A tourist is a guest, but an impersonal guest. The result is that he may be victimised as being a stranger ignorant of local laws and customs. Patterns of tourist behaviour have an important impact on the relationship that tourists have with the local population.
Having arrived at the scene of their dreams many tourists behave in much the same way as they do at home.
It has also been found that for many tourists’ aggressive or abnormal behaviour becomes normal while on holiday. Holiday makers become totally self-oriented having little regard for the host population.
Tourist behaviour focuses on the following activities:
2. Strolling in the countryside;
3. Going to the beach;
5. Visiting historic buildings/museums/art galleries;
6. Visiting restaurants/cinema/theatres.
Tourists bring with them positive and negative impacts but the negative impacts dominate host-guest relations. Such views are most extreme when tourists come in contact with sensitive cultures.
It is because developing nations have few alternatives to tourism with which to earn much needed foreign exchange. The analogies with prostitution come at a psychological level as developing nations are forced into a servile role in order to secure foreign exchange.
Doxey’s index of irritation is used for describing the effects of tourists on a host society. This shows the changing attitudes of the host population to tourism in terms of a linear sequence of increasing irritation as the number of tourists grows. In this perspective host societies in tourist destinations pass through stages of euphoria, apathy, irritation and antagonism in the face of tourism development.
The ‘demonstration effect’ of the tourists on the life style of local residents is critical. Local people, especially young people, try to imitate the behaviour and consumption patterns of the tourists.
It may have some benefits if local people are encouraged to get better education in order to improve their living standards. But disadvantages are generally greater then benefits as local residents adopt the marks of affluence paraded by tourists and live beyond their means.
The adoption of foreign values also leads to a premature departure to modernisation producing rapid and disruptive changes in the host society. As a result, social tension develops as the hosts become divided into two classes those adopting new values (usually young people) and those retaining a traditional way of life.
The moral changes brought about by tourists are very significant. The rise in crime, gambling, prostitution and more recently the spread of AIDS through sex tourism. A positive correlation between tourism and crime has been found in Mexico and Miami.
In developing countries large differences between the income of locals and guests lead to increased frustration in the local community which sometimes spills over as crimes against tourists.
However, not all crimes are directed to the tourists; local people are increasingly the victims. In many circumstances the tourists themselves behave in extremely antisocial and criminal ways.
To show bare-breasted African female dancers in Muslim areas of Africa or the peep show in London or Paris is a reflection of the tourists’ cultures, not those of the host countries.
In tourism and prostitution Mathieson and Wall suggested four main hypotheses. The first is locational, is that tourism development often creates environments which attract prostitute.
Second is related to the breaking of normal bonds of behaviour by tourists when away from home circumstances conducive to the expansion of prostitution.
Third, prostitution offers employment opportunities to women to upgrade their economic status. Finally, tourism may be mere scapegoat for a general decline in moral standards.
Sex-tourism is largely focused in parts of South-East Asia, especially in Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia. The motive behind such development seems to be economic since young female prostitutes can earn at least twice as much as in other employment.
There are other explanations why there is a high level of prostitution in Thailand. There is employment discrimination against females in most formal sectors of employment, there is economic crises facing many rural areas from where most prostitutes are drawn and there is breakdown of many marriages which leaves women cut off from traditional society.
In Thailand, since 1987, there has been a decrease in single male tourists and an increase in family tourism due to the fear of contracting AIDS.