Over the years, tourism has been listed as an essential component of socio-economic progress of nations, particularly in developing countries. A profitable economic phenomenon that needs to be encouraged but also controlled. Beyond its economic contribution, tourism development is also listed as a factor of socialization and exchange in the service of peace.
Tourism involves an encounter between peoples, different societies, thus it cannot be considered socially and culturally neutral. In the host countries, it operates deep cultural and social changes through economic development, transforming the habits of the local people.
Since its boom in the early 21st century, tourism has significantly developed the economic, social and cultural exchanges that take place directly between tourists and the host communities, it has also contributed, through job creation, to the acceleration of the socialization of individuals in some regions, while promoting income redistribution and the fight against poverty.
Through tourism, friendships are created, partnerships between different communities were established.
Tourism development has a considerable impact on the economy, on the natural and the man-made environment, the local population, on the destination, and the tourists themselves. Touristic regions are experiencing a more profound change than it appears, they open on the outside, which can only widen the field of dialogue among cultures and open up new prospects for cooperation among men.
Material and social progress that usually accompany any tourism development obviously have a positive impact in many areas of the economy, but the development of the travel industry can have negative social and cultural effects when the locals start imitating foreign visitors in their food habits, clothing and others.
Thus, in some cases, the massive arrival of tourists can disrupt daily routines of the population. Although it should be noted that many social harms often attributed to tourism development may be as much connected to modernization, it is no less true that it is followed by many negative phenomena such as drug addiction, child labor and sometimes prostitution as it is the case in many African seaside resorts.
The strong urbanization of touristic sites, including the interest given to coastal areas also promote environmental degradation. However, it does not diminish the important role of this sector in socialization and exchanges among peoples. The tourism development contributes to the enhancement of the cultural heritage of many countries, by encouraging states to invest in local customs and cultures, to promote and preserve them.