In recent years, pilgrimage tourism has become very popular among pilgrims. Pilgrimage Tourism to Shrine constitutes an important component of total tourism in and has contributed effectively to the growth and development of the place. Every year around 7 million pilgrims visit the Shrines in India which is influencing the socio-economic environment of the region and the present paper is throwing light on the economic impact of the pilgrimage tourism. This paper is based on the methodology adopted for estimation of economic impact tourism. This article explains and supports the idea that the economic impacts of religious tourism should not be neglected or underestimated, although religious institutions have traditionally attempted to downplay this in the past. Additionally, the paper argues that religion and tourism have much in common. In the modern world it is hard to ignore the impression that in most places of pilgrimage the profane impacts of tourism are just as important if not more so than the religious. This paper lends theoretical support to this argument.
Keywords: religious tourism, economic impacts, pilgrimages.
Pilgrimage Tourism has emerged as an instrument for employment generation, poverty alleviation and sustainable human development. Pilgrimage Tourism promotes international understanding and gives support to local handicrafts and cultural activities. It is an important segment of the country’s economy, especially in terms of its contribution towards foreign exchange earnings, generation of additional income and creation of employment opportunities. The foreign exchange earnings from tourism during the year 2000 were estimated at about Rs. 14,408 crores with an estimated direct employment of about 15 million, which is about 2.4% of the total labor force of the country. Pilgrimage Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner for India. The International tourist traffic in the country is estimated to be 2.64 million during the year 2000. However, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), India’s share in world tourism arrivals is only 0.38%, accounting for 0.62% of the world tourist receipts. This indicates that much of the tourist potential is yet to be tapped. With rapid advances in Science & Technology, tourism has acquired the status of an industry in all industrialized countries. The high influx of foreign tourist traffic has accelerated demand for certain economic production and distribution activities. Pilgrimage Tourism has emerged as an industry next in importance only to Information Technology industry in the Services sector. By 2012, the contribution of pilgrimage Tourism to the world economy will be doubled. The economic liberalization in India and consequent foreign investment opportunities, development of tourist facilities including expansion in air-line services, etc. provide an impetus for a spurt in tourist arrivals as in South Asian regions. Domestic pilgrimage tourism plays a vital role in achieving the national objectives of promoting social and cultural cohesion and national integration. Its contribution to generation of employment is very high. With the increase in income levels and emergence of a powerful middle class, the potential for domestic pilgrimage tourism has grown substantially during the last few years. Realising the importance of pilgrimage tourism, the Government of Tamil Nadu has accorded high priority to pilgrimage tourism promotion and has taken initiatives to improve/ create infrastructure in tourism potential centres and geared to encourage private sector investment in this regard.
To study about the pilgrimage tourism and its economic impacts
To identify the social, cultural and economic impact of the pilgrimage tourism management
To study The Positive and Negative,Social and Environmental Impacts of pilgrimage Tourism management
The data for this study were collected from local residents which engaged in tourism activities.
tourists were identified as a key factor in developing tourism in local communities. This research is mainly based on secondary data such as broucher, pamplets, books,news papers,internet,advertisement etc.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
The study would contribute to identify the need for economic dimension in pilgrimage tourism. Pilgrimage tourism helps in giving manifold economic benefits. The present study will be designed as an conceptual one,. few places of Tamilnadu had identified as places where high positive effects of pilgrimage tourism on income, employment and standard of living of local residents in Tamilnadu had analyzed here in this study. By studying this article it is possible to bring out the various strategies required for making the pilgrimage tourism in Tamilnadu a better destination in economic dimension. Further, this study may be useful to other states also for tapping the pilgrimage potential.
