VII Congreso mundial de pastoral del turismo. Cancún 2012
El turismo, un recurso para salir de la pobreza
Por: Su Excia. Mons. Paul Ruzoka Runangaza. Arzobispo de Tabora (Tanzania) | Fuente: VII Congreso mundial de pastoral del turismo
Existen datos que confirman que el turismo contribuye notablemente al crecimiento económico de los países con
economías pobres, mediante las ganancias que genera el ingreso de divisas, la creación de oportunidades de
empleo y la provisión de ingresos públicos.
Por lo tanto, es de crucial importancia animar a los participantes en el sector del turismo, tanto a nivel nacional
como local, a diversificar sus carteras de inversiones estableciendo: estrategias sostenibles de lucha contra la
pobreza, incluida la diversificación de las fuentes para los requisitos básicos de subsistencia.
Sin embargo, los impactos negativos como los problemas medioambientales, la contaminación cultural y el
comportamiento inmoral, atentan contra el actual e impresionante crecimiento del Turismo. Es necesario
afrontarlos para apoyar al Turismo como fuente destinada a reducir la pobreza.
Nosotros, en calidad de Iglesia, debemos ser más conscientes de los valores culturales y religiosos de las personas,
e intentar hallar la manera de protegerlas. Nuestra participación e implicación en la vida de las personas afectadas
negativamente por el turismo, nos permite ayudarlas a entender el choque de culturas.
Por otro lado, es necesario
contar con pastores cualificados, que puedan asistir a los turistas en áreas específicas tales como los lugares de
culto, incluyendo la entrega de material que recoge información histórica de dichos lugares.
2. Cambio de divisas
4. Impactos Negativos Directos
- Los problemas medioambientales
- La contaminación cultural
- El comportamiento inmoral
- Los efectos ecológicos
5. Impactos Negativos Indirectos
- La exclusión de la población local al acceso a los recursos
- El uso Intensificado de los recursos lejos de las áreas turísticas
- El incremento del uso de los peces y otros productos marino costeros
- El desplazamiento de las Personas de su Tierra
I would like to extend to you cordial greetings and Easter wishes from the Tanzanian Episcopal
Conference. In a very special way, I wish to acknowledge the presence of Antonio Maria Card. Vegliò, the
President of the pontifical council for pastoral care of migrants and itinerant people and his secretary
Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil. I thank them for inviting me to this conference; I also wish to convey
my best wishes to all the participants in this Congress.
Indeed Rev. Fr. Gallus Marandu and I are very pleased to take part in this, the 7th World Congress
on Pastoral Care of Tourism.
1. In most developing countries endowed with significant touristic attractions, tourism has emerged
as a new impetus for economic growth, given its ability to generate foreign exchange and employment. The
components of poverty alleviation, social responsibility and ecological respect have a close association in
tourism with which this Congress is concerned.
According to the World Tourism Organization statistics, tourism is among those activities that have
experienced great and rapid growth, with international tourist travel numbering 534 million in 1995 and
682 million in 2000, estimates from the organization´s "Tourism 2020 Vision" report are 1.006 billion
tourists for the year 2010 reaching 1.561 billion in 2020, at an average annual growth rate of 4.1%. And to
these statistics of international tourism one would have to add the even more important internal tourism
numbers. All of this points to strong growth in this economic sector, which brings with it some major effects
on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and the consequent danger of their transformation
into serious environmental impacts - especially in regard to the exorbitant consumption of limited
resources (such as potable water and land) and the enormous generation of pollution and residues,
exceeding the quantities that might be withstood by a determined area.
2. Poverty alleviation is of a major concern for many developing countries and can be alleviated
mainly through achieving higher sectoral growth and ensuring that the poor have a share in that growth.
There is evidence that tourism contributes a lot to the economic growth of even countries with poor
economies through foreign exchange earnings, creation of employment opportunities and provision of
public revenues. With proper interventions, such economic benefits can play a crucial role in the process of
poverty alleviation. In general, tourism has become a significant industry in both poor and rich economies
because of its important impacts on economic, livelihood and socio-cultural development (Shah 2000).
Theoretically tourism is an economic activity, which belongs to the invisible trade section of the
balance of payments accounts. It is deemed to be an export of services to the foreign countries from which
the visitors originate. For the local or domestic tourists, tourism is accounted for within the internal trade
regime and captured from the relevant sectors. Given the above, tourism as a sector can theoretically be
linked to poverty alleviation by identifying its advantages in the development of local economies.
For example, Tanzania is rapidly catching up with leading African tourist destinations, taking a sixth
position (in earnings) in 1997 after South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritius and Kenya, but number eight
in arrivals, after Zimbabwe and Botswana. While Kenya still had 951,000 visitors in 1998 and Tanzania only
half of that (482,000 visitors), its earnings ($570 million) surpassed those of Kenya ($358 million) for the
first time in that year. Some other African countries have managed to attract many tourists and increased
substantially their earnings from tourism. South Africa for instance, earns over $ 2 billion from tourism,
with over 5 million arrivals per year. Tanzania, too with her great tourist potentials could increase
substantially its earnings from tourism.
