Search

Highgate Climate Action Network campaigner: ‘Tourism one of greatest threats to communities’

18:22 10 June 2014

Guyonne James Green Tourism and Sustainability. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Guyonne James Green Tourism and Sustainability. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Guyonne James, a member of Highgate’s Climate Action Network, speaks on the communities who have been forced to pay the price for tourism.

In the village of Las Galletas, Tenerife, where I used to live, there was a series of fisherman huts huddled at the foot of the white, modern hotel buildings along the front.

These rough, earthy buildings contrasted starkly with the bright clean lines of the hotels that towered over them.

In the evenings, golden light would filter from the windows and you would hear muted sounds of conversation and laughter.

I was fascinated by what made them cling to this remnant of a life long superseded by the arrival of tourism.

Weren’t they better off in the bright modern apartments that the tourism dollar made possible for them?

We are told that tourism brings wealth and prosperity to communities, particularly where traditional economic activities are disappearing. And indeed tourism is a hugely important global industry, representing 9 per cent of world GDP and supporting 260 million jobs.

It is a favoured development tool by governments the world over and it continues to grow despite global recessions.

However, there is a dark underside to tourism, a price to pay, not by us, the tourist, but by local people living in the communities we visit.

Ever increasing numbers overwhelm vulnerable communities, undermine cultures and traditions and erode environments.

Tourism has been responsible for the forcible displacement of communities, the Maasai in Kenya, the San in Botswana to name but two.

Precious heritage sites are degraded. How close can we build a hotel on Machu Pichu? How many cruise ships can we fit around the pristine islands of the Galapagos?

Who doesn’t want to go to Burma these days? Yet the floating gardens and exotic temples of Inli Lake are already crumbling from the onslaught of the crowds.

Moreover, promised economic benefits often don’t materialise, as jobs for local people remain low paid, low status and with long hours.

Tourism inflation frequently wipes out any financial benefits, trapping people in poverty.

So, what can we do? We can choose the way we travel, use local hotels and services to ensure the local economy benefits.

We can avoid countries with fragile environments. This is all good.

However, what really needs to happen is for those who drive the tourism economy, multinational businesses and governments, to recognise the brutal inequality in the global trade in tourism services.

They, and only they, have the power to create policies, programmes and practices that ensure the people who host us when we travel actually benefit from our presence.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:50
Left to Right: Artist Dom Pattinson, Zebra One gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy, actor  Phil Daniels and Blur's Dave Rowntree with artwork for auction at the Star Boot Sale

A fan has bid £6,500 on an outfit worn by former Spice girl Melanie Chisholm, which was among celebrity cast-offs being sold off at the Star Boot Sale on Sunday.

Yesterday, 14:44
Barnet and Camden's re-elected Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said the inquiry currently being undertaken by Barnet Councill into the polling day blunder is looking

Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore has claimed the inquiry into the mayoral polling day debacle in Barnet is looking “increasingly like a whitewash”.

Saturday, May 21, 2016
Mayor of Haringey Councillor Ali Ozbek. Photo: Polly Hancock

Haringey appointed its first mayor of Kurdish Alevi descent at a ceremony boosted with overseas family and the Turkish press on Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Pets are leaping forward for initial photoshoots. Picture: Daniel Emani

An aspiring philanthropist is launching a Crouch End pets calendar to fundraise for animals abandoned in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal hit by the eurozone crisis.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Police have released this CCTV image of a car they wish to trace

Detectives have today announced a £5,000 reward to help track down arsonists who destroyed a Muswell Hill community centre.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Oliver McHugh, of Oliver's Town estate agents. Picture: Rena Pearl

An estate agent vandalised a car outside court after he was forced to hand over £3,000 to a recruitment manager in fees and fines.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Highgate residents hold a street party to say goodbye to the Patel family who have run Northwood news community shop for more than 30 years.

Huge crowds gathered in Highgate for a “bittersweet” goodbye to a well-loved community shop after 30 years of business.

Friday, May 20, 2016
Headteacher Mel Servent, comedian Tim Vine and CEO Jo Honigmann at the Globe. Photo: John Macdonald-Fulton

200 guests attended the Wizard of Oz-themed dinner, hosted by comedian Tim Vine.

PROMOTED CONTENT

There are no rules when it comes to buying studio pottery beyond choosing what you love

With The Great Pottery Throwdown captivating viewers across the nation, pottery courses at capacity, and hipsters snapping up vintage studio pieces to display their succulents in and post on Instagram, studio pottery and ceramics are definitely having a moment.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe