Tourism is Not a Sustainable
Tourism is Not a Sustainable sector for Jamaica. This fact was made remarkable clear during this pandemic when we were forced to open our borders just to ensure our economy doesn’t completely collapse. Our over-dependence on tourism leaves us as a sovereign nation weak and vulnerable.
This pandemic is just one factor that exposes why relying on tourism for Jamaica’s development is not wise and there are many other factors. For instance in 2018 according to Statista.com 1.6 million Americans came to Jamaica, higher than any other nation. That means if Jamaica should ever anger America it can warn or downright stop its citizens from coming to Jamaica. This is becoming a very likely possibility each day that goes by, with Jamaica cozying up to China, while tensions are rising between America and China, this scenario can become a reality.
Crime and violence are other factors that can negatively hurt the Jamaican Tourism industry. As we know, Montego Bay is one of the biggest tourism hot spots in the Caribbean, it’s also the hot spot for some of Jamaica’s most notorious criminals. With the increase in violence and lawlessness in the city, this could be a reason for dissuading tourists from Jamaica. God forbid, but can you imagine if multiple tourists start getting rob and killed by criminals and this story gets picked up and run by the likes of CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Fox News among others?! This negative attention could sink our tourism sector.
Now, with all that said I’m not saying we should just overnight stop doing tourism. No that would be foolish. However, we should build up our nation to be self-sustainable. We should at least be able to meet our most basic needs as a country without any external contribution from any other sovereign state. Therefore we should be able to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, solve our information technology problems. To achieve this we should invest revenue receive from tourism into programs like farming, education, and manufacturing. Every country that wants to be self-sustainable must invest in these three areas.
Also since Jamaica and China relationship is becoming extremely necessary for our infrastructure development. Why aren’t we trying to lure more Chinese tourists to our island? According to statistics from the China National Tourism Administration, Chinese tourists traveled overseas on 131 million occasions in 2017, an increase of 7.0% from the previous year. That’s a huge number, the Jamaica tourist board, and its stakeholders should be aggressively trying to increase the number of Chinese tourists that comes to the island, we should at least have Chinese tourist rival the likes of the U.S tourist numbers. This way we are not too dependent on any one country for tourists. This gives Jamaica a more resilient Tourism Industry not relying on any one country. Therefore America cannot bully us if issues between it and China should ever get worse.
Tourism has been Jamaica’s bread and butter for decades now. So I’m not saying abandon it but we should diversify our economy. So we are never too dependent on any one sector. We can continue to grow our tourism industry but we should never be too reliant on it. COVID 19 has made it very clear that our over-reliance on tourism is detrimental to our well being and economy. We can’t close our borders during a global pandemic, due to our economy’s complete reliance on tourism. We must risk catching COVID 19, so we don’t completely ruin our economy. That’s Jamaica’s current fate due to its complete dependence on tourism.