The Caribbean is known for its beautiful islands and breath-taking shores. There are numerous sites in this region of thousands of diverse islands. To list a few reasons as to why it’s a huge attraction to tourists from all over the world, then the coral reefs, colorful fruits, golf courses, sailboats and the wonderful sunsets at the beach are just the tip of the ice burg. It’s the perfect place to relax with the family and a Caribbean holiday is the best place if anyone is seeking for a little adventure. The Caribbean seems to have everything for a great vacation from horse riding to hiking, wildlife tourism and much more. Everything from exploring the beautiful waterfalls, going kayaking upriver and even canoeing gives the Caribbean the top most position in tourism category. The Caribbean has both extinct and live volcanoes. It gives a definite adrenaline rush for tourists seeking it. Its tropical rainforests consists of rare and exotic animal species. It is by all means, absolutely beautiful. The Caribbean region consists of thousands of islands and to name a few that are of great tourist’s interest and as stated in “http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_names_of_the_Caribbean_islands”: “Anguilla UK, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba ~ Netherlands, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe ~ France, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Martinique ~ France, Montserrat ~ UK, Netherland Antilles, Puerto Rico ~ US, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos ~ UK and US Virgin Island.”
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It’s not only about the adventures but the Caribbean features cites of its rich heritage and unique architecture. If we were to take a look into the most popular tourist attraction in the Caribbean then this would definitely include the Barbados; a small island also called as little England during the British era. It is called so, because it still contains a part of the thriving British legacy, cricket, Anglo Saxon activity and high tea.
We have Antigua & Barbuda that has more than 356 beaches (representing one for every year). This too is another popular tourist attraction. Then there is Guyana which is a one of the independent members in the Caribbean. It is also known for its beaches and countless rivers and lakes. The best side to it is that gold deposits and diamonds can be found at the river bottoms and hillsides. This place is popular for yachting and sailing.
Another beautiful island is ST Lucida. This island is known for its mountains that are covered with forests and the wildlife in it. Such other marvelous sites in the Caribbean’s are St Martin, Trinidad, Cuba, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and much more.
Situated in the Caribbean Sea is the Roatan Honduras Island that has brought the economy a constant dramatic increase due to the scuba diving fans. This place offers its visitors everything, ranging from marine wildlife to scuba lessons and even certification. It is know for its coral which is very diverse and can be seen easily. Here, tourism is well developed, hotels are well equipped and the resorts are numerous. This place is even called the “Caribbean’s best kept secret”. It is no doubt one of the most beautiful sites and experiences to have.
According to Gmelch, George (Behind the Smile: the Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 2003), the Caribbean governments welcome tourists with warm hearts because they realized that the Caribbean economy is completely dependant on tourism, also being referred to as “the engine of their growth”. Economic development in the Caribbean has benefited merchants, farmers, fishermen and many more. According to Pattullo, Polly. (Last Resorts: the Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean. London: Cassell, 1996), “Tourism is a huge contributor to the economies of all Caribbean countries and the biggest contributor to many of them such as Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas and the Virgin Islands”
Yolande Wilson MBA ’08 In “the Caribbean Tourism Fueled by Hotel Development: The Good and the Bad”, explains that the success of Caribbean tourism is probably because people have the thoughts of aqua blue waters, warm sand beaches and luxury images on their minds. It is these precise thoughts that play a large role in the tourism business in the Caribbean. This puts all the focus on the tourism companies, services industries and real estate development. Tourism in the Caribbean is as early as 1862 where Jamaica had health spas and cruises that ran to the island but now, the tourism industries in the Caribbean estimates an anticipated contribution of over 18.7 billion dollars by 2011.
Another author named C. James Hospedales wrote about the importance of tourism to Caribbean development in (Healthy Tourism in the Caribbean) Saturday, 22nd September 2007. He explained that 25 billion dollars were the gross output in the Caribbean tourism with more than 12 million tourists arriving for stay in the Caribbean and more than 6 million cruise ships. Hotels were completely booked and tourism became very important to the Caribbean economy. Tourism in the Caribbean is even compared to oil in the Middle East. They have also made it a motto “Caribbean development through quality tourism” which made it clear that the economy will be completely dependant on tourism for the coming years.
