- By Hnin Lae (Tourism)
Generally, jobs, income international relations, and high social standards are acknowledged as the characteristics of tourism. Tourists may have various reasons for visiting different destinations. A tourist will spend money for services and goods during his visit. So, tourism is a business of providing services, food, accommodation, transport pleasure, safety, and new experiences and so on for a guest his private visit.
Nowadays, countries are prioritizing the task of developing their economy, improving living standards of citizens, generating jobs and reducing unemployment, and they have found that tourism is the best answer to all those priority sectors. So, they adopt master plans and strategies for tourism development.
World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) conducted an annual analysis quantifying the global economic and employment impact of travel and tourism in 185 countries and 25 regions of the world. The World Travel & Tourism Council’s research reveals that the tourism sector accounted for 10.4% of global GDP and 319 million jobs, or10% of total employment in 2018. The division of overall spend is firmly weighted towards the leisure market, which represented 78.5% of the total compared with 21.5% for business spend, and the sector accounted for 6.5% of total global exports and 27.2% of total global service exports. Domestic tourism, which represented 71.2% of all tourism spending in 2018 and had the strongest growth in developing nations, continues to support opportunities by spreading development and regional economic benefits and building national pride.
In fact, tourism is a smokeless industry that ensures indirect benefits for the supporting businesses and also generates income for the state and all strata of life of the people.
The tourism industry benefits all the stakeholders from horse carriage drives, tour guides and companies to hotels, restaurants, transporters and souvenir shops. The food and beverage industry and agro-industry are also enjoying the indirect benefits of the tourism business. Generally, a government of a nation is among the main players of its tourism industry together with private enterprises, non-governmental organizations and local communities and people.
The government’s role
The government is the main organization that is adopting and realizing tourism policies, inviting investments, facilitating the functions of the tour and travel companies, transporter companies and other businesses, recruiting manpower for the industry, taking safety measures and arranging international connections. In turn, the government can channel the revenues and investments from the industry in the national economic drive and in protecting and preserving national heritage, culture, and archaeological sites and improving the living standard of the people.
The involvement of resident communities is also important for the tourism industry, apart from the people who are directly involved in it. Their attitudes, hospitality, and support are of vital importance. As community-based tourism has direct involvement of the residents, their suggestions, views, and trends should be taken into account. Their roles should be enhanced through training, transparent reports on the benefits and proceeds. Many developing countries are effectively using community-based tourism as the driving force behind employment reduction and job generation programs.
Myanmar started community-based tourism in 2015. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism of the country and private enterprises jointly set up 18 community-based destinations in 43 villages, with the aim of encouraging the participation of resident communities in the industry and developing their socio-economy through the establishment of direct profit-sharing channels.
Tourism and the role of women
Women are joining the tourism sector that generates more jobs than other industries. If compared with other industries, the number of women taking part in the industry is two times higher. Their roles range from handicraft business to hospitality services. So, women are earning income for their households, and in some cases, they the breadwinners of a household, thus helping improve the socio-economic and living standards their families. So we must promote the role of women in the tourism industry. They should enjoy equal rights with their male counterparts and should be given the leading role in some issues or businesses. Besides, there should not be any gender discrimination in any workplace or occupation. Moreover, women should be provided with proper training and encouragement and support to run small or medium tour businesses.
The development of tourism will bring infrastructure development for many sectors and places, especially the remote areas. The industry will act as an engine of growth for improving the transport sector, water and electricity supply, education, language proficiency and perspectives of the people of faraway places. Community-based tourism allows people of remote areas to have the chance to share or exchange cultural and social values with visitors from many different places of the world. In this way, they will cherish and understand the culture and traditions and archaeological heritages more.
According to the World Tourism Organization report on tourism towards 2030, the future brings enormous opportunities for tourism to take centre stage in the political and economic agenda, seeking recognition for its contribution to economic growth and development. It also brings added challenges and responsibilities for our sector to take the lead in mitigating its potential negative impacts on host communities and the environment. It will be the leader in protecting and preserving the cultural heritages, bringing sustainable economic and social progress of the countries. As the task of bringing sustainable progress and eternal peace for the mankind remains important in the future, we all should join hands with the tourism industry and strive in accordance with the theme of the World Tourism Day 2019 “Tourism and Jobs: A Better Future for All” for creating a pleasant future for the entire planet.