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Tourism Futures: The Challenge of Sustainability

Autor:   •  January 16, 2018  •  2,055 Words (9 Pages)  •  133 Views

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Contrastingly, the influence of tourists on Jamaican can be culturally beneficial in ‘the renewed attention to history and heritage’, in the ’restoration and maintenance of historic buildings’. For example, the opening of The Seville Great House and Heritage Park in 1994, ‘an area of rich varied history’ is valued for both tourists and locals (Baver and Lynch, 2006, p.42). Resorts such as sandals also attempt to limit their cultural impact by having’ locally sensitive economic and cultural development initiatives’ (Kingsbury, 2006, P112) Moreover, many cultural practices remain untouched by tourists, and have not yet been reduced to a T-shirt, implying that the tourists influence does not impact all elements of Jamaican life (Baver and Lynch, 2006, P.42).

The term sustainability itself is ‘problematic’ as it is unclear ‘what is to be sustained and for whose benefit’ (Hibbert, Thaver and Hutchinson, 2012, P.11). To achieve sustainable tourism in Jamaica; economic, social, cultural and environmental interests should be balanced, despite clashes of interests. Currently, however, due to Jamaica’s economic dependency on tourism, there are few measures imposed by the government on the environment, to avoid ‘additional constraints on the sector’ (Ahmed, Chung and Cesar, 2004, P.196). To achieve sustainability, hoteliers need to see the economic benefits for supporting environmental initiatives, and recognise ‘the relationship between the impact they cause’ and tourists visiting in the future (Ahmed, Chong and Cesar, 2005, P.202). There are already attempts towards environmental sustainability in Jamaica, including environmental groups and initiatives like The National Environment and Planning Agency; this extensive management across the coastline helps the major coastal towns (Edwards, 2009). A similar scheme called EAST, aims to raise awareness amongst workers of environmentally friendly practices in hotels, along with guidance on water and energy use (Cooper and Waheb, 2005). Furthermore, some Jamaicans are involved in ecotourism, such as Top of Jamaica Blue Mountain Tours, which provides guides and cabins in an environmentally friendly way (Hibbert, Thaver and Hutchinson, 2012). Jamaica has developed a ‘Master plan’ (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2002), in an attempt to make tourism sustainable, by offering ‘a diversity of accommodation and visitor experience’ (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2002, P.6). Targets such as increasing employment in tourism from 75,000 to 130,000 were set (Kingsbury, 2006). The plan recognised the safeguarding of the environment, and encouraged growth to be inclusive for communities, benefiting the country as a whole.

Jamaica’s master plan is a promising start towards sustainability, but was limited from 2000 to 2010. More long-term planning is needed to address problems such as the low minimum wage, poverty, cultural commodification and environmental problems. Arguably this could be achieved, by attracting more tourists from other areas of the world, at all times of the year, to counteract the seasonal nature of the industry. Furthermore, Jamaica should try to focus less on all-inclusive concepts of tourism, and diversify their tourism through self-catering hotels and eco-friendly experiences to encourage spending within the local economy. Furthermore, the industry should include all aspects of the community in a positive way, to prevent any hostility or crime towards tourists. This could be done by increasing workers minimum wage, which may increase the overall cost of tourists’ holiday, but will encourage sustainable development in Jamaica.

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Bibliography:

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Thame, C.

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