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Review of literature
Laukush Mishra (2000) “Pilgrimage tourism is being recognized as a prime industry in most parts of the world for the purpose of earning maximum foreign exchange. Social significance of pilgrimage tourism cannot be said of less importance. Tourism industry requires variety as it is very essential capital and India is land of diversity. here diversity is present in every walk of life, from natural such as air, and water to social factors such as language and behaviour all varies from place to place. Pilgrimages are not a destination only for our religious faith but they also strengthen our national unity and promote brother hoodness also. the time has to come when these should be used to earn foreign exchange also keeping guarded our cultural heritage. in fact the other part of world may learn many things from India.indians might be poor from pocket but the wealth what they have in their behaviour is match less in the world.on domestic front religious tourism can be very helpful for regional development, employment generation, and can enroot again the cultural values. many modern social evils which are caused by materialism can be cured with the help of religious tourism”. Orland (1990) “The pilgrimage tourism sites in developing countries are subjected to extraordinary economic pressures and change. Often being the only remaining open spaces in densely populated urban or rural agricultural landscapes, they are in danger of being over run, either by surrounding development, or by growing recreational uses. A site faces pressures from pilgrims, international tourists and local day-visitors, all with different goals and needs. There are two apparently conflicting goals: to increase international pilgrimages and tourism use of the site, and to enhance the site for local day-visitors. Strategies are presented which would reduce these present conflicts, allow for growth and respond to local management constraints”. Mc Grath (1999) “The importance of pilgrimage travel as an economic, social and spatial phenomenon cannot be ignored. The term “pilgrimage tourism’ implies travel to a site or worship or a sacred place. Conceptually, it is not unlike recreational or tourism movements as a form of short term migration. It is one of the most geographically significant forms of religious behaviour”. David (2005 ) “The informal tourism sector and pilgrimage tourism tradition and today the bulk of domestic informal tourism in India consists of poor people participating in some religious pilgrimage trip, although, it is some times difficult to tell the difference between religious and non religious trips. The tourism impact of each of the four sectors according to four levels, economic, social, cultural and environmental, broadly defined, economic refers to total income from tourists, number of jobs generated, tourist expenditures or costs (land, commodity, wage inflation and import leakages) social impact refers to population displacement, migration, what class owns the tourist establishments, impact on the quality of living, increase or decrease in crime, cultural impact looks at degree of commoditization of symbols and performances, increase in undesirable activities, cultural influences derived from tourists and hostility towards tourist. Pilgrimage tourism as a modern phenomenon, and the changing history and nature of religious pilgrimage in India”.Champakalakshmi (1998) “Buddhism in tamilnadu seeks to provide an alternative perspective and different approach to the study of patronage to Buddhism in tamilnadu, keeping in view the major chronological periods, the early historic and the early medieval, within which such an exercise becomes meaningful. Patronage of formal religious systems in pre-modern India was closely linked to the ideological needs of political organization and its socio-economic base”.Kiran shinde (1996) “Pilgrimage tourism begins by reasoning that the increasing use of mechanical transport to pilgrimage sites erodes the cultural notions that have underpinned pilgrimage tourism for centuries. Then, it seeks to demonstrate in two respects, the relevance of insights into how sacred journeying interconnects persons, places, and time. The first insight concerns the travel patterns of and income potential from pleasure and pilgrimage tourists in the current situation of unstable national and international security. The second insight relates to local perceptions of sociocultural, economic, and environmental risks involved in pilgrimage tourism. The cultural dimension must be included as a crosscutting concern in environmental, social, and economic impact assessments of transport projects to heritage sites”. Boris Vukonic (1998) “The economic impacts of pilgrimage tourism, the economic impacts of pilgrimage tourism relationship should not be underestimated. Taking into account the fact that pilgrimage tourism is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, it is almost impossible to examine religion and its specific relationships to tourism: economic, social and cultural. Based on theoretical research of scholars it can be said that the two phenomena – pilgrimage and tourism – have much too common. Today, it is hard to get away with the impression that in most places of pilgrimage sites. The profane impacts of tourism are greater due to the religious reasons. Even in the so called ‘hard-line’ or conservative religions of the world, because of their strict