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The Myth around Jamaica Tourism Model and Development


1. Tourism drives meaningful development

  • False!  The high paying hotel jobs are not afforded to most Jamaicans and most materials/supplies are imported.

  • Hotel construction jobs are temporary and low paying.

  • As quoted by “The Organization of American States (OAS, 2004), in its research conducted in Jamaica, compares the impact of the all-inclusive system of the tourism industry with other types of systems and finds that, in spite of attracting large amounts of resources, the multiplier effect on the economy is lower than in other sectors because, in this modality, the hotels import more products and create fewer job opportunities.”

2. The community benefits from tourism

  • False!  Hotels are exclusive spaces where most of the spend is already paid before visitors arrive and tourists normally do not leave the compound (all inclusive model).

  • Most of this revenue (over 80%) leaves the shores (repatriated) or never entirely benefits the economy nor is either re-invested in high paying sustainable projects.

3. It is not safe for tourist to mix with the Jamaican citizens

  • False!  There are no indiscriminate and race driven crimes against tourists in Jamaica.  This is a false narrative pushed by hotels and hoteliers that perpetuate a cycle of resentment due to the lack of local access to a diversified sustainable tourism product.

4. Public beaches are incompatible with private resorts.

5. All-inclusive tourism promote Jamaican culture

  • False!  Tourists hardly ever leave the resort and/or property, and are encouraged to stay there never experiencing Jamaica’s natural and cultural heritage.

The Argument against All-inclusive and the current Jamaican Tourism model

  • Antiquated and does not represent next generation recreation.

  • Not sustainable and environmentally unfriendly.

  • According to the United Nations, 100 tourists consume the same amount of water in 55 days as would be required to produce enough rice to feed 100 “third world” villagers for fifteen years.  This is not sustainable.  

  • Loss of heritage rights to local natural resources by blocking access of local population (the natives) to their birthright beaches.

  • Create exclusive economic zones that exclude ordinary citizens fueling inequity, inequality and crime in disenfranchised coastal communities. 

  • Blocks interaction between citizens and tourists to break down barriers and build global trust.

  • Defined by poor quality free food, alcohol and a sterilized beach experience.

  • Constrain the tourists cultural experience and unequal exchange.

  • Not resilient to climate change and impede climate mitigation measures.

    • ​It is reported in 2020 by a group of Caribbean marine scientists that “Approximately 30% of 900 coastal resorts in 19 Caribbean countries could be partially or fully inundated under one metre sea level rise, while a substantially higher proportion (49–60%) would be vulnerable due to the associated coastal erosion.” 

  • Violate living, wages and labor laws with pervasive contract base employment.

  • Impede economic diversification through special interest influences.

  • All-inclusive hotels attracted tourists in the short term but blocked development of other types of tourism, leading to increased tourist harassmentMcElroy J. L., Tarlow P., Carlisle K., 2007 ‘Tourist harassment: review of the literature and destination responses’, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol.1 No.4 pp. 305-314

  • As stated by the Pope, “holiday centers offer a reconstructed ethnicity that humiliates both tourists and the host community.”

  • Beach wetlands used to soak up floodwaters and prevent erosion have been drained and used to develop hotels and beachfront properties.

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