By Hui Cao
Search finance.yahoo.com and click the “news” tab. It is not difficult to find the article titled “Record-Breaking Year for California’s Tourism Economy”. Now go to www.ssdt.com and click the tab “commentary”. It is easy to find the article titled “Tourism, economy go hand in hand”. Swarms of tourists from all around the world are thought to be valuable contributors to local economies.
The most direct evidence of tourism’s contribution to the economy is the large sum of money spent by the tourists. Consumption has always been an important part of every economy. Tourists exert direct influence on the service industry, such as restaurants, hotels, transportation, and so on. Money gained from the tourists’ consumption is so evident that shows the strong impact in driving economic growth. According to George Chamberlin, “A report from Visit California, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the Golden State, says tourists spent $14.65 billion in San Diego, more than the combined tourist revenue for Monterey, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Fresno and Shasta County.” According to Visit California, “total travel-related spending reached $117.5 billion”, based on California’s tourism industry. Without doubt, tourist spending provides California’s economy with direct financial support.
Furthermore, tourism influences California’s economy through employment. Employment is crucial to the development of any economy. With more people getting hired, there are more people working hard to develop the economy. Tourism is concerned with many different service industries ultimately influencing wholesome development of economy in every aspect. As a result, the flourishing tourism can highly increase the employment rate. As George Chamberlin mentions in his article, “the visitor industry in San Diego employs more than 173,000 San Diegans in lodging, food services, attractions and transportation”. The influence of tourism on employment is powerful, as is shown in the statistics. Thus local service industry jobs are highly depended on tourists from around the globe.
California, a hot tourist destination attracting people in and outside the US, relies to a has been trying to boost its attractiveness to tourists. According to Visit California, “California must continue attracting visitors in an increasingly competitive global market in order to remain a top-of-mind travel destination”. As globalization has facilitated the movement of people and ideas, traveling abroad has become increasingly popular for people from rich newly rich countries.
However, there is a growing concern about the environmental externalities of so much tourism. A flood of tourists into one place at the same can be dangerous for the environment, as many attractions create tons of waste. In order to avoid environmental damage, popular tourist destinations need to start taking steps toward sustainable development.