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Impact Of Tourism In The Caribbean

2086 words - 8 pages

According to the ‘World Tourism Organization’ (UNWTO), the tourism industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, as it is estimated that by the year 2020, 7.8 billion people (roughly a quarter of the world’s population) will embark on a foreign trip (Bennett & Gebhardt 15). The Caribbean is said to be the most economically dependent on this industry, as the ‘Caribbean Tourism Organisation’ states that the industry forms the “economic backbone of most countries in the Region”(“Caribbean Tourism Industry” 1), implications for what tourism’s affect on the region have arisen and have prompted further research into matter. Since the 1970’s research regarding tourism in the Caribbean has attempted to determine the social, cultural, environmental, and economic impacts of tourism. Much of the research has found that there are in fact many negative adverse affects, and Jackson’s article asserts that, “Governments often commit money and other resources to support the growth and development of tourism and often turn a blind eye to its negative impacts” (574). The reason why tourism looks attractive (and thus turn a blind eye) to these Caribbean countries is because of “its potential to foster GDP growth, to create employment, to increase foreign exchange earnings, and attract capital investment” (Daye, Chambers, and Roberts 2). This paper will overview such impacts by first discussing a case study conducted in Jamaican resort town, Ocho Rios, with Sheere Brooks discussing the observed social, cultural and economical consequences of Jamaica’s reliance on the tourism industry and will finally look at tourism in relation to capitalism, with Robert Fletcher suggesting in his article that the tourism industry (and more specifically ecotourism) provides a “vital function in sustaining capitalism” (444). Furthermore, the articles mentioned in this paper help to provide an insight into the tourism industry in the Caribbean and also help to demonstrate capitalism’s role within it.

In the book New Perspectives in Caribbean Tourism, Brooks’ chapter: ‘A Squatter in My Own Country! Spatial Manifestations of Social Exclusion in a Jamaican Tourist Resort Town’, presents a qualitative study on the effects of tourism in Ocho Rios, a Jamaican tourist town. As Jamaica is one of the most visited destinations in the Caribbean, and with Ocho Rios in particular being categorized (in relation to its tourism activity) as “one of the fastest-growing urban towns” (170), this study provides a good example as to what the Caribbean region in general may be experiencing in relation to this reliance on the ever-growing tourism industry, as well as provide insights as to how these problems can be alleviated.

The study examined the interactions between the squatter settlement and the “tourism space” as well as the informal and formal employment sectors within Ocho Rios. Overall, Brooks found that there was a “socio-spatial exclusion” due to the tourism industry, thus...

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