The Tourism Industry with Regard to the Economic Development of the Local Population in the Region



Ian Strachan provides a powerful argument against the exploitation or neglect of the local population in the tourism industry of the Caribbean Islands. Effective advertising about genuine tourist attractions can naturally attract people to travel to destinations of their liking. It is extremely practical or prudent for governments and other agencies to promote a place attractive to visitors. The author states that even though tourism is a big industry, it has developed, to a large extent, at the cost of the local population. In Strachan’s words, “however distant this imagined, heavily promoted, and staged Eden may be from the everyday experience of the majority of the Caribbeans, it is a fantasy that the regions’ nations encourage their citizenry to maintain for the benefit of tourists” (Strachan, 2002). The economy of the Caribbean nations had been agricultural during the colonial period. Even after independence, agriculture still forms a major part of the GDP, but the tourism industry is now beginning to have a significant share. The brochures promoting tourism in the region provides a rosy picture of beaches, luxury hotels, and excellent service (mainly through local employees). Strachan states that this tourism industry is mainly located along the coastline (beaches) and has not made many inroads into the interiors where most of the population seeks out a living. One notable feature of the tourism industry is that it is an extension of the plantation (agriculture) industry that dominates the economy of these island nations. The governments in many of the Caribbean nations now promote tourism and have many concessions and facilities provided for investors in this sector. But the end result according to Strachan is that tourism “reinforced the social superiority of whites, encouraged black subordination and servility, and fed white prejudice and narcissism” (Strachan, 2002, p. 10). It will be pertinent to define two terms related to tourism here. One is tourism itself and the other is the definition of the tourism industry. Elliot defines tourism as “the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes” (Elliott, 1997, p. 21).&nbsp. &nbsp.