2. Foreign exchange
3. The consumer (tourist arrivals) comes to the destination, thereby providing opportunities for
selling additional goods and services (e.g. agricultural products, handicrafts) produced by locals including
the poor. The resulting income and employment generation may help reduce poverty levels of the local
residents. In addition, the poor can reduce their poverty if the earnings from tourism are used to support
their health and education services.
In developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa, net foreign exchange contribution
amounted to 2.6, 2.6 and 0.7 billion dollars respectively (Sinclair et al 1995). It is an important foreign
exchange earner in many of the Asian economies such as Thailand and Indonesia as well as small-island
economies such as Fiji, Jamaica, Bermuda, Maldives and Seychelles (Sinclair, 1998:22). By 1994, tourism
provided about 70 percent of total foreign exchange earnings for Seychelles.
In a country like Tanzania, where more than 25 per cent of Tanzania’s land area is covered with
magnificent game reserves (29 game reserves), national parks (13 national parks) and 40 controlled
conservation areas and marine parks and a home to the famous Roof of Africa - Mount Kilimanjaro. The
tourist industry currently supports 27,000 jobs and generates 25% of Tanzania´s foreign exchange. Tanzania
expected to receive one million tourists by the end of 2011 and generate about US$1.7 billion (about Sh2.7
trillion) in revenue. On 6th of January 2012 the New York Times awarded Tanzania the 7th position among
45 top destinations to visit in this year 2012.
Further evidence on the importance of tourism from some African countries indicates that, in
Kenya it has overtaken primary commodity exports of coffee and tea accounting for 13% of Kenya’s exports.
Tourism export earnings reached 37% of total Kenya’s export earnings relative to 26% for coffee and 20%
for tea (Sinclair et al 1995).
4. Employment is also often higher in tourism than in other sectors, and wages compare well with
other sectors but inversely related to jobs. Wages of hotel employees compare favourably with those in
agriculture, and even more when compared to subsistence agriculture.
Tourism offers opportunities in terms of employment creation and income generation, to the
vulnerable groups such as women to reduce their poverty levels. Thus, poverty may be reduced as tourism
creates new employment opportunities and income generating activities. For example in Malta direct
employment in hotels increased from 7,375 employees in 1990 to 9,533 employees in 2000 (Malta Tourism
Authority, 2001). Sometimes the infrastructure and social service facilities are established or improved
using earnings from tourism. Using such facilities the poor not only improve their incomes but also their
social well being and capabilities.
4. Direct Negative Impacts
5. Some negative effects arising from tourism can have unfavorable economic effects. These
include the large-scale transfer of tourism revenue out of the host country and exclusion of local businesses,
inhabitants and products. These result into losses of incomes to the displaced particularly because in most
cases the tourist industry is highly imports dependent. In general it is therefore possible that, the poor may
gain few direct economic benefits from tourism while bearing many of the costs hence fail to reduce their
Currently, however, most tourism development plans include Environmental Impact Assessments
(EIAs) to avoid or minimise the negative impacts (on environment). The idea is to find ways of trying to
mitigate those costs while maximising the economic benefits to the poor. Reducing poverty through
engaging in tourist activities is theoretically possible. However, due to the process of globalisation,
modernisation and information technology the poor may not automatically reduce their poverty through
Environmental Problems: Much has been said about the environmental impacts of tourism, for
example, pollution, coral reef damage or spoiling the beauty of a palm-fringed beach. Larsen (1998) there
are negative environmental impacts, which need to be assessed and addressed properly. ODI (1999) also
points out that with increased tourist activities many people suffer reduced access to natural resources
and/or degradation of natural resources on which they depend. Others are evicted from their land to give
way to promoting tourism (establishing game parks).
Cultural pollution: Cultural pollution has been cited as common especially in small island states. For
example in Zanzibar - Tanzania, despite an official preference for low-volume, high-cost tourists, the
practice has been to attract back-packers reportedly to have a high (but unspecified) cultural impact on the
local Muslim society (Briguglio et al 1996). It is estimated that 95% of the population of Zanzibar is Muslim.
Therefore, the large influx of tourists, most of them being non- Moslem, poses a real danger to the local
culture. The situation is further complicated by wide cultural gaps between guest and host. However,
studies from Asian countries indicate that fears of tourism threatening local cultures are often misplaced.
The cultural changes that accompany tourism are part of the general changes that take place as
communities adapt to new economic realities. Some communities are more able to resist the pressure for
cultural change (Shah and Gupta, 2000).
Immoral Behaviour: In many of the receiving countries such type of tourists have been associated
with immoral behaviours like drug abuse, sexual immorality, loose hygienic standards, crime, laziness and
exploitation (O’Grady 1982). It is further noted in ODI (2010), that potentially local cultures and morals are
corrupted by contact between the local poor and wealthy hedonist tourist visitors. In particular, tourism
tends to encourage prostitution or sex industry. This problem is also noted by Kulindwa, et al (2001), who
point out that tourism development creates a fertile ground from which social and cultural problems spring
up. The occurring anti-social behaviour and socially unacceptable tendencies include prostitution, drug
abuse, alcoholism, child labour and truancy.
