nature of tourism in the Caribbean

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Pattullo (1996) notes that the tourist industry has seen several changes when studying the nature of travel in the Caribbean. The author focuses in particular on the expansion of heritage tourism and how it affects the economy. In an effort to comprehend the changes in the sector, the author also investigates how tourism affects people and the natural world. The expansion of ecotourism and sex tourism in the Caribbean is a significant factor that is taken into account in the book. The book demonstrates how tourism has impacted Caribbean society both favorably and unfavorably. The exploitation of the region's resources is likely to generate adverse effects in the future of the Caribbean tourism industry.

The exponential growth of tourism in a destination region can contribute substantially to the socioeconomic development of that region. Nevertheless, when the rapid growth becomes less managed, the result can be unsustainable impacts and outcomes at the site and destination level. The creation and maintenance of an effective policy framework in terms of planning, developing, operating, and marketing of sustainable destinations and sites are amongst the biggest challenges of the contemporary tourism industries. Key indicators of sustainable tourism destinations include sustainable management plans, compliance with national and international standards, and periodic updates of management-personnel training, measurements of visitor satisfaction, promotional materials, and interpretation facilities.

The book has important findings that assist in understanding the anthropological aspect of tourism. It explains the numerous elements and stakeholders that should be examined in the creation and understanding of tourism within a respective area. Destination areas benefit from infrastructural development, such as roads and communication networks. According to the International Labor Organization, ethno-tourism enhances the capacity of communities to start income-generating activities. Development of heritage tourism has caused changes in the social, cultural and economic dynamics to accommodate this new venture. Ethno-tourism helps in the preservation of cultures due to the incentives and benefits that the host communities realize. Preservation of culture in the area reflects the high need by the residents and authorities to promote heritage and cultural tourism (Collectif, 2009).

Tourism is not defined in simple terms. Societies have their traditions while at the same time agree to values and practices from outside. It is for this reason that cultures are believed to 'stage authenticity' (Knudsen & Waade, 2012). Cultural authenticity is the examination of general perspective of values and beliefs that shows the particulars of our everyday life. It is thus appropriate to understand when the staging of authenticity is disparaging or helpful. Tourism is known to have great influence on the cultural changes. Cultural authenticity is a fad, but has few elements that appear to reflect the future of tourism. Tourism can be said to be a form of art. Increased mobility, globalization, and preservation of culture have greatly encouraged people to take cultural and heritage tourism. The consumers have also changed their needs.

Moreover, the 'authenticity aimed tourism' has turned to be a controversial matter. Tourists travelling to different parts of the world meet cultures that are different from their local culture. The need for authenticity within the industry has greatly contributed to the creation of museums and sites that give foreign reality (Zhu, 2012). Every tourist desires a unique and great experience, apparently, the recreation of sites or events denies the original features and characteristics. As such, one can argue the sites are just a mere simulation of the actual event or site. To effectively examine the concept of authenticity in tourism, it is appropriate to explore the characteristics of the modern tourist in comparison to postmodern tourist. Some scholars explain tourism in the context of an enterprise for the rich people. Another group explains tourism as a ritual in the search for authenticity. In the contemporary society, there increased travels for heritage and adventure tourism. As such, the contest is to explain whether tourism is a simulation or just the search for reality. Ideally, the motivation for tourists is multidimensional. Some visit places to experience the true authenticity in the environment (Zhu, 2012).

Some of the challenges affecting the tourism industry include poor infrastructure developments, high tax regimes, poor communication networks, and natural resources. In some areas, especially low developed regions, poor expertise on the side of service providers may limit the potential growth of the industry and hence resulting in poor quality of services. The challenges can be addressed through deliberate investment on infrastructure by the government, curriculum development on the hospitality industry, enhanced security and proper marketing of these tourist destinations (Bennett & Strydom, 2006). Stakeholders must invest in the infrastructure development, beef up security, quality services and offer good prices. The move would allow the tourists to realize the value of their money and recommend people to visit as part of goodwill. Moreover, there is a great need to use appropriate strategies that will consider legal, cultural and social significance. Such an approach will help in the determination of tourism potential and evaluate the ability to meet the increased visitation.

