Global tourism is often touted as a powerful vehicle for generating new jobs and services, earning foreign exchange, and alleviating poverty. Tourist demand creates much-needed jobs in construction, light manufacturing, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services. Locals then use their wages to buy food, farm machinery, pharmaceuticals, and other items needed to improve their lives. New economic enterprises can even be established in isolated locations, stimulating much-needed infrastructural improvements.
These potential benefits, however, are not automatically fulfilled. Especially in Third World economies, a relatively small amount of the nonwage revenues generated by tourism actually stays in the country. Much of it ends up being repatriated (“leaked”) to First World firms that own and operate the airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and food services that we, as foreign travelers, depend upon.
As part of their learning, students will study economically sustainable study abroad to better understand the impact of who gains and loses financially from our presence abroad, and then learn to make choices related to housing, transportation, eating, and purchasing of local goods and services that deliver economic benefits to host communities, sustain and renew environmental resources, and multiply opportunities for intercultural interaction.