Over the past few decades the international tourism industry has gone through a boom period. Cheap air travel, in particular, has allowed ordinary working class people to travel to more international destinations than ever before. In this essay, I shall refer to number of sociological studies to show why – contrary to popular opinion – domestic travel should initially take precedence over international travel.
To begin with, people’s knowledge of their own countries and culture has grown increasingly sketchy. This is largely because foreign brands, television shows and cultural objects flood local markets. For example, The Asian Cultural Society found that Japanese teenagers knew more about American television series than 19th Century Japanese woodcuts. It should therefore be clear that citizens need to know much more about their own countries, and that visits to local cultural centres should occur before visits to remote countries.
Secondly, people reap high economic benefits if they are well-travelled in their country of birth. This is because local travel, in particular, opens up business opportunities. For example, the Korean Society for Entrepreneurship found that 40% of successful start-up companies were run by individuals who had travelled extensively in Korea and sniffed out small openings in developmentally neglected areas. Seen in this light, local travel can also be of vital economic significance
To conclude, although few would argue outright against foreign travel, there are certainly reasons why domestic travel is initially preferable. In the future, as some of the hype surrounding foreign travel dies down, these reasons will no doubt appear more attractive and conspicuous.