Backpacker tourism can have a positive impact in developing countries

Backpacker tourism can have a positive impact in developing countriesA new book by Dr Mark Hampton reveals that backpacker tourism can play a crucial role in development strategies in areas such as South East Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Drawing on his research into how backpackers impact on local host communities, Dr Hampton found that this type of tourism can be highly effective in alleviating poverty and bring more development benefits than ‘conventional’ mass tourism. Small businesses benefitted more from backpacker tourists, he found.

Dr Hampton’s book – the first to analyse backpackers in detail across the developing world – considers the different phases of backpacker tourism, beginning with an analysis of its origins with the ‘hippy’ overland trail to India, before going on to focus on the emergence of modern backpackers.

It then considers the economic impacts of backpackers on host communities, making use of extensive case study material from Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Dr Hampton said: ‘There has been a phenomenal growth in backpacker tourism, from the overland routes to India in the 1960s to present-day backpacker tourism right across the less developed world.

‘My research examined the economic impact of backpacker tourism in developing countries in detail and found, for the first time, how this type of tourism can be highly positive for local economies.

‘I found that backpacker tourism is very embedded in local communities with strong linkages to small businesses, and that less of the economic benefits leak away than with conventional tourism.’

Dr Hampton is Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management at the University’s Kent Business School and Director of its Centre for Tourism in IslandsĀ and Coastal Areas. Backpacker Development and Economic Development: Perspectives from the Less Developed World is published by Routledge

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