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Theory and Research - Greed and Selfishness in Tourism (Essay Sample)


The essay required the provision of Evidence between ethics and tourism by using Critical application of existing literature/theories to discussion, Appropriate depth of analysis, Coherent flow & good essay structure, Thoroughness of arguments, Inclusion of creative ideas, Critical summary of arguments, Range of references consulted, Relevance and quality of references and must use relevant examples ( at least 2).


Greedy tourism
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Social theorists opine that many, probably the majority of humans are inherently greedy, selfish and act unethically, whether at an individual level or in groups like religions, businesses, governments as well as families. Whatever people do depict their selfish nature. Persons are termed as selfish when they do not help others, while those who help others are said to be unselfish. However, both scenarios described here show people’s selfishness.
For instance, people do not help others as they look to satisfy personal interests. In the same way, people assist others due to personal interests – because doing so would make them happy or due to other related reasons. Undoubtedly, in either case – opting to help or not to – it is done for oneself. When individuals exhibiting materialistic tendencies visit a place, they go with their selfish values as they are obsessed with the travel. Fennel (2006) notes that such an obsession leads to unacceptable mannerisms being exhibited by the greedy, selfish and unethical holidaymakers as they enjoy the tourism and hospitality. This essay draws upon relevant academic theory and research to argue that humans are to a large extent inherently greedy, selfish and unethical when enjoying the tourism and hospitality experience.
Greed and selfishness in tourism
Travel is not an activity limited to the wealthiest in the society anymore. With the advent of inexpensive flights as well as accommodation, many persons manage to visit the farthermost places in the world as well as enjoy a vacation every year. Everybody appreciates that tourism is important for both the tourists and the host countries (De Botton, 2003). Travelling gives vacationers an opportunity to broaden their minds, discover various places, connect with new nationalities as well as learn a thing or two about the cultures and traditions in the world. Tourism is extremely important for vacation destinations, especially as a source of income. Also, frequent and abundant tourists provide motivation for the local authorities to erect crucial infrastructure like roads, as well as protect delicate habitats and forests.
Intense influx of travellers has however made tour destinations, particularly developing nations, to begin feeling that there is more cultural and environmental degradation than there are economic benefits. Tourism has been blamed for damaged landscape including littering, erosion, fires, and vandalism. Other negative impacts of tourism in destinations include pollution and congestion.
Most visitors argue that they are being selfless and altruistic by travelling to these places; they do more good than harm. The reality is that even when tourists visit places generously, they are still acting selfish because journeying makes them feel good. If they would not derive any benefit from the travels they would not do it. Worse still, many tourists have shown greedy and unethical behavior in their bid to get the most from their visits. Some despise and even mistreat the local people, while others may disturb the wildlife and meddle with the environment. Selfishness, greed and unethical characteristics in human beings are normally experienced in poorism, cultural tours or human safaris and wildlife tours.
Persons looking for an opportunity to visit other parts of the world and experience how other people live can partake in special tours to some of the world’s poorest localities. This has given rise to the newest tourism trend; ‘poorism,’ where people are invited to discover authenticity in a place by visiting the most impoverished location of the destination. Frenzel et al (2012) notes that poorism tours mainly bring together the middle class and upper class persons to visit impoverished regions. Among the most popular poorism sites are some little-contacted regions in Brazil; Rotterdam in the Netherlands; Mumbai in India; and Soweto in South Africa. Even as this kind of tourism struggles for authenticity, it can be seen as unethical and abusive voyeurism.
In an article published in New York Times in 2008, Weiner observed that poorism is booming as people continue looking for fresh experiences and are constantly searching for travel destinations in the most impoverished areas of the world. People are now connected to each other more than ever, yet, there are people who are always searching for something out of the ordinary which has not been previously explored. Slums are still relatively new destinations for tourism.
Some tours have had visitors entering the homes of local people, which make it ruthlessly personal and extremely hard for it to be done in a respectful manner. The tourists talk in their language and the locals hardly know what is being talked about. This makes it nearly impossible to conduct an ethical expedition this way (Frenzel et al, 2012). The manner in which tours are conducted is particularly questionable if tourism is done without involving the local people as well as when proceeds from tourism are not reinvested in the community.
Although these kinds of tours cause many problems, there are ways in which they can be conducted ethically. It is not true to say that all visits to poor places misrepresent the destination being toured. A number of slum tours have been lauded, awarded prizes and recognized for conducting tourism responsibly and sustainably. Sustainable and responsible tours actually attempt to better the local state of affairs as well as trying to depict a different story and demonstrate that people can inhabit the place and that people actually live there (Frenzel et al, 2012). Indeed, even as some people tour the slums as they search for that exotic experience, a good many of them also visit for ethical reasons as they look to see the whole picture and contextualize the place.
Cultural tours
Ota Benga, the man from the pygmy tribe was displayed at New York’s Bronx Zoo with a chimpanzee at his feet (Buckner, 2010). Many people toured the zoo to see Benga, and they largely jeered. About a hundred years later and in the Indian Ocean’s Andaman Islands, a police officer was recorded on camera commanding members of the isolated Jarawa community to dance for sightseers (Devy et al, 2015). The dancers would in return get biscuits and bananas which were hurled at them from jeeps. Ota Benga’s humiliation in 1906 and the footage of Jarawa community dancing may be a century apart, but the incidents caused outrage all over the world and it is another example of greedy and unethical tourism. Travel to isolated ethnic groups is clearly unethical when it ends up with demeaning ‘human safaris’ of this nature.
It is common sense – or rather it should be common sense – that indigenous tribal persons have similar basic human rights, just like everybody else, and these rights ought to be maintained. Where there is connection of the tribal persons and travellers, the travel reasons should be outlined clearly, since the joy of travel and discovery is simply unjustifiable if tribal persons are put at risk.
Wildlife tourism
Wildlife tourism is another avenue in which tourists have demonstrated their selfishness, greed and unethical behavior. Some destinations that play host to the "Big Five”, dolphins, whales, birdlife and more animals that tourists love sightseeing allow tourists hands on experience with the wild animals. Tourists could be allowed to pet and walk with the animals such as tigers, cheetahs and lions. Some tourists may opt to ride an ostrich or an elephant. Others feed the monkeys and yet others enjoy draping venomous snakes around their necks. It is also very selfish of tourists to engage in animal shooting and hunting without thinking about posterity (Lovelock, 2007).
Undeniably, interacting with a wild animal is an exhilarating experience and makes the tourists feel special. It is special when one encounters a wild elephant that bends its knees voluntarily to enable the person have a ride on its backside, or a lioness that presents her cubs to a human so they can be played with, that would be special. Indeed, it is very special to interact with a wild animal in its natural setting, the wild.
However, the selfishness and greed of tourists have it that they want close sightseeing and long sightseeing and thus the animals are held captive and brought close to the tourists. The harsh truth is that from a very young age, these animals are conditioned in captivity. It is very unfortunate that tourists promote unethical tourism as some of the animals held in captivity are stolen from the wild; stolen because the other family members of the animals are killed so the young ones can be accessed. It is not enough to blame the greedy tourist resorts or unethical tour operators. All travellers ought to be cautious with the choices they make. It is also important that tourists follow the basic guidelines when they visit the jungle so that the animals are not agitated or alarmed.
Discussion and conclusion
Travelers can now travel further and wilder than ever before. They can now reach the world’s most remote places and get into contact with isolated indigenous ethnic groupings. Tourists now visit the highest of West Papua highlands and the deepest parts of the expansive Amazon basin, where they get to the lands of indigenous tribal people (De Botton, 2003). These lands provide sustenance for these people physically as well as spi...
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