Visiting a destination can bring financial benefits to a country. However, how you spend your money is worth a closer thought. Because sometimes the money you spend does not end up in the country, but flows back to the home country of the company you buy from. This phenomenon is also known as economic leakage. Therefore, buying at locally owned shops is important to support the people who live in the destination. That way, not only the people who are working in the tourism industry benefit from your stay, but also the others. There are a lot of things you will need to pay attention to when spending money at the visited destination. Below, we will give you some advice on spending money locally.
- Try to buy your daily items, such as sunscreen and shampoo, locally. This can be at the local market or local supermarket. If you buy these items in your internationally owned hotel, the products are often imported and the net benefits flow back to the home country of the hotel. A nice benefit for you, as a visitor, is that the products are often also cheaper in the local shops.
- Go on excursions with a local tour operator. Similar to spending money in local shops, the money stays in the destination and ends up with the local population.
- Sometimes, people have the tendency to go with what they already know. So eating food that they are familiar with or drinking the same beverages as they would do at home. An example hereof is drinking Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is an American brand and therefore the profits are being transferred back to the Coca-Cola Company in the United States. A destination would benefit more if you order a drink, or meal, that is either produced in the country or prepared with local ingredients. In that way, the local suppliers are also supported. Therefore, instead of your Coca-Cola, you could order fresh fruit juice which is actually healthier too.
- Many products in local markets are counterfeit; just think of Gucci bags, watches and video games. Customs at your home country can give you a hefty fine for importing these counterfeit goods.
- Never give money, sweets or other products to beggars, because that will only stimulate the begging industry. It might be shocking to hear, but begging is often caused by the tourism industry. Because tourists are giving money or products to children, these children are often forced to go out on the streets to beg. This means that they are no longer going to school which will reduce the chances of getting out of poverty. This way, it becomes a vicious cycle. If you want to give money, do so in a collelctive way, for example by donating to a local project.
- The same vicious cycle is often created through buying from children. Tourists tend to buy products from children because they look cute or feel sorry for them. However, this can cause parents to take children out of school and put them to work to earn a higher income. Therefore, it is recommended to buy your souvenirs or other products from adults.