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Tourism In Developing Countries

Tourism in Developing Countries


The 21st century has experienced changes in terms of transportation, technology, communication and in different degrees, a spread of the geo-political stability which has been influencing economic status of citizens for both industrialized and developing nations all over the world.  Such transformation has triggered the development and growth of various industries as well as the substantial evolution of emerging industries to address the needs of the changing society.  One of such industries is the tourism industry which has quietly existed to become an essential force in different economies and societies including the developing countries.  Primarily, this paper will analyze the tourism industry of the developing countries and discuss how developing countries are able to stay competitive in terms of being a tourist hub.

Overview of the Developing Countries

            Developing country is a general term which is used to describe a country or a state that have a low level of material well being.  There are many developing countries in the world which are aiming on gaining competitive economic status through their tourism industry. One of these developing countries is Cambodia. Cambodia is considered as one of the least developed countries in Asia.  Due to the regional economic crisis as well as other civil violence and political infighting, Cambodia is having problems in terms of economic growth.

Cambodia is known to be a country that has various breathtaking and fascinating scenery, ancient captivating and mysterious culture that have attracted curious visitors from different parts of the world.  One of the most recognized tourist’s spots is the Angkor Wat which catches the tourist’s attention. The country has caught the interest from the global environment which enables them to gain advantage in terms of their tourism industry. As tourism industry has become a more regarded source of income for different economies, it is essential to take consideration that the country is still considered as a developing nation which have social differences that concerns local community.  Cambodia is considered to have different aspects to offer in the contemporary global tally, these include the lively social live in the core of the city which is near the Sisowatch Quay and the Tonle Sap River, the bustling busy city of its capital Phnom Penh and the smaller pleasing and welcoming town of the Siem Reap which is located near the well-known stone temples as well as the famous smiling stone faces of the Angkor.

The Foreign investment as well as tourism of the country has fell off dramatically, although the latter has been considered to recover.  The fastest growing industry of Cambodia is tourism with arrivals increasing from more than 200, 000 tourists in 1997 to over one million in 2004. The tourist growth remains steady at 5% during 2003 and 2004.

Agents on Tourism

            Tourism terms have many meanings which are also changing over time. In recent studies, tourism has been recognised as a social phenomenon which has a variety of social-cultural impact at both the individual and global level (Katsumi, 2002). It is often described as a contemporary quest for authenticity. In order to become competitive in terms of tourism industry, the country should be able to provide approaches to sustain their competitive advantage. Tourism industry is noted to be one of the fastest growing industries in the global environment. It can be noted that due to the idea tourism is now one of the most recognised recreational activities of individuals in the globe, in the year 2004 it has been noted that there are 763 million visitors/tourists arrive in different regions all over the world (WTO, 2005).

            Since the year 1994, number of guests who visits Cambodia, has grow even more. As mentioned, tourism has been one of the leading industries of the county and is still expecting to generate 7.3% of gross domestic product and lead to 400,000 employments. In order to develop more, Cambodia needs an agent that would actually help them promote their tourism industry. One of these agents is the information communication technology. Accordingly, information communication technology, specifically, the internet has been able to influence the promotion of tourism, sales and marketing. With the emergence of the new technology, there exist e-tourism which can help the country transform their industry to become well-known in the global market.

Another agent of tourism in developing countries like Cambodia is their hospitality industry. Accordingly, hospitality management plays a crucial role in terms of the economic aspects of Cambodia because the profit as well as income that is gained by the use of products and services of the guests and tourists, will generate taxes which is being paid to the government. Ina addition, the hospitality Industry gives employment and also assists in line with the development of Cambodia. As noted by Franklin (2000), the hospitality industry is not just an agent which provides recreational or attractive activity but instead it is also being associated with the modernity as well as innovations of different dimensions such as politics, morale, economical and technological aspects.

Sustainable Tourism

There are various ways that can be considered to define sustainable tourism. Accordingly, sustainable tourism has been considered as an alternative tourism type which improves the quality of life of the country, provides high quality experience of the visitors and sustain the environmental quality on which both the host country and the visitor depend (Choi & Sirakaya (2005).

The attraction of tourists of the latest century is also becoming more and more patterned and attributed with the environmental awareness and protection. Attractions that are characterised by such features are collectively known as sustainable tourism. This is basically pertains to attractions which consider include tropical rain forests, wild life and coral reefs (Talcott 2005). As a growing trend, sustainable tourism is often connected on a tourism form which is concentrated on environmental appreciation. Rather than giving emphasis on generating profit, the aim of tourism is to educate the tourists through informative displays, hands-on activities as well as educational seminars. The study done by the International Sustainable tourism Society (TIES) revealed that sustainable tourism comprises about 20% of the total international travel in Asia-Pacific and South African regions (Moli 2003).