Rapid economic development can cause the destruction of cultural assets, thus affecting the cultural landscape of the destination areas. Ethno-tourism can contribute to the loss or alterations to culture as seen in the Caribbean destinations. Both the tourists and hosts gain experiences and learn from one another. The indigenous communities encounter new and different culture that challenges the traditional norms, values, and practices. The move contributes to the loss of culture. That may make it difficult to engage in ethno-tourism. Unfortunately, tourists have an edge over the indigenous communities since they have nothing to lose. Hitchcock (1999) observes that there are incidences where tourists the destinations into modern facilities as they have the resources. Postmodernism in the tourism sector generates the usual politics of exploitation and class relations. It is thus appropriate to examine the effects of tourism on cultural change. Innovation in the industry has led to the destruction of some cultures and heritage.

Further, based on the socioeconomic status, tourists can easily exploit the indigenous groups and the natural environment. A recent study by the World Bank shows the host communities get exposure to new forms and level of consumerism. Often, the communities utilize their natural resources to make wares for sale to the tourists. In other instances, tourists exploit the hosts without offering compensation. Exploitation means that the communities do not realize full benefits, yet they are exposed to various vulnerabilities (Pattullo, 1996).

Another negative effect that has been reported in Caribbean destinations and others around the world is the spread of diseases among the indigenous communities. The group has limited knowledge and medication to treat such diseases. The challenge arising from diseases may not be evident in the short-term, but occur in the long run. We also need to recognize that this form of tourism is unpredictable as it is widely dependent on the interests of the visitors. As such, the hosts may lack regular incomes arising from the travels. The majority of operators lacks essential skills to ensure they take full advantage of tourism spending. Changes in the labor market, changes in community structure and immigration of the workforce are other notable social impacts of ethanol-tourism, according to Pattullo (1996).

Tourism is a complex process involving the interconnections of many parts, which include visitors and their movements, as well as the destination and its host community. There is a close relationship a tourist destinations, tourist products, and activities that motivate tourists to travel. All these interconnections represent a life cycle reflected in several tourism theories. As such, destinations should develop themselves through considering the difference in their build-up factors and thus develop their own characteristics leading to sustainable development. Tourism development in the Caribbean is a clear example that supports the integration of the theories involved.

Life cycle model is a very important model for the development of destinations. According to Butler, the history of resorts reveals similarities that are considerable to the S-shaped product life cycle. As resorts undergo successive stages, the numbers of visitors change successively through the following stages: exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, and rejuvenation or decline, the latter is dependent on the availability of untapped resources. The success of the life cycle model comes from its incorporation of several other ideas and concepts. Tourism is a multifaceted process that involves multiple components and actors. As such, he asserts that there is no one particular model that can best suit the needs and expectations in all tourism destinations. The changes witnessed in the industry require the formulation of another theory that is inclusive to explain the evolution in tourism.

The future of Caribbean tourism lies on investment in entertainment and aspects that mirror the western lifestyle. Medical and business tourism are areas that will experience great interest in the future. To remain competitive, the operators in the area have to drift from the traditional tourism elements. The goal is to enhance competitiveness and sustainability of tourism. That said, it is necessary to invest in heritage tourism (Pattullo, 1996).

In conclusion, the analysis generates important information that can assist in making the necessary adjustments in the future of Caribbean tourism. It is hard to end ethno-tourism just because it has adverse effects on the society. The most important thing is to strike a balance between the benefits and disadvantages. Every tourist desires a unique and great experience; apparently, modification of local cultures tourists denies the original features and characteristics. Ideally, the motivation for visitors is multidimensional. Some visit places to experience the real authenticity in the environment. Further, tourists need to exercise caution and engage in sustainable initiatives that will not ruin the culture and resources of indigenous communities. It is hoped that ethno-tourism may educate the public the importance of heritage conservation and help maintain the cultural heritage within a tourism destination.


Bennett, J. A., & Strydom, J. W., 2006. Introduction to travel and tourism marketing. Cape Town: Juta.

Collectif. (2015). The wider benefits of investment in cultural heritage Case studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Strasbourg, Council of Europe.

Knudsen, B.T. & Waade, A.M. eds., 2010. Re-investing authenticity: tourism, place and emotions. Channel View Publications.

Hitchcock, M., King, V. T., & Parnwell, M. J., 2009. Tourism in Southeast Asia: challenges and new directions. Copenhagen, NIAS.

Pattullo, P. (1996). Last resorts: The cost of tourism in the Caribbean. Kingston: Ian Randle.

Zhu, Y., 2012. Performing heritage: Rethinking authenticity in tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(3), pp.1495-1513.

March 17, 2023

World Education



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