observance of religious duties of their adherents, such benefits are no longer denied”. Rajesh Raina (2001) “Pilgrimage Tourism to Shrine constitutes an important component of total tourism and it has contributed effectively to the growth and development of the place. Every year around 7 million pilgrims visit the Shrine which is influencing the socio-economic environment of the region. The economic impact of the Shrine related pilgrimage tourism. The income generated is taken from all the five basic component of industries or sets of people, , which are directly and more or less totally dependent on the pilgrimage tourism viz. the Hotel Industry, Transport Industry, various commercial establishments including all types of shops operating at the pilgrimage tourism sites”. Harsh nevatia (2001) “Religious tourism has a big future in India. India is richly endowed with ancient temples and religious festivals. Religions originating in India, be it Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism or Buddhism, have a vibrant culture and spiritual philosophy. Religious tourism in India has immense potential to evolve as a niche segment. There are hurdles to be overcome. The first hurdle is the poor tourism infrastructure in general, and perhaps the even poorer infrastructure of religious centres. Adequate facilities for lodging, boarding and traveling and travel will have to be created. what needs to be done is to create nodes near religious centres, where there is already a basic infrastructure present and plan day trips from there. religious tourism in India can provide an experience that cannot be had anywhere in the world, but for it to fructify, the seeds will have to be sown and the saplings will have to be natured”. Elena (2001) “The pilgrimage tourism involve in economic activities around and in the country. Pilgrimage tourism is one of the most important factors in the economy of many countries; that intense competition amongst world destination is evident. The need to innovate and to create new products has forced the development of more and different concepts as is the case with cultural and religious tourism, the vast religious heritage is the reason which leads to faith and the awakening of renewed interest in the practices of pilgrimage tourists who visit for religious reasons. This is beginning to trace out a greater impact in pilgrimage tourism”. Arnab Karar (2010) “Tourism become an engine for economic development and plays a great role towards socio-economic changes. According to Indian sentiment the pilgrim centers or tirthasthan used to visit by number of tourists to earn virtue. Not only domestic but also foreign tourists are also come here throughout the year. The tourism industry has played an important role and it becomes a boon. Due to the gathering of many pilgrims every year, a number of hotels, ashrams, restaurants etc. are built. For the construction of those hotels every year a number of persons are engaged. Therefore, hotel business is playing an important role in the economic system. For fulfilling the necessities of the tourists, the restaurant owners prepare different types of dishes Therefore the restaurant owners have to deal with various whole-sellers for supply their cooking item and vegetables. There also an economic transaction happens for the restaurant business. A number of buses, shared jeep are available here for the journey of holy Shrines. Therefore, transport economy is also play an important role here due to pilgrim tourism. Tourism development board always engaged for the betterment of the pilgrims. The tourism based economy, particularly which of the religious complex, may continue to flourish and thrive as long as its religious sanctity is ensured to satisfy religious sentiment of the pilgrim tourists”.
THE EXPERIENCE ECONOMY AND TOURISM
Tourism has principally been concerned with the tourist experience of visiting, seeing, learning, enjoying, and living in a different mode of life (Stamboulis and Skayannis 2003). In this sense, everything tourists go through at a destination can be experience, be it behavioral or perceptual, cognitive or emotional, or expressed or implied. To the stakeholders of tourism, such as tourists, destination marketers, local residents, and policy makers, the nature and scope of the experience offered by a destination and processed by tourists determine the value of the destination. Hence, researchers have emphasized understanding what the tourist experience is and how it is formed as a result of visiting a destination. The two-dimensional model of tourist values proposed by Crick-Furman and Prentice (2000) exemplifies the nature of the tourist experience, whereas the “type” analysis by Uriely,Yonay, and Simchai (2002) and the analysis of benefit determinants by Prentice, Witt, and Hamer (1998) reflect how the tourist experience was formed. Prentice (2004) also introduced two intrinsic motivation models, the romantic and mass tourism paradigms, to explain the diversity of tourist experiences by means of underlying tourist motivations. As shown in these studies, it is indeed a challenging task to capture all elements experienced by a tourist at a destination in a concise measurement model for the purpose of assessing the performance or value of a destination. Pine and Gilmore (1999; Gilmore and Pine 2002a, 2002b) proposed the experience economy as an emerging paradigm for enhancing business performance across a wide range of industries, including tourism and hospitality.
