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About the Author

Ladislav Kudlacek
Education project manager (Czech Republic)

Political Scientist and Economist. I worked for human rights and humanitarian NGO in India and for international NGO People in Need based in the Czech Republic as a Programme Manager for Afghanistan. In present time I work as an Education Manager. I studied Economics in Tomas Bata University and Political Science in Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and in the University of Delhi in India and Humanitarian and International Law in Helsinki University in Finland.

Post

Tourism after Poverty

Published 22nd August 2010 - 3 comments - 1155 views -

Tourism after poverty

Warped values of children on the street and bad mood of tourist caused by it – that are the results of the desire to help the poor in developing countries. Tourists are appalled by wickedness and cheek of the locals but they rarely realize that their unsuitable eagerness to ‘help’ is very often the cause of their cheating and begging.

The big black eyes cannot be resisted

Many a visitor in India must deal with the immense poverty of people living on the street. It is almost impossible to resist begging children with huge beautiful eyes, women with starving infants or people with broken legs. Misery and distress can be read in their face. Only the most resistant can stay untouched. But hardly any tourist realizes that these people are often members of urban gangs, which purposely use tricks to be given money. From it the bosses of the gangs live then. “I have witnessed many times a child being given the pittance but immediately forced to give the money to the ‘boss’ and ‘rewarded’ only by a slap. Not rarely are even little children crippled to get more pity,” a local girl Bhoomika comments the reality of the street. Mostly the tourists not knowing the circumstances are mostly the main aim of these gangs. “They give more money, that is to say. The locals give coins, ‘white’ foreigners give notes,” a boy called Krishna describes his work.

A photo for twenty rupees

In touristy destinations like Agra, Jaipur or Varanasi tourists are exposed to attacks of little children who can give a punch if they do not get what they want. “They can haunt a tourist even for several minutes. They refuse offers of food or they require sweets or chocolate. For taking their photo they almost have a fixed charge,” a German tourist Roberta complains.

The locals are simply taught that tourists will pay them. “They think that we are rich, which is anyway true from their point of view, and that we do not know the value of their money. When I was in Pakistan, people were more natural, they were welcoming and money did not matter. Ripping visitors off is rare there. It may be so because of non-existence of mass tourism. People there welcome a foreigner helpfully,” Roberta describes her experience. Pakistan has not been a favourite destination for more than ten years. The security situation is that is to say very bad and it tends to be getting worse. As a result, tourists are not becoming an easy source of income as we can see it in India.

Tourism helps the whole economy

Still tourism is better than only a cause of people’s suffering. It is a source of income for local businessmen like sellers, shopkeepers or producers of traditional goods, which this country may be deservedly proud of. The tourism often helps keep the traditions and develop them. It brings new opportunities of employment and living. The local people are often curious and they try to satisfy tourists entirely and offer their hospitality. Exploiting the opportunities of tourism helps them to have normal life. Without the visitors longing for getting to know this beautiful country India cannot get by anymore.


Category: Tourism | Tags:


Comments

  • Johan Knols on 23rd August 2010:

    Hello Ladislav,

    I have to admit I have never been in India, but I can imagine the crime and abuse over the tourist dollars.
    Quite a while back I wrote an article about tipping on an African safari and it covers some of the tricks that are being played over there to squeeze you out of your money:
    http://planyoursafari.com/blog/“tipping-on-your-african-safari”/


  • Helena Goldon on 23rd August 2010:

    Lovely post, Ladislav. Really enjoyable to read.
    @ Johan: I can’t believe such a tip is possible! When I started reading your article I thought you were referring to… Zimbabwe! smile


  • Hanna Clarys on 25th August 2010:

    What tourist wants to take a picture from a begging child? How sick is that?

    I have been to India, including Jaipur and Agra with its Taj Mahal, and of course there are children following you around. But in my experience they almost always tried to sell something and that’s why they hunted you. Not just for money, but to sell stuff (of course at higher prices than it actually was worth, but who wouldn’t try that?). These are touristic places and those children aren’t stupid. They know where the money is.

    In the little unknown poor villages, the children never ask you for money. They run behind you just because they think you’re interesting. Nice post, Ladislav!


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