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Cultural factors.

There have also been a number of cultural developments that are worth discussing in the context of globalization and tourism, the most important of which being the emergence of a global culture based on consumerism, mainly reflecting the Western lifestyles (Burns and Holden 1995). This has led to “McDonaldization” (Ritzer 1993) or cultural homogenization. This cultural inauthenticity generally characterizes mass tourism operations.

Environmental factors.

a. In a market-based economy, externalities, such as the pollution generated by mass tourism development, are rarely addressed by companies (Cooper and Hall 2008) and governments are too weak in relation with multinational companies and organizations at regulating pollution.

b. The worst type of environmental degradation is global in scale, and international environmental organizations do not have the power to enforce new rules and regulations globally. Only national governments can do this on a voluntary basis. However, the greatest global polluters, USA and China, are not willing to adopt any environmental legislation that could slow growth of or decrease their industrial competitiveness.

c. Often, environmental problems in one country can affect neighboring countries. For example, industrial pollution in one country could cause acid rain in other countries. Also, deforestation in one country could lead to devastating floods in the neighboring countries.

We need to make it clear that world tourism has not only been impacted and shaped by globalization, but it has also enabled and accelerated globalization (Reid 2003). According to Fayos-Sola and Pedro Bueno (2001: 47), contemporary tourism is characterized by three essential elements:

1. Global extension of tourism demand. An increasing number of tourists are taking interregional and intra-regional trips. At the same time, there are still many who do not engage in tourism or who only take local trips.

  • 2. Convergence of consumer preferences, tastes, and lifestyles has led to similarity of tourism demand. Nonetheless, the type of travel is fragmented.
  • 3. The process of privatization and deregulation of the industry, as well as the mergers and acquisitions that followed, has led to concentration and similarity of tourism supply. Still, new specialist agents are springing and offering more personalized tourism products.
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