We’ve seen this happen over and over again, which is why things like Airbnb and Vayable are important, focusing on benefiting local communities by re-allocating tourism dollars in neighborhoods and to people who otherwise don’t benefit from it.
Stage 1: Communities build small bungalows for local tourism. Residential houses are renovated and converted into small hotels and boarding lodges, earning revenue for local people.
Stage 2: Land values increase and roads and other infrastructure developments begin. Outsiders begin buying land and establishing their own operations on a larger scale than the locals. Local people still benefit economically, although the bulk of the income goes to a small number of people.
Stage 3: Hotel construction begins at a faster rate, planning regulations are ignored, and building proceeds haphazardly, causing degradation of the environment. Local people benefit as employees in the local hotels and lodges and in the transport sector.
Stage 4: Most hotel, bungalow and restaurant owners are from outside the local community. Money begins to flow out. Large developments are implemented without regard for regulations. Large hotels and organisations promote international tourism, and profits stay in the country of origin. Tourists contribute small amounts of money by buying souvenirs. Water supplies and the environment become endangered and developers fear for the future. Local residents may begin to resent tourists.
Stage 5: Degradation of the environment sparks fears of a decrease in the volume of tourism and prompts calls for action. Remedial action is slow to take effect, and the degradation continues. The local community has benefited all along, but control has been taken over by outside developers, who may decide to abandon the area and move somewhere else.