such countries sex workers are also exploited and made to work overtime and as a result they also sustain serious injuries.

Affect On Local Craftsmen

Local industries such as handicraft and fabrics make a huge profit off foreign tourists and their products are in great demand. As a result there is an added work pressure on the local craftsmen who are  mostly underpaid for their work. The exhausting work and nature of the work which often involves pins and needles leave them vulnerable to many occupational hazards. It should also be noted here that many of such industries employs child labors who are also at risk of the work related complications.

The purpose of this article is not to make you feel guilty for touring a third world country but to make you aware how you might be affecting the health of the locals. Your actions directly or indirectly do affect others and obviously there is a few things that you could do such as booking a hotel which doesn’t employ child labors etc. and make sure that you are not involve in such exploitations.

There is a lot of research needed to be done to make certain as to what degree foreign tourism affect the healths of the local. As of now it is rather shocking how little research has taken place on the subject. This article is based in such researches but we feel that there is a need for further inquiry into this matter as the more we will know about it the better we will be able to protect the lives of the locals.

It is a pity that our desire to see different places can have such adverse impacts on others.

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