            In Cambodia, the number of visitors and tourists has rapidly increased in the 21st century. From year 2000 to 2007 the number of tourists has been noticed to increase by approximately four times the numbers of visitors. Its development and growth has made the country become more reliable on their tourism industry (Ministry of Tourism, 2007). In order to have a sustainable tourism, Cambodia has been able to give value to their natural resources, hence eco-tourism has been a more popular approach to show the visitors the beauty of Cambodia.

The growing interest of the visitors and guests to learn more about their environmental surroundings has been marked by the increased tourist attractions influenced by sustainable tourism. One of these countries is Cambodia; with the Cambodian natural landscape, the region provides a perfect opportunity for environmental tourism.  With the efforts of the government to sustain their tourism, they have become one of the most interesting tourists spot to visit in Asia.

Sustainable tourism can be important to Cambodia to ensure that they are remain competitive in the tourism aspect. Concerning, has such can contribute in a positive way to the local community, the society of the country should have local awareness which can be attained through education. And to get involved in such local community in the development of tourism can be done by better integration with regional tourism authorities and the federal government (Nimmonratana, 2000).

            Tourism can bring positive and negative effects on the country, the people and its environment. Hence, sustainable tourism is really necessary and important for Cambodia. It has been noted that integrating the means and ways of life of the local community in accordance with the tourism development is also an important aspect to have sustainable tourism. According to Griffin (2002), in order to reach a positive output which concerns sustainability, the tourism industry and the authorities of Cambodia should be able to develop sustainable tourism strategy.  For instance, the Ministry of Tourism along with the government are now considering the negative effect of international tourism on the country and provide supports on protecting the people, specifically women and children, the natural resources and the entire community.  To have sustainable tourism, Cambodia can also formulate new rules and regulations to be followed by the local and international tourists. Accordingly, sustainable tourism should be intensively integrated with all other functions and activities that is happening in the country (Hunter, 2002).  Hence, it is important that the tourism authorities should have a more strict control of the industry and the government of Cambodia should see to it that these laws and regulations are being followed to protect social community.  Sustainable tourism is necessary to enhance the positive outcome of the international tourism in the economic, social, cultural, technological and environmental aspects.

Socio-Cultural and Environmental Aspects

Anthropologists as well as other social scientists have started to publish significant documents on tourism during the latter half of the 1970s. Their interests were catered in line with the nature of their academic subjects and such of the phenomenon accepted within tourism. Modelling of tourism effect on the socio-cultural and the environment remains popular (Wilson 1993), and Smith's model has been able to simplify a complex subject, albeit with a strong economic bias (Smith 1978). This is comprehendible given the quantifiable nature of economic data, but it denies anthropology's talent to reveal socio-cultural subtleties and thus creates a rounded picture of transformation..

It is the issue of tourism development which became the primary concern in this generation for those interested in the socioeconomic impacts of tourism. Tourism industry has been able to continue as a central theme and diversified into related aspects, including policymaking, politics as well as practice in rural communities (Bouquet & Winter 1987), economics and environment in South East Asia (Hitchcock et al. 1993) and regional development in the Mediterranean (Fsadni & Selwyn 1996). In Cambodia, it can be said that tourism affects how the socio-cultural aspect of the country has widened and affect the way they give value to their environment as it became one of the greatest source of living for these country.

One areas of tourism that has experienced tremendous boost is in terms f the cultural tourism. Arts, theatre as well as cultural heritage tourism are all clustered under the umbrella of this type of cultural tourism. Socio-cultural aspects includes all movements of persons might be included in the definition because they satisfy the human need for diversity, tending to raise the cultural level of the individual giving rise to new knowledge, experience and encounters (Victoria’s 2002). With Ankor Wat and other tourist’s spots in the country, Cambodia socio-cultural tourism has been able to remain undeniably competitive.  Accordingly, the unique and distinctive cultural heritage of the country has also helped in the development of the socially-based and culturally based tourism. In addition, there are also growing selection of such sustainable tourism operation as well as organisation to promote responsible travel among local and international tourists.  Demographics of the tourists that usually visits Cambodia came from Asian countries, France, USA and the United Kingdom (Ministry of Tourism, 2007)


            Analysis shows that Cambodia’s tourist destination can be noted to be in the development stage. It can be said that the future development of the tourism industry in this country can take different turns. Hence, it is vital to integrate and incorporate sustainability in line with the tourism management and industry of the country and develop new and interesting tourist spots to attract more travelers around the globe.

Although tourism is one of the most essential industries in this generation, people particularly local and government authorities must be able to give enough attention on planning and implementing tourism development to ensure that environment and the socio-cultural aspects will not be negatively affected.  In this manner, advantages will be easily achieved and disadvantages will be anticipated. In addition, the most important thing to consider is to make a balance development between industry and natural environment to successfully achieve economic growth in countries like Cambodia.


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