Tourism is viewed as a major economic growth opportunity in most countries. However, the rapid growth of tourism does not only represent an economic boon for most tourism destinations; it often produces negative socio-cultural impacts for the communities in these destinations.
Tourism is linked to people, environment and natural resources and directly impacts them. Government tourism policies (both national and state) focus more on the growth and promotion of tourism and hardly ever acknowledge the negative fallouts of tourism development. This results in unthinking promotion of investments in tourism and tourism development being unregulated and not monitored for its negative impacts. The mitigation of these negative impacts therefore is also not on the agenda.
A little known and even less acknowledged impact is that on children. Tourism development without responsibility, accountability and protective measures has led to sexual exploitation of children, trafficking and increase in child labour. Increased vulnerability to drugs, crime and alienation form communities and families are related problems.