Ecological Effects: This notion of deep ecology, which fosters a deep sense of respect for the earth
and all beings, has to be addresses when considering the earth as a living system.
Tourists in this case often drop litter causing harm to wildlife and humans alike, they may camp in odd
places spoiling the looks of the countryside. The facilities needed for tourists travel are increasingly bad for
the environment. Tourists trample plants and vegetation destroying animal habitats, carry away sand on
their feet slowly eroding the beaches, for example in Benidorm the beaches are being worn away by
Tourists feet and the government in Benidorm is spending £700,000 on the upkeep of the beaches.
5. Indirect Negative Impacts
6. Exclusion of local people from access to resources: Generally there has been a tendency of
excluding local people from land allocated to investors. Although this is not intentional, the practice has
been so. In Tanzania, this was found to be prominent in Kiwengwa (North Unguja) in Zanzibar where some
investors have direct exclusive use of near-shore coral reefs, whereas the locals have been denied this right.
Intensified utilization of resources outside tourism areas: The exclusion of local people from land
allocated to tourism investors and the alienation of some resources (such as coral reefs) for tourist
purposes has intensified the use of similar resources elsewhere, that is, outside tourism areas. This is a
common case in mining centres.
Increased utilization of fish and other coastal marine products: Presence of tourist hotels normally
increases the price fishermen receive for their fish and other marine products. But on the other hand, there
are no prospects for sustainable supply of these resources as hotel demand could exhaust them. There
were reported cases of periodic shortages of some preferred species of fish in hotels in North Unguja
(Kiwengwa) and Bagamoyo. However, one has to note that shortages may be a reflection of either
exhaustion of resource or limited capacity to fish to meet growing demand.
Displacement of People from Land: Local people are displaced from land allocated to hotel
developers. There were reported cases of displaced fishermen and seaweed farmers by hotel developers in
Kiwengwa Tanzania. Also, the dominance of employees from outside the local area during hotel
construction, partly, reflects the inclusion aspect.
There is evidence that tourism contributes a lot to the economic growth of even countries with
poor economies through foreign exchange earnings, creation of employment opportunities and provision
of public revenues. With proper interventions, such economic benefits can play a crucial role in the process
of poverty alleviation. In general, tourism has become a significant industry in both poor and rich
economies because of its important impacts on economic, livelihood and socio-cultural development.
However, in the context of increasing competition among destinations, it may be argued that in order to
sustain the current impressive growth of tourism, several measures need to be taken. These include the
diversification of the tourism products, development of infrastructure, and skilled personnel and increase in
The fragile nature of tourism sector puts into test the stability on the standard of living of those
dependent on it. It is therefore of crucial importance to encourage participants in the tourism sector both
at national and local levels to diversify their investment portfolios. Thus for sustainability of poverty
alleviation strategies, diversification of sources for the livelihood requirements need to be encouraged.
Additionally, promotion of domestic tourism needs serious consideration by governments and social
development groups or tourist agencies.
Employment opportunities for the locals are observed to be in the low cadres with low skills and
remuneration. In order to increase the impact of tourism on poverty alleviation, there is need to institute
training programmes that would ultimately provide chance for the locals to be employed in high cadres
with high pay.
The negative impacts such as environmental problems, cultural pollution and immoral behaviour,
which are a cost and hence reducing the positive impacts, or benefits from tourism must be dealt with.
Thus, whereas there is need to optimise the benefits from tourism, measures and policies to minimize
cultural pollution, environmental conservation and protection need to be promoted and supported in
tourist areas for sustainable development. These can be further avoided or minimised greatly through a
holistic and integrated approach towards development.
Some governments especially in developing countries promote tourism at the expense of ordinary
local people. The local people profit very little and the big amount of money is taken by the government. At
times local people are displaced etc. People get poorer and poorer. How can the local communities be
protected and defended if their governments are exploiting them and not defending them?
Our participation and involvement in the lives of people affected negatively by tourism enable us to
be familiar with the views and perspectives of the poor. It is then that we can enter into dialogue with the
government and agencies involved in the tourism industry. We listen to them and evaluate the criteria they
employ to make plans in the area of economics, social development and environmental protection etc.
Tourism developers pay little attention to the wishes and desires of the local communities as well
as the physical environment. We as a Church need to be more conscious of the cultural and religious values
of the people and look for ways to protect them. There is a need to establish avenues for tourists to come
and pray, and getting guidance offered by trained pastors, lay and religious persons who would take care of
tourists and tourism sites. Lastly, not least, there is a need for documentation and brochures on historical
sites that would provide vital information to tourists.
Thank you for this encounter, study and cordial exchange, with the common aim of improving our
commitment to make tourism an opportunity for the host countries, tourists and the human race.
Thank you for your attention.
Message for 2010 World Tourism Day
Paper presented to the Association for tourism and leisure education Africa Conference, community
Tourism: Options for the future, held in Arusha, Tanzania February 20-22, 2003
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Shah, K., and Gupta, V. (2000). “Tourism, the poor and other stakeholders: Asian Experience” London: ODI
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