The perceived effects of tourism industry development: A comparison of two Hellenic islands

Date of Completion

January 1993


Sociology, General|Sociology, Social Structure and Development|Recreation




The global tourism industry is projected to generate over $3.5 trillion and to employ over 130,000,000 persons in 1993 (Waters 1993; WTTC 1993). It is one of the new forces of socioeconomic development worldwide, with special input for developing economies. Some analysts (Acsher 1985; Britton 1982, 1989) argue, however, that the impact of transnational corporations (including corporations related to tourism) on peripheral and semiperipheral countries may be negative in the long run, generating among other things economic dependency, lack of endogenous development, and domination of national political economies.^ It is the purpose of this study to provide a theoretical discussion and empirical evidence on the social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental effects of the tourism industry on developing nations. In particular, the study examines whether the population of Zakynthos, an island with endogenous tourism-industry development, perceives the effects of tourism differently from the inhabitants of Rhodes, an island whose tourism-industry development is based mainly on transnational capital investments. The data for this study were collected by means of a thirty-seven-item questionnaire administered to a sample of 367 randomly selected adult women and men in three constituencies--residents, tourist corporation/business spokespersons, and local government representatives and officials--living on the islands of Zakynthos and Rhodes.^ The major findings support the hypotheses that the effects of tourism-industry development in Rhodes, where transnational tourist corporations predominate, were perceived more negatively than in Zakynthos, where the industry is mainly based on endogenous economic forces. In Rhodes, the intrusion has contributed to a lack of endogenous development and to the emergence of a series of negative sociocultural effects. The findings suggest that small-scale, locally planned and managed tourism may have more positive long term effects and be more sustainable than conventional mass tourism. ^