The experience economy concept has been introduced sporadically to tourism research and it adds to the dimensions by which to interpret tourist experience (e.g., Richards, 2001; Stamboulis and Skayannis 2003). Pine and Gilmore (1999, p. 12) defined experience from a business perspective: “Experiences are events that engage individuals in a personal way”; but we surmise that they would define experience from a consumer perspective as enjoyable, engaging, memorable encounters for those consuming these events. According to Pine and Gilmore (1999), there are fourm, realms (or dimensions) of experience differentiated by the level and form of customer involvement in business offerings, as depicted in. Along the customer participation axis, passive participation of the customer in business (or destination) offerings characterizes the entertainment and esthetic dimensions, whereas educational and escapist dimensions reflect active participation. The tourist who passively participates in destination activities does not directly affect or influence the performance of the destination (business), whereas an active participant will personally affect the performance or event that becomes part of his or her experience. Along the absorption-immersion axis, the tourist typically “absorbs” entertaining and educational offerings of a destination and “immerses” in the destination environment resulting in esthetic or escapist experiences. Absorption in this context is defined as “occupying a person’s attention by bringing the experience into the mind” and immersion as “becoming physically (or virtually) a part of the experience itself ” (Pine and Gilmore 1999, p. 31).
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THE EXPERIENCE ECONOMY IN THE TOURISM DECISION PROCESS
Because Pine and Gilmore’s (1999) realms of experience focus on describing the goodness of destination offerings in four summary dimensions, it is useful to consider the potential antecedents and consequences of these realms of experience. In a general sense, tourists are believed to hold personal values that permeate their life and that embed their choice of a specific destination and/or target tourist experience (Madrigal and Kahle 1994). Such values, once directed at a specific target (i.e., a trip to take), give rise to travel motives, which function as the “push” factor for the upcoming trip taking. Once travel motives coalesce, a set of relevant destinations is evoked along with the tourist’s attitude associated with each destination in the set. At this point, the expected value of the experience from a destination, known as the “pull” factor or travel motivation, often solidifies or weakens the tourist’s intention to choose the destination. Travel motives and motivations have been used as key variables for market segmentation studies on tourist experiences (e.g., Loker-Murphy 1996; Prentice,Witt, and Hamer 1998). Although tourism research on destination experiences has assumed that personal values were inextricably linked to tourist experiences, supporting empirical evidence is limited. Only a few researchers have attempted to explicate how global person values reduce to perceptions of tourist experiences for a particular destination (e.g., Klenosky, Gengler, and Mulvey 1993). Nonetheless, this kind of person-environment relationship is argued to be unstable, inconsistent, and disconnected because the environment (e.g., the experience at a destination) is not a routine part of daily life for most people (Burningham and O’Brien 1994). Due to the infrequency of tourism experience in the life of most people, motive- or value-based phenomenology of tourist experiences can be futile (Aitken and Bjorklund 1988). Moreover, values may not be considered as enduring through all activities of the person and, thus, tourist experiences may be driven instead by immediate goals and objectives of the tourist interacting with the focal environment or destination (Bagozzi and Warshaw 1990; Crick-Furman and Prentice 2000). Oh (2001) reasoned why a priori comparison standards, such as expectations, importance, and personal values, often have little bearing on post experience evaluations in the hospitality consumption context. In contrast, specific consequences of tourist experiences have drawn less research attention than the antecedents discussed above. While it is apparent that internalized benefits, such as mental or spiritual recreation, well-being, and fulfillment, may be long-term tourism benefits, more destination- or individual travel-specific outcomes of the experience have not been widely conceptualized, particularly in line with Pine and Gilmore’s conceptual framework. These rather transaction-oriented consequences are important for the sake of destination management because they provide travel marketers with not only diagnostic summary evaluations of destination offerings but also better understanding of the factors affecting the tourist’s future destination choice.
Pilgrimage Tourism in the Face of the Economic Crisis
World economy faces an unprecedented crisis, triggering one of the most severe recessions in generations. The world’s GDP is forecast to decline by some 1.4% in 2009, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF, July 2009), the exports have been dramatically reduced and all advanced economies are in recession. And, even the emerging economies, which at the beginning seemed to resist better, are rapidly facing the impact of the economic crisis. Pilgrimage Tourism, though resisting better than some sectors, has not been immune. Markets started to deteriorate by mid 2008. UNWTO market monitoring indicates that the plummeting results of international tourism during the last part of 2008 have continued during the first months of 2009. International tourist arrivals are estimated to have declined by as much as 8% in the first four months of 2009, bringing overall international tourism to the level of 2007. This trend is confirmed by data on air transport by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which shows a 6.8% decline in air passenger’s traffic in the first seven months of this year, and data on hotel occupancy rates which, according to STR Global, are down by 9% to 13% in all world regions in the period January-July 2009.
