Tourism can make locals feel uneasy

A NEW study has found residents living in communities which rely on the tourism industry often feel detached from their town as a result of transient populations passing through.

The study by James Cook University PhD student Elena Konovalov took into account feedback from residents living in Airlie Beach, Bowen and Atherton Tableland.

Ms Konovalov said the study showed tourism influenced every day lives of people who lived in those regions.

"As tourist numbers increase, some locals can begin to feel angry and powerless about these changes," she said.

"Tourism impacts on the quality of life.

"This can lead to locals feeling less willing to give back to their community."

Ms Konovalov said social impacts of tourism often were not obvious.

"Advocates of tourism development usually focus on its potential as an employer and source of business income," she said.

"Opponents of tourism typically focus on the potential negative environmental impacts of uncontrolled tourism.

"Social impacts usually go unnoticed, but they should be taken into account when evaluating tourism development benefits and costs to the community.

During her research, Ms Konovalov took into account various social aspects of community well-being. She said the results were surprising.

"A more developed tourism industry tends to coincide with more opportunities for work and education as well as attract more residents to the area," she said.

"A more developed tourism industry is associated with opportunities to socialise in public places and more community services that are also available to locals."

Ms Konovalov said the presence of tourists at a destination also contributed to community pride experienced by residents.



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