I think it's the difference between people in general (tourism is a good thing, it helps people) and a particular people (we don't need to feel guilty about swanning around this desperately poor area, because tourism helps the people). I am probably wrong about this, but would vaguely have expected that 'Menschen' would have implied the former???
I'm beginning to realise, though, that German itself drops the article freely when it doesn't want it. No other language I've ever learnt does that, so I instinctively assume it's up to my English instinct whether I keep it or not, but I'm making a guess that 'Tourismus hilft Menschen' may be a valid German sentence, right?
It's just a rule that helfen takes an object in the dative case in German.
If it helps you remember that, you can think of it as "give help to" or "offer help to" but those are not good translations, in my opinion -- the most straightforward translation is simply "help".
A bit like, say, folgen which also takes a dative object, but you would translate it simply to "follow" and not "make following to" or something like that.
Hopefully developers from Duo check these, because this is actually a flaw. The correct way of speaking, or at least more correct way to speak is what is most accepted, coloquially. And it is definitely correct without the article in this case.
I've noticed that articles are sometimes required, sometimes not; contractions and word substitutions arr sometimes accepted, sometimes not. It seems random which means the developers may not have been following any strict guidelines. When the response is coming from your mother tongue, or more dom language, the response validation should be more liberal.
It's a bit disappointing that so many people have commented here, and yet no moderator has chimed in to clarify whether "tourism helps people" is a satisfactory translation. It was rejected by Duo today, and I reported it. "Tourism helps the people" is feasible in English, but in a very specific context. Is that what the German is saying here? Or do they just use the definite article more than we do, as do the Romance languages, for example?
Whoa, seems there's a bug in lingot offering. When i gave you 4, it showed 4 in your comment. But after giving the fifth one, it showed 2 as total lingots for the comment!
I gave three more to keep my word :). Now it shows you got 5 lingots. But it deducted 8 lingots from me. I don't care :), just wanted to mention I found a strange bug.
(hmm... maybe that's the service charge...)
I think that's due to a general problem with changes not being reflected instantly -- editing or deleting a comment may also take a few seconds to be consistently visible.
If you give away the lingots one at a time, refreshing five times or so and waiting a minute or so between each give-away, things will probably work fine. But if you don't refresh each time and don't wait, then you might get odd results.