PROSPECTS OF PILGRIM TOURISM IN INDIA
When global warming threatens lives and property the world over, many surviving natural sectors offer clue to reverse climate change. Over the years pilgrim tourism has been recognized as one of the most vibrant natural sectors of economy. In the western and European nations, Christian religious tourism is a thriving sector. There are around 117 Marian shrines in Canada, 181 shrines in the United States for Roman Catholics and thousands of sites connected to various Protestant denominations and ancient religions of the Native Americans. Majority of those places have become important global destinations for pilgrims. It happens because those countries have a sound approach to pilgrim sector. In India, there are hundreds of pilgrim destinations connected to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and the Muslim religion, which have potential to generate employment on a sustainable basis. More than 15 crore Indians visit pilgrim places across the country. The nation’s ancient history and mythological past have sprung up hundreds of pilgrim centers across the country. Many have origins traced in the mythologies. Pilgrim tourism serves the greatest purpose of integrating people from different regions as people from farthest east travel to southern corner and the west to north enjoying the hospitality of one another. The Badrinath, Kedarnath, Mount Kailash, Vaishno Devi, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Amritsar in the north, the Sabarimal, Rameswaram, Madurai and Tirupati in the south, Puri Jagganath temple in the East and Shirdi Sai Baba temples, the magnificent churches of Goa in the western part, the Ujjain, Omkareswar, Sanchi and Ajmer in the central India and a host of other famous pilgrim spots keep more than 15 per cent of Indians population moving.
When people move out of their houses in pilgrimage it triggers a host of economic activities right from their doorsteps. Travel agencies, hotel chains, restaurants, sale of religious artifacts, handicrafts, floriculture activity, health sector, and shops selling travel kits etc get activated. The Tirupathi Devasthanam in Tirumala requires more than 20 tones of flowers every day during the peak season. Bangalore city transports flowers worth Rs 30 lakh every day to Tirumala. Faith is the greatest stimulant for economic activities, which could generate revenues on a sustainable basis without putting pressure on environment.
The famous patta chitra, palm leave carvings, appliqué work, painting on tassar clothes originate from the religious practices in the Lord Jagganath temple of Puri. In ancient time people believed a pilgrimage to Puri is not complete unless one carries a piece of patta chitra or an appliqué work with them. Today handicraft traders have carried those traditional crafts to international craft bazaars. A 40 sq feet patta chitra made by a senior artist is sold at a price ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 7 lakh in international craft bazaar. Nearly 15 lakh pilgrims gather in Puri to watch the spectacular Rath Yatra, widely known as the journey of the mankind. More than 20 million people gather in Kumbhamela, which is the largest congregation of pilgrims in the world. Though millions more want to travel, uncomfortable journey, lack of clean and economy class accommodation, poor quality of food and water served in many pilgrim centers dissuade pilgrims to travel. Many pilgrim centers in India have become too commercialized and caught up with making money only. Business opportunities let economics over shadow the very purpose of spiritual places, which ultimately affects pilgrim sector.
Unlike tourists who come to spend and enjoy, the pilgrims generally come to have spiritual experience. Natural surroundings, cleanliness and ethnic culture always provide the spiritual aura. The magnificent hills of Sahyadri range in Maharashtra attracts more than six lakh pilgrims to walk 261 km to have a darshan of their revered god Panduranga at Pendarpur. Recently Maharashtra Government has decided to develop 261 km roads with huge public expenditure. This is actually unnecessary and it may destroy the natural environment of the route. Amaranth yatra would not fascinate lakhs of people without those snowcapped mountains, forests, springs and vallies.A well thought out pilgrim policy will undoubtedly help millions of Indians to rise above the poverty line. Children from school must learn how to tap the pilgrim tourism potential. Public awareness about pilgrim sector should be created among people for cleaner and greener environment in pilgrim places. Documenting the myths, mysteries, history and folklore of pilgrim places is the first step towards making a thriving pilgrim sector in India.
