In many countries, especially tourism-driven ones, there has been a long-lasting controversy over the matter of whether cultural traditions such as historical sites should be commercialized and used as tourist attractions. While I agree with the idea that to some extent, tourism exerts a negative influence on the culture of a country, I would argue that only through this business sector can such valuable assets be preserved for posperity.
On the one hand, opponents of cultural tourism claim that it would have destructive effects on the host country’s culture. Essentially, both tangible cultural traditions such as royal palaces and intangible ones like traditional music were established and uphold by a restricted group of indigenous people who show deep appreciation for their own assets. Conversely, exposuring such cultural items to the wider public inevitably means that they are more prone deviations and damages. For instance, craftmen, with a view to catering for tourists’ preferences, might create artifacts whose traits differ from the conventional products’. The pressing issues of vandalism and desecration of historic buildings commited by travellers is another example sufficing to illustrate this point.
On the other hand, those who support cultural-based tourism maintain that this is the only means with which the preservation of traditions could be achieved. Any cultural value would require the public’s recognition and physical upkeep in order to last. Through introducing foreign visitors to the tangible and intangible cultural values of the native, not only can those values be appreciated by a wider group of people, but they would also receive better maintenance thanks to the tax revenues generated from the tourism sector. Japan and South Korea are two high-profile examples of countries that have effectively values incorporated their traditional in tourism, attracting a large number of visitors from overseas by means of their culture, while widely promoting their traditional assets to foreigners.
To sum up, while tourist-generated degradation of traditional values is an unwanted consequence of culture-based tourism, this business plays a pivotal role in the preservation of such values.