3 May 2022


Causes and Effects of Tourism on the Economy of Jamaica and the Local Population

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Being an island, Jamaica is prone to tourists who frequently visit the country throughout the year. As developing country, its economy is dependent on many sectors for its growth one of them being the tourism industry. Over the past two decades, Jamaica growth in the economy has influenced the rate of tourism in the country ( McKee & Chase, 2003) . Local communities have also contributed towards the expansion of this industry through cultural norms and practices that are of interest to foreigners. As a developing country, their economy is characterized by changes that enhance positive as well as adverse effects on the economy as result of tourism. The research paper is a cohesive description of how tourism has impacted the economy of Jamaica and its population as a whole.

Since independence, Jamaica has been in the frontline to build resorts and highly ranked hotels to improve on hospitality. That was after discovering the high turnover of tourists that visit the country every year. Both international and domestic tourists flock to Jamaica as a result of the quality and easily affordable services offered at the hotels. As a result, foreign exchange is now major income to the residents of Jamaica.The government records over 40% gross revenue from tourism every year ( Dunn, 2002) . That in return has led to the rise of national as well as a domestic gross product. A stable economy is built up by the money invested by foreigners in the country. A good number of tourists who visit Jamaica explore the business opportunity and end up investing their money wisely. That has contributed towards the growth of the economy and improving the tourism sector for greener pastures in future. 

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Contrary to the massive earnings gained from foreign the exchange, the population in the local communities acting as the host has been affected negatively. Well-developed countries classified as the first world tend to benefit most from tourism. However, developing nations are highly in need of the advantages compared to countries with a stable economy. These advantages include employment, and real living standards ( Sinclair-Maragh, 2014) . The results, in this case, are negative since Jamaica experiences a high cost of tourism that is beyond its foreign earnings. Reason being, a bigger percentage of the revenue gained from the tourism industry is transferred from the Jamaica to cater for importations made by the government. The income expected to benefit the community used to maintain the stability of the country rather than to develop the local population. 

The structure of the universe favors the tourism sector due to the diversity of tourist attraction sites with both living and non-living things. Every country has unique things that make tourism a significant activity in the economy ( Pattullo, 2005) . Jamaica being an island, numerous features attract people locally and internationally. The sequential movement of tourists has had a positive impact on the infrastructure of the country. Transport has improved as well as a settlement due to the foreigners who spend their long holidays along the Jamaica coastline. Airlines and marine movements are the commonly affected areas which receive considerable support from the government so as to enhance efficiency in the tourism sector. Changes in infrastructure have raised the number of tourists who visit Jamaica hence increasing the foreign income. The local host also enjoys the good roads when conducting their regular business away from tourism. 

From the other side of the coin, tourism despite being an ambassador of good infrastructure has adverse effects on the economy and residents of Jamaica. People enjoy the provision of easier means to move from point A to B forgetting that the government has spent a lot of money on the development. A significant amount of money generated from tourism in Jamaica is allocated to building resorts, harbors and constructing highways instead of solving the pressing issues of health and education in the country. The infrastructure aims at benefiting visitors who are interested in accessing the historical and attraction sites and not to make the life of local citizens simpler ( Williams& Deslandes, 2008) . In that case, Jamaicans are left to struggle with poverty instead of being the beneficiaries of the foreign income. The government concentrates more on modernizing global properties like the airlines and harbors rather than building schools and modern hospitals for their citizens. 

Jamaica exercises tourism as a major sector of the economy hence the government earns a lot of revenue from the industry. Tax on departure, foreign income, and salaries gained from jobs created through tourism boosts government revenues. In Jamaica, approximately 7% of the employments fall under the tourism category. Business people are also taking advantage of the chance by selling their local commodities to the foreigners. Though the level of literacy in Jamaica is low compared to other developing countries, tourism has created jobs for both the learned and illiterate people who cannot get professional jobs ( Jayawardena & Ramajeesingh, 2003) . Innovations have also been present due to the diversity of people who visit the country. Technology has advanced improving their cultural status more so when it comes to music. People within the local communities have upgraded their living standards. Therefore, tourism has influenced people’s way of living within the host communities giving them a new lifestyle. There has been an exchange of ideas on how to develop economically make money out of the natural resources available in the country. 

Increased revenues and numerous slots for employment are characterized by enclave tourism which negatively affects the economy. Since Jamaica is a developing country, tourists are receiving some guidelines on how, where and when to spend their money when visiting the country ( Edwards, 2009) . Most of them make use of the tourist packages provided by the big hotels and resorts during the tour. As a result, local communities hardly benefit from money exchange since the visitors are supplied with whatever commodity they need from outside. Another effect experienced due increased employment is exaggerated prices of goods. When the living standards rise, the cost of living also shoots upwards making low-income earners to struggle. Those who are considered as less fortunate have no option but to drown in the lake of poverty since they cannot afford to purchase basic commodities like food and clothing. Tourists set a high living cost since people believe they have money to spend during their holiday season forgetting that residents are also affected by the results.

The issue of employment in Jamaica will remain to be a bother to the national security since tourism creates seasonal job opportunities. Many people rely on the timely vacations of foreign tourists which take about five months in the whole year. They spend the remaining seven months without a job a status that also affects local businesses in the country( Edwards, 2009) . Despite numerous advantages, tourism has on the economy of Jamaica including infrastructure, increased GNP/GDP and high rate of employment; the country is suffering from economic dependence. That means Jamaica is looking for tourism to sustain its daily operations and develop economically. If tourism were to end today, the government would lose a significant portion of its revenues crippling its ability to accomplish national projects. Ultimately, as tourism impacts the Jamaican economy, the government should formulate strategies on how to support other economic sectors to curb the risk of collapsed tourism in future.


Dunn, L. L. (2002).  People and Tourism: Issues and attitudes in the Jamaican hospitality industry . Arawak Publications.

Edwards, P. E. (2009). Sustainable financing for the ocean and coastal management in Jamaica: The potential for revenues from tourist user fees. Marine Policy 33 (2), 376-385.

Jayawardena, C., & Ramajeesingh, D. (2003). The performance of tourism analysis: a Caribbean perspective. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 15 (3), 176-179.

McKee, D. L., & Chase, G. L. (2003). The economic impact of cruise tourism on Jamaica.  Journal of Tourism Studies 14 (2), 16.

Pattullo, P. (2005).  Last resorts: The cost of tourism in the Caribbean . NYU Press.

Sinclair-Maragh, G. M. (2014). Resort-based or resource-based tourism? A case study of Jamaica.  Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies 4 (2), 1-12.

Williams, D. A., & Deslandes, D. (2008). The motivation for service sector foreign direct investments in emerging economies: insights from the tourism industry in Jamaica. The Round Table 97 (396), 419-437.

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