Updated: Aug 27, 2018
A very important point to remember when travelling abroad is that your currency is highly prized and can be the best way to support the local economy, providing it goes to the right people. Jamaica is an expensive country to live in by any stretch of the imagination and foreign currency is the prize the locals are after. You may look at the price of your All Inclusive package and think that it makes sense but who is that really benefiting? The foreign company who own the resort are not giving it all back to the economy of Jamaica, the local staff are paid very little and that is me being generous with my words. By staying on the All Inclusive resort, you are not getting to see the real country. Yes your food and drink maybe included in the price of your flight and hotel room although have you really travelled so far to stay on a resort that could resemble any resort in the world? Have you really travelled to Jamaica to eat international food and drink alcohol from the ‘top shelf’? Sadly the majority of the money you pay for your All Inclusive stay, ends up in the hands of the few.
When Jamaica was a niche destination, Negril was still a little known fishing village, Montego Bay was the place to be seen and Port Antonio the private hang out of the movie stars, the impact of tourism was at a low, sustainable level. With the introduction of the All Inclusive resorts came a strain on the little islands natural resources. A huge demand for water and disposal of wastewater has a huge impact on the environment. It is not possible for this little island to service the high demand for food at these huge resorts but instead of cutting back on the amount of rooms they are building, they decide to import goods instead which does nothing to help the local economy.
As a visitor, wouldn’t you get so much more out of your trip if you stayed at a locally owned hotel, ate locally grown food, drank the home brewed tipple at locally owned bars and bought locally crafted souvenirs? That way, you can say that you actually had a taste of the real Jamaica and not just sampled the imports from the country you have just left!
Why not head to the resort areas of Port Antonio, Kingston & St Andrew and the South Coast to get a feel for the country you are visiting? You can raft down the Rio Grande that Errol Flynn made famous, climb Reach Falls, fish for Marlin off the East Coast, climb the highest peak in the Caribbean and visit Port Royal, once known as the wickedest city in the world! Visit the volcanic sand beaches of the south coast and take in the amazing views around Lovers Leap and drive through the Santa Cruz mountains. Visit a maroon town and discover the interior of this beautiful island unseen by the majority of tourists.
With the government being very short sighted and the average tourist not really being aware of the impact their two week trip is having on the island, it is little wonder it is suffering environmentally. Please do whatever you can whilst there to preserve this beauty of a place.
Minimise your water and electricity usage, re-use your towels, turn off your AC when not required. If you stayed locally, you would probably benefit from a cool sea breeze and not have a need for such a wasteful use of electricity. Dispose of garbage properly, reduce your use of plastics by refilling your bottles, buy local, eat local, drink local. You can go back to your top shelf liquor when you go back home, you can go back to your branded goods from your own supermarket but whilst in Jamaica, give them a chance of survival. Spend your money with the people you see and not the big faceless companies, please!