With the arrival of the internet on 1995 which made it possible to spread the word of all the good and bad news. It was an effective tool in informing the world about this ravishing country. There was also the European tour operators whom made it easy for the tourists to get to the Caribbean from the European countries. However, with the success of increasing arrivals of tourists that helped boost the country’s economy, it also brought in the possibility of diseases being imported from different parts of the world. Yet this did not stop the Caribbean tourism organization from making sure that such issues along with injuries are minimized to its lowest. Their vision was that the Caribbean “to be the safest, happiest, and healthiest of comparable destinations in the world”
It’s obvious that tourism has affected the economy of the Caribbean region. These effects are mainly due to the travel and tourism industries. Through Paul McDaniel’s point of view, an eHow contributing writer in “The effects of Tourism in the Caribbean”, the economy was affected both positively and negatively. From these effects, we’d notice that it includes the Caribbean’s utmost and complete reliance on tourism and travel industries. But because, most of these tourism companies are never usually based in a particular Caribbean island, much of the money made does not stay on the Caribbean. This may also appear as a disadvantage for the Caribbean. However, without the competing companies, the economy could also be highly affected.
However, David Jessop wrote about “Grasping the full economic impact of Caribbean tourism” Sunday | September 23, 2007 and questioned if the governments truly understood the importance of tourism, which in his words is “the industry that now underwrites the regional economy”. He provided reports that were produced over the last 2 years that explained the positive impact tourism had on the economy. These reports were based on the studies produced, supported and encouraged by the Caribbean tourism organization and Caribbean hotel association. It was a clear demonstration to the government that tourism has become the dominant force in the Caribbean. In these reports, the Caribbean tourism is expected to get over 56.1 billion dollars economically with about 15% increase in tourism employment from 2007 to 2017. Basically these earnings are expected to grow over 3 percent per year. Therefore, from these readings it’s pretty clear that the Caribbean region is economically dependent on the tourism industry. However, if these industries do not remain competitive, then the economic boost could come to an end.
The problems that face the Caribbean tourism industry are those of globalization as well as interdependence. Therefore the beauty and nature of the country will not be enough to make the region’s case. It requires the government to play a role in supporting it to the fullest. Whether it’s decreasing the taxes, providing public health education or even changing the policies to fit the country’s increasing economy.
In a pacific islands report written by Sir Ronald Sanders in the “Benefits of Caribbean tourism must be shared”, he wrote about another problem that could affect the tourism industry in the Caribbean which is surprisingly the racial division notion in the island. This existing problem causes constant discomfort among many hotel owners that are expatriates, managers and the citizens yet they dare not deal with it. These problems are being left depressed like the racial division between the ownership on one side and the workers on the other. This problem is expected to worsen in the future if not dealt with now. Given the growing size of tourists coming into the country every year, it would keep requiring a large size of financial investments for the resorts and hotels in the Caribbean. These investments are primarily funded by the white expatriates that own tourism companies and can build or own resorts and any other tourism aspects in the business. This may seem as a problem because the profits in this case are sent abroad. The country does not benefit and the balance is disturbed.
In an abstract written by Harry G. Matthews, 6 May 2009 “Radicals and third world tourism: A Caribbean focus”, he talks about the metropolitan tourism in third world countries that have brought to question the tourist industries in a more political and social way. He talks about how it could affect the country and in this case, the Caribbean. He believes that tourism is an intrusion which is of metropolitan type, developed by the white people into the world of non-white. He also believes that these are merely fantasies sold to the tourists, causing the rise of cultures in countries like the Caribbean. Therefore the solution lies with the government of these countries where they are trying to bring forth an increase in sophistication. However, it is uncertain of how this action would actually take place.
