The impact of tourism

Tourism is one of the greatest transformers of a country’s economy, its landscape and its customs. The effect is especially dramatic in countries or regions where tourism expands rapidly, where the economy is not strong or diversified, with low levels of income and which enjoy resources which are particularly attractive to the tourist industry (principally unspoilt natural areas). This is true of many countries, including those of the Mediterranean.

This growth model affects even the tourism industry itself: a report by the Spanish tourist board, Execeltur, demonstrated the devastating effect that urban development has had on tourism, destroying the beauty of the region and leading to unprecedented overpopulation.

Tourism and the economy

In many parts of the world today, and in some Mediterranean countries in particular (Spain, Italy, Greece, etc.), tourism is one of the most important tools for generating economic activity. This is the case not only in sparsely populated regions or those with few other resources; it is also true of cities of all sizes in regions with few natural attractions. Everywhere, tourism is seen as an easy way to earn a living. Why tourism and not another activity?

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Tick, tock, tick, tock…

Time to consume and consuming time

Author: Álvaro Porro

Núria, our shelves are full of books we’ll never have time to read, and collections of DVDs we’ll never watch. The wardrobe’s full of clothes we’ve hardly ever worn… You have to accept it: the time we haven’t got can’t be collected and stored on shelves.

In 1930, J.M. Keynes, one of the most influential economists of all time, predicted that by the beginning of the 21st century the working week would be reduced to 15 hours, as we wouldn’t need so much time to earn enough to cover our material needs. If a worker produces almost twice as much as in 1970 in the same number of hours, we could work half as much and produce the same amount. However, in the US in 2006, the average number of hours worked per person had increased compared with 1970. In recent decades, instead of using part of the increase in productivity to reduce the time people work, as had happened previously, among other reasons thanks to the strength of worker movements (at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the normal working week was 60 hours or more), it has been used to increase production, raise profits, lower prices and, consequently, increase consumption.

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