Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Topic Options
#399709 - 02/07/11 03:44 PM The cost of tourism
Marty Online   happy
Today's visitors arrive at a homogenized, beaten down "McJamaica"

from a friend...

Food for thought... and how true the last paragraph - expanding cruise industry, disappearing mangroves, beach-front developments. How many elders could write the same article about Hopkins or Placencia?

The cost of tourism


Today's visitors arrive at a homogenized, beaten-down 'McJamaica'


We in the Caribbean march lock-step to take real places and make them theme-park attractions.

As snowstorms lash the U.S. its citizen’s dream of tropical islands - and many get on a plane and go to one. Some go to Negril Jamaica where I sometimes spent weekends as a child. In Jamaica, as elsewhere in the world, American tourists come and spend money. In fact, they're a global economic engine: U.S. travelers spent SU8 billion abroad in 2008, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, more than the citizens of any other nation. Two-thirds of all visitors to the Caribbean are North Americans.


Unfortunately winter-paradise tourism often comes at a great cost.


When I visited Negril as a child, we’d go with other families; rent a basic little house, the kids would play Monopoly during afternoon rainstorms while the adults napped, and we’d all go crabbing at night. At the time the crabs were everywhere, and mangrove forests edged a wide, white-sand beach where not one item of man-made garbage was to be found. The mosquitoes were legion, the water gin-clear, and the town was supported by a viable artisanal fishing industry. The sand-bottom swimming areas were framed by sea grass beds, which held that important herbivore - the sea urchin. We were all expert at taking the spines of sea urchins out of our bare feet.


Today Negril is a very different place. The gin-clear water is now murky. The swamp has been partly drained by canals that take the nutrient-loaded water from sugar cane farms straight into the sea, along with partially treated sewage, which causes an explosion of algae, which smothers the coral reef. Most of the beach vegetation has been removed, as have many seagrass beds. Even the famous seven-mile beach is eroding. There are still crabs, but you have to look hard for them. The mosquitoes are manageable, courtesy of the insecticide Malathion. Hotels, ever larger, line the beach. Power boats and Jet Skis rend the air with the sounds of motors. The fishing is poor.


Negril has been destroyed so the tourists would come. And they have come.


The making of a tourist resort goes like this: First, roads and an airport. Then there must be places to stay, and these have ever escalating requirements: air conditioning, unlimited supplies of hot and cold water, food familiar to the tourist, along with a few items they associate with the tropical paradise of their imaginations, like lobster. They need TVs in their rooms, reggae classes, rides on banana boats - literally inflated bananas pulled along behind speedboats - and the usual sailing, water and jet skiing, paragliding and scuba diving to a much-degraded coral reef. They need jetties and raked beaches, because every day the sea brings up an embarrassment of garbage. They need a giant swimming pool and at least one hot tub. The staff must be smiling, photogenic and able to explain the one dish at every meal that is said to be Jamaican. The tourists don't need to know that the fish they are fed, here at the edge of the Caribbean Sea, are Chinese tilapia, or that the tasteless cantaloupe comes from farms bigger than countries. And they don't care to know what the people serving them have lost to create a tropical paradise – namely; their fishing beaches, their communities, their independence.


I have given up on our own governments, even our own people, because we in the Caribbean have swallowed the message whole: Tourism is our savoir. We march lock-step to take real places and make them theme-park attractions. I want to speak now to the visitors - to the 40 million Americans who travel abroad, I want to ask them: Is this really what you want? If the answer is yes, please build it within your own borders. Send us only the travelers, the ones who leave home for reasons beyond just wanting to be warm. They should be willing to risk a few mosquito bites and sea-urchin spines to go crabbing at the edge of a swamp, to swim in gin-clear water, or to nap through a thunderstorm.


Diana McCaulay is chief executive officer of the Jamaica Environment Trust and author of the novel "Dog-Heart.”






Edited by Marty (02/08/11 04:24 PM)

Top
#399712 - 02/07/11 04:22 PM Re: The cost of tourism [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
response from another friend....

Food for thought? positively depressing I would say. And yes that is the direction we are rushing headlong into. A government dazzled by a few dollars today, a Department of Environment which could not care less, a Tourism Ministry that is way off track,and a largely apathetic population.

Small wonder the voices of the few don't get heard.

One day someone will look back at this and say "I told you so"

Top
#399715 - 02/07/11 04:37 PM Re: The cost of tourism [Re: Marty]
Mike Campbell Offline
I believe the population is becoming less apathetic as the rift between what the people need/want and what the government needs/wants widens. Cruise tourism is an example. If I understand the setup the public sector (government) benefits far more than the private sector (population in general). This is also true with petroleum.
This is the "reason" the government adopts unpopular policies, always revenue related and usually short sighted.


Edited by Mike Campbell (02/07/11 04:39 PM)

Top

Links
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!


Things to do

News
Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
BelizeNews.com
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Amandala
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker
Chronicles

PLUS TV
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
SanPedroScoop
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

Blogs
San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
Tacogirl
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
December
S M T W T F S
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Who's Online
2 registered (Marty, 1 invisible), 35 Guests and 9 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,672 Registered Members
44 Forums
64,024 Topics
462,217 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 07:16 PM




AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.