A critique; Tom Womeldorff analyzes the Caribbean tourism in an interesting way in “Caribbean tourism: A Critical analysis” 10/14/2009. He writes about the western mentality of escaping to tropical islands with exotic animals, plants and warm sunsets. This fantasy is offered by the Caribbean tourism resorts and travel agencies that aim to fulfill the western dream. And recently, the market has included the catering of tourists whom want to experience the exotic island to the fullest. These tourism agencies are expanding to provide whatever desires that could have tourist dollars following it. Therefore these tourist industries carefully construct the hotels and resorts to meet the conceptions and needs of tourists. This perception to perfection however comes with a cost. Although it provides as a source of income to the Caribbean people, it has made them completely commoditized because it requires that they put all their focus in the tourism programme, to make every thing possible.
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In “The state and tourism: a Caribbean perspective” by Hilton McDavid, Diaram Ramajeesingh, the abstract mentions an important something to think about and it’s how the tourism industries are now the center of attention. This is because the country is now tourism dependant. But does the government do what it takes to make sure that the social and environmental needs are taken care off? In this journal, the writers believe that the government have to work harder in order to shape the tourism industries in a way that every sector in the Caribbean benefits.
The Stabroek staff | February 5, 2010 in Business “the Caribbean tourism industry” raise an important question “Will the 2009 nightmare push regional tourist destinations towards diversification”. It is true that the Caribbean got caught up in the economic crisis that took away jobs, homes, savings and much more. The Caribbean people were beginning to wonder if they have to shift towards diversification for their economic incomes. The number of tourists drastically changed and Caribbean development bank activities showed a significant decline. “Sharply declining tourist arrivals” according to the CDB with other investments, “the main transmission channels of the crisis to regional economies.”
However it appears that the Caribbean has settled down from all the economic problems and found its comfort zone where it’s reassured that the tourists will keep coming in. the CDG even reports that the growth is expected to return and is likely to become the same by 2011.
Although the whole economy of the country, people’s jobs and welfare cannot wait till the crises associated with the whole world is recovered, diversification for a better economy should be considered.
In “Caribbean tourism looking toward an improvement in 2010” by Linda Hutchinson-Jafar, Jan 28, 2010, after the economic crises that effected the country’s economy due to the decline in tourists rate, the Caribbean tourism industry began improving despite criminal and tax problems in some of the islands.
And the earthquake that hit Haiti did not affect the island’s economy much. Chastanet said, during and annual event in the Caribbean “We will probably end the year 5.6 percent down but we’re looking for a strong rebound in 2010”
And a hotel owner Rene Seepersadsingh “The economic situation globally impacted negatively on Tobago. Hotels reported as much as a 40 percent decline in stayover, particularly from the British and the German markets”
As for Jamaica, it was seeing a 4% increase in arrivals while the other islands were reporting a decline in 2009. This is probably because it was running ads on television across North America, tempting them to join the warm summers. They were very successful with their ads as Barlett who works at the airlines said “For this winter season now beginning, we have a record 1 million (airline) seats which is the largest number we ever had”.
The unusual part is that Jamaica continues to attract tourists even though it is categorized as one of the most violent countries in the world. The murder and crimes rates were 1,680 last year alone. Barlett believes that “It’s a contradiction. The most iconic attraction in Jamaica is the people. It belies the crime statistics”
Finally the most spoke about topic in the Caribbean tourism is “HARPOONING CARIBBEAN TOURISM: SWALLOWING A DEAD RAT” by Sir Ronald Sanders
Sunday, March 14, 2010. The new attractions that require full support by the Caribbean governments are the whale watching activities. There was an international meeting held in Martinique from February 18 to 21 on what they call “Sustainable Blue tourism in the Caribbean”, specifically urging the Caribbean government to not only support this attraction but to protect the marine wildlife and mammal population by providing sustainable jobs to the fishermen. This new attraction is bound too boost the economy situation and the exotic fantasies keep getting better.
Thus the Caribbean keeps finding ways to attract tourists and its economy although highly dependant on tourism yet, very rich.