This is about India but seem applicable to the tourist industry in general anywhere

It's the best summary of the good and bad points of tourism that I've seen:

"India witnesses more than 5 million annual foreign tourist arrivals and 562 million domestic tourism visits." Percentage-wise, this is far fewer foreign visitors per capita than Nicaragua or Costa Rica, and a higher percentage of domestic tourism.

The advantages include employment and being a source of foreign exchange earnings, and infrastructure development.

The disadvantages include undesirable social and cultural change, increased hostility where the tourists and the locals do not understand each other, lack of money going back to the community with all expense package tours where food is imported, and adverse economic effects.

Unlike Nicaragua, India refuses to give retirees permission to live there, so friction between locals and people from away over cultural differences are shorter term.

Many other points, most of them are applicable to any country developing a tourist industry.

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The big difference here, as

The big difference here, as proven by the fact that the largest percentage was domestic tourists, is that India's economy is hot. India has the largest growing middle class in the world.Most of the tourism is coming from amongst their own people, and a huge chunk of the foreign tourism is Indian ex-pats returning for visits or to reconnect with their culture. Another big slice is medical tourism as India has world class doctors and hospitals. There are more doctors and PHDs in Mumbai, per capita than any other place in the world. With their booming economy and better upward mobility they are less apt to be envious of foreign visitors. Another big factor is culture, unlike many third world countries, culturally speaking Indians have little or no interest in dating or marrying foreigners so again there is less resentment engendered towards tourists. North American importance, both socially and economically, whether we want to admit it or not, is on the wane. Asia and to a lesser extent though more immediately South American economies and markets are becoming the more dominant. Big corporations have already realized this and we are seeing more influence in the products and entertainment offered here in NA. Who knows in 20-30 years we may be complaining about all the rich touristas here in North america. A great article on the trend is here, also a podcast if you have the time.

Thank you

I recently realized that I get a whole bunch of CBC radio programs here, but I hadn't heard about this one. Choice. It's so nice to find intelligent people discussing facts. Some of my best friends are facts.

For everyone else: "Under the Influence, Season 1":

Episodes: Handcuffed By Brand Image, Accidental Brands, Marketing In A Crisis, Movie Marketing, The Marketing Genius of Steve Jobs - Part One, The Marketing Genius of Steve Jobs - Part Two, Big Chill Marketing, Getting Personal in the Classified Ads, Great Brands Built Without Advertising, Voices of Influence, Men Are From Sears: Women Are From Bloomingdale's, A New BRIC In The Wall

No Sniveling!

Glad you like them, one of

Glad you like them, one of the few broadcasters remaining to produce truly entertaining radio programming with some intelligence. Don't get me wrong I still like Bob&Tom too lol. But CBC is still costing us too much money IMHO.

This is its first season

That's Terry O'Reilly's latest show. If you like it, you will also like Age of Persuasion which it replaced - similar vein.

New Yorkers were already pissed at Japanese tourists

...when I lived there in the 1970s.

India's economy is bigger than Nicaragua's, but the various economic indicators are about the same. Nicaragua has internal tourism, too, especially in the mountains.

Rebecca Brown


In this analysis the negative impacts far outweigh the positive ones (mostly potential) from tourism (foreigners going in circles). Throughout one may substitute the word 'development' for 'tourism' and 'modernization' for 'tourism industry' and the report would read the same.

Not all tourists come packing mega-bucks. Few are beggars. Those that mingle &/or stay tend to be of modest means. Those who come with a budget that could ransom a prince (or bankroll a politico) want luxury on the (relative) cheap, not to be shortchanged on any amenities, to be served like royalty by brown-skinned beauties, expecting all their illusions of a tropical paradise vacation to be fulfilled. They don't want to become contaminated or infected. Nor are they interested in learning what an average native's life is like.

Ugly Americans, the tourist industry can bank on 'em.


A few months ago I accidentally found "Top 20 Reasons I like Cuenca" ( and went nuts. Finally. The Perfect Place.

Nicaragua: Shabby. Costa Rica? 'Spensive. Panama: overrun. Ecuador? Hmmm.

That was written in April, 2008.

Now in 2012 we have "The Ugly American revisited: arrogance plus ignorance is a recipe for trouble as more N. Americans move to Ecuador" (

Always too late, me.

And the trendiness continues. "Ketzel Levine leaves careers in classical music and NPR reporting behind for animal rescue in Cuenca" (


Well, no sniveling, I guess.

No Sniveling!

Basically, if the ratio of expats to locals isn't too high

...the expats learn how to get along with the locals most of the time (we have some exceptions in Jinotega and are considering a pool for when one of them meets a machete or simply tries to bribe the wrong person and gets kicked out of Nicaragua). You learn enough Spanish to get along in the market first, then you learn past tenses and the past subjunctive and more vocabulary.

