Tourism from the Perspective of a Developing-Country Native

Yankovska and Hannam opened my eyes in Dark and toxic tourism in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. I was unaware of the negative aspects that Chernobyl faced as a result of the touring that takes advantage of a horrible radioactive disaster. The few times that I have seen the city mentioned are in movies that seek to dehumanize the area, or emphasize the disasters it was witness to. Because of these reasons I agree with the points that the article makes about the inhumanity found in Chernobyl tourism. However, i’d like to push back on the belief that tourism is “an oppressive, passive, and ignorant system.” These are  the words that my classmate Christine Choi uses in her blog post.

She later goes into depth about her statements, but never fully discusses the fact that her generalization is dangerous. Tourism in Chernobyl is horrible, that is something that cannot be argued. When you go to another country to be “fascinated” by the troubles that these people go through, you may want to think twice about using the word “human” to describe yourself.  But, and this is where I differ from Christine’s blog post, not all tourism is bad. I get the feeling that a majority of people who read the article will be extremely biased against tourism, but they need to realize that this is a case specific example. Not all tourism seeks to monetize the real world pain and suffering of others.

I would like to speak personally from the point of view of someone who has seen tourism have positive benefits. I was born in Ecuador, which is still known as a developing country. One of Ecuador’s main sources of revenue is tourism, due to its appeal as an “exotic” getaway. The Galapagos Islands alone make up such a huge part of that tourism revenue, and they are not a result of a population’s pain. Since Ecuador became a hotspot for tourism, the infrastructure of the country has become a lot more developed. Streets that were not paved are now up to standards when compared to United States roads. Sectors of the country that before were considered uninhabitable are now buzzing with new businesses and buildings. Tourism works for the country of Ecuador.

The Galapagos Islands and their beauty drive tourists here every year.

I am not only speaking from my own perspective, but that of my ancestors too. When speaking with my grandparents, they often tell me stories about the country before my time. Poverty was rampant, and the country was not developed at all. Is it possible to go a category below developing country? If so, my grandparents claim that it would be classified as such. All of this changed when the country began to focus more on its image and the gain that it stood to make from the beautiful Galapagos Islands. Tourism came. The country took off.

A statistic that demonstrates how much tourism in Ecuador has skyrocketed.

Chrsitine believes that all tourism is bad and harmful, but she does not see the error in that huge generalization. Some tourism can be bad (Chernobyl) but it is not always so.I wish to state that I am implying replying to he post because I believe that other classmates may share her sentiments. I think it would be a tragedy to think of tourism as wholly negative when it has positively impacted other countries/regions. Ecuador is still a developing country, but as a native I hope that it will reach a better status. If and when it does, you can bet that tourism will be a major reason that it occurred.