PILGRIMAGE AND TOURISM
In this Section we will discuss the pilgrimage tourism in its historic; perspective yatras in search of peace besides, history is also full of references of traders and merchants roaming Srurn place to place in connection with their trading activities. Traditionally a Hindu was supposed to perform yatra to four dhams situated in four corners of India – in the North, Badrinath (on the hills); in the East, Puri (on the sea coast); in the West, Dwarika (on the sea shore), and in the South, Rameshwaram (again on the sea coast). Tirtha yatras were mainly spread along the river bluffs and confluences. The holy rivers, Ganges and Yamuna, have long been venerated and large number of hymns was composed by the Aryans in praise of Ganga. Earlier, pilgrimage was associated with ‘purity of thought’ and undertaken for expiation of sins or for salvation. fie concept of the pilgrimage was “the harder the journey the better the reward (phal)”. Thus, the pilgrims needed minimum infrastructural facilities. rnodern day pilgrimage is ‘pleasure oriented’ and demands vast infrastructure in the tertiary sector. This has had deep impacts. In the following Sections we shall examine pilgrimage tourism and its impact on society in greater detail. Pilgrimage and tourism are closely related. Tourist industry fetches large number of ‘local tourists’ mainly to pilgrim centers. Pilgrimage tourism helps greatly in travel promotion. You will find that ever increasing demand for better travel facilities at pilgrim centers to cater to the large number of pilgrim tourists has pressurized the state governments and tourism departments to come up with concrete plans. Since this kind of tourism involves large profits it has attracted a number of private tour-operators to involve with it. We may cite the instance of Vishnu Devi. The journey in the past was quite hazardous. Recently, however. the roads have got totally rebuilt, and the transport is easily available. Today Jarnmu is connected with every part of India by rail and by air. Similarly, Tirupati, a small town, now has an airport. Trains now reach as far as Rameshwaram. Dwarika is also well connected by road. Even ship cruise facilities are available to visit Dwarika. Ajmer, again though a small town, owes its importance almost wholly to Shaikh Muinuddin Christi’s shrine. the annual lakhs of people participate. Such travel promotion facilitates pilgrimage in particular areas and at the same time it has soci-econornicim placations too. large number of devotees travelling to pilgrim centers generate handsome revenue and are the source of livelihood to hundreds of those who depend on the tourists inflow. There are many pilgrim centers which were earlier small places, but on account of their religious I importance have now emerged as big towns. Katra, a small town in Jammu, now has a chain of small hotels. Similarly, Shirdi, a very small village, now on account of the increasing popularity of Shirdi saint’s shrine is fast developing into a big town with a nurnber of luxury hotels coming up. Pilgrim centers also develop’ into big shopping spots. Dwarika specializes in cloth paintings. Similarly, people buy dry fruits like akhrot in large quantities from Jarnmu where it is quite cheap. Besides, these pilgrim centers are flooded with consumer items – artificial jewellery, bangles, local handicrafts (of wood, jute, cane, stone-carvings (images of gods and goddesses), and show-pieces, etc.
Economic impacts in pilgrimage tourism
Pilgrimage Tourism is an economic activity that is imposed, or at least grafted, on a pre-existing set of economic activities and traditional ways of life (Price & Harrison, 1996: 1). Pilgrimage Tourism is a product of three main elements; destination, hosts and the tourists. Pilgrimage Tourism is a process which obviously affects various aspects of society and culture. Primarily its impact is of economic nature. Sharma (2009) states that the contribution of pilgrimage tourism in gross foreign exchange is 15 to 17 percent and the influence of tourism is also centered in some specific areas only not throughout the whole nation but it does not mean to underestimate the pilgrimage tourism because we know a very little about the multiplier effect of the pilgrimage tourism; we must take account of the foods, vegetables and fruits that the tourists take as well as the employment plus the crafts that the tourists purchase. According to Godfrey and Clarke (2000), socio-cultural change relate to local quality of life and sense of place. Positive change in the quality of life could be as follows; personal income increases, helps to improve living standards for those more directly involved in industry, supports the diversity of restaurants and other cultural entertainment, influence the assortment of goods for sale in many local shops that would not be available in the same amount if pilgrimage tourism did not exist to support them, park areas are often improved, street furniture and design criteria introduced, greater care and attention placed on overall environmental quality, new opportunities etc. And in contrary negative changes in the quality of life could be as follows; local shops overcharging, petty theft from cars and accommodation, more serious personal assault etc. Regarding the sense of place, posit
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