When you get too few expats, you can't have proper fights where you don't speak to a person for a few weeks. When you get too many, you don't learn Spanish and don't have any friends who can clue you into proper enough behavior ("Slow down and say, 'good morning, how are you?").

Not all of Nicaragua is shabby (and if you're a leftist, you appreciate that the culture is at least not completely economically segregated like the hierarchal cultures to the north -- I happen to love that my mostly middle class neighborhood has not driven out the homeless woman but tends to keep her in tortillas instead. The Cherokee call us Harsh Anglos. They're right. Leave the harshness in the US or save it for on line.

If you're a reasonably civil human being, you will be reasonably happy anywhere that's not dangerous to your health. Stay out of places dangerous to your health, apologize profusely if you get things wrong, and assume that until you are fluent in Spanish, most people here will treat you somewhat better than English speakers in the US treat people who speak broken English.

Regardless of what a place looks like to you when you first move there, in a year or so, you don't notice how it looks so much but do notice how it functions.

Rebecca Brown

What was interesting was the tremendous amount

...of internal tourism, which is probably true of many larger countries. Far more Indian tourists were from other parts of India than were from other countries.

Many people, anywhere, are far more interested in the scenery than in how the locals live. They want to hang out with other people like them in some beautiful scenery. Probably nothing wrong with this in some ways, just that it gets a bit jarring when you're part of the scenery.

Rebecca Brown

System D

Thanks. I'll drop my own thingie in here since it's vaguely related. Sorry if anyone has referenced it already. I don't have time to check.

"Forget China: the $10 trillion global black market is the world's fastest growing economy -- and its future."

For instance, the garbage dump would be the last place you would expect to be a locus of hope and entrepreneurship. But Lagos scavenger Andrew Saboru has pulled himself out of the trash heap and established himself as a dealer in recycled materials. On his own, with no help from the government or any NGOs...he has climbed the career ladder.

The Shadow Superpower.

No Sniveling!

System D must be very active

System D must be very active in Nica. Every neighborhood has a house that sells something you need, if you just ask the right person to point it out or to go get it.

Measuring the economy

This is exactly why it is close to impossible to compare economies. While these household businesses aren't making anyone rich, they significantly change how things work. For example, a garage converted to a pulpuria seems to require a full-time employee and generate virtually zero money. The reality is that the employee would be there watching kids and/or telenovelas anyway and the profit comes from buying in bulk and skimming off what the family itself consumes.

As the world economies (or is it just economy now) crashes and burns, this outside the system way to support yourself becomes more and more important.


Not talked about much but this is how many 'businesses' work in all of Central America. Years ago in Costa Rica all you did was call Victoria Beer and they sent rep over. If you were on well traveled road and 100 meters or more from another Victoria client you were approved and your signage was delivered free. Result was that on way to Quepos from San Jose there were 100's of places to eat. A few plastic tables and chairs, tablecloths, ashtrays and you were in business. Don't forget about the food.

A newer trend I saw happen were Gringo businesses going this same route as living in Nica was all the interest so profit was not needed. Build the small hotel and owner lives in a few rooms-does not matter if any money is made. The Hotel staff doubles as your personal staff. I remember when Granada had 4-6 hotels-now 10 times that. There are several excellent places in Granada to stay that have European owners and that full Nica breakfast included which is very important. $40.

Why anyone would stay at the main guys is beyond me.

There's a high churn in the small businesses, though

When it's someone buying wholesale and selling on some of the things that the family doesn't use, it's a stable enough business, but I've seen a lot of these open and close since I moved to Jinotega (roughly 18 months ago). I'm not sure running a small shop isn't the Amway of Nicaragua -- and sometimes, it pays off and sometimes, it doesn't.

The other thing that happens here is various gift exchanges -- people expect something in return later, not necessarily the same value. One of my neighbors gave me fruit, a couple of meals, and advice on living here. I had a friend bring in support panty hose for her and recently gave her a cup of ice cream that I'd made. I took pictures for the Sollentuna Hem and occasionally my breakfast is on the house. The rule here seems to be that if someone gives you a cabbage, you give them back some cole slaw. No cash exchanges hand, but there's value added.

Rebecca Brown

And how many countries have a classification of

'Unpaid Employees'.

203,00 of them in Nicaragua, about 10% of the total available workforce.

Twice that of those receiving minimum wage.

Think about how much effort goes into the twice annual minimum wage negotiations and calculations and then think that there are twice that many people working in Ma and Pa's Pulperia for 6 hours after school - of during school.

In the US, kids can work for family businesses and farms

"Minors of any age may be employed by their parents at any time in any occupation on a farm owned or operated by his or her parent(s)." Only something like 2 percent of the population in the US is agricultural, so fewer kids in this category. Not likely to be paid.

I suspect that most of Nicaraguans are working for the family farm and if they're growing the beans and various food crops, then they're adding value but money is not changing hands.

Rebecca Brown