Tourism is currently one of the world’s largest global industries and the fastest growing economic segments, with much of the growing market focused around the primeval natural environments such as coastal areas (Tourism Today, 2011). Tourism encompasses the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one uninterrupted year for vacation, commercial and other purposes. It also involves the activities of people, referred to as tourists or visitors, during their visit to these destinations and the facilities and services utilized during their stay (Tourism Today, 2011). These tourists spend money earned in their places of residence at their home country. This money, termed foreign exchange in the visited destination, is used for balance of payment in other countries (About the Tourism Industry, 2014). Foreign exchange enables countries to purchase the goods and services needed to stimulate their economies, thus generating wealth and employment.
In The Bahamas, tourism provides foreign exchange which allows the government to pay bills such as import of goods and food, and foreign liability. When there is foreign revenue in The Bahamas, it allows The Bahamian dollar to stay on equivalence with the United States dollar. Tourism provides jobs for thousands of Bahamians both directly and indirectly ( Bahamas advises on Sustainable Tourism, 2011). Just fewer than 50% of all persons in The Bahamas are directly employed in tourism, and if you add those who are indirectly employed in tourism, the percentage increases to 70% (About the Tourism Industry, 2014). The Bahamas as a labour force of 164,675, the economy depends heavily on the tourism sector to provide employment. Tourism therefore, plays an extremely important role in ensuring that Bahamians are employed (Tourism Today, 2011). If tourists do not come to The Bahamas for a period of time, persons employed directly in tourism could begin to lose their jobs and this would affect the economy.
Within the tourism industry, there are benefits and impacts that affect every sector of the country, whether it is direct or indirect. An increased in tourism offers many economic, environmental, and social benefits, but an incursion of visitors also may vitiate economic, environmental, and social aspects as well (Edwards, 2004). Tourism can benefit local communities and coastal areas through revenue generation and employment, local job conception and affluence, infrastructure and community amenities, awareness of the need for preservation, investment in the environment and cultural heritage, and the contribution to maintainable community livelihoods (About the Tourism Industry, 2014). However, tourism can also hover coastal areas resources by terminating habitat, disconcerting wildlife, impacting water quality, and lurk communities by over-development, crowding, and interference of local culture.
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