The benefits of tourism are myriad. For communities: economic development and jobs. For travelers: cultural understanding, relaxation and a sense of wonder.
At its best, it can serve an even broader purpose. The safari industry, for example, functions to protect animals that otherwise might be poached and preserves ecosystems that likely would be cleared for industrial agriculture.
But as documentaries like “Gringo Trails” and “The Last Tourist” highlight, lack of planning or a singular focus on profit can damage not only the host destinations and their communities but bring questionable benefits to travelers. Viewed broadly, they inflict significant reputational damage on the tourism industry.