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Thoughts on Tourism

*This post is a cross-post from a response I posted in the Zimbabwe Cafe (in the groups section of PulseWire). I thought I would post my thoughts here in my journal so I could open the conversation up to others that I am connected to that may not be in that group. Please share your thoughts!! As always, Much Peace- Sharese

After living in a country whose main source of income was from tourism (Jamaica) I can tell you that tourism brings a lot of evil along with money. There is much issue with the commoditization of people on multiple levels, the least of which is that very little money generated by tourism is seen by the country the resorts are in (as most resorts are not owned by country nationals) and even less is seen by the people who actually do the work in said resorts. The worst of which is human trafficing and forced sex work. (I say least and worst on my personal scale- others may differ. Regardless, both are terrible and there are many more problems that tourism brings than just these two).

I think that learning about other cultures and promoting your own culture is a beautiful thing- if done right. Unfortunately the learning and living is consistently overshadowed by the almighty dollar. And the true nature of the country is destroyed (literally) in order to build some version of a white person's dream of what "exotic" Southern Africa should look like (you can see this all over the Caribbean).

I am not trying to be a debbie-downer, but I think when we talk about building tourism it is a tricky subject and should not be looked at lightly. With the beautiful beaches people will also shift their gaze to the people and often tourists do not see the people as humans like themselvse but instead see them as an attraction- like the beach itself (check out "I live in a Place" posted on my own journal for a personal feeling of this example) and this, in my opinion is unacceptable.

All of these issues need to be in the discussion of tourism development. Unfortunately up until now they are not. I hope that if Mozambique does decide to go the tourist route it does not turn into a neo-colonial settlement as so many other areas whose main income generation is tourism.

Comments

Starland's picture

Thanks Sharese

Are you back in the States now? I hope you are well.

I had not ever given much consideration to tourism. Now this is the second time in two days that the subject of tourism and particularly human/child trafficking. Thanks so much for this awareness once again. I will look deeper into the issues around tourism.

hugs
K-lee

K-lee Starland, Ph.D.

Sharese's picture

I am back :)

I have been back just under two months. And it has been a WHIRLWIND. I am still trying to find a job (this economy is hurting me!) and I am taking classes. I got a new apt and it is very empty and doesn't have internet access so I feel a bit disconnected. I am going to try to get some post going here soon though- and of course re-join the amazing communities!!!

How are you?? What projects are you working on?

In Peace and Love,

Sharese

Starland's picture

Glad you are back!

Hi Sharese

So very good to hear from you. I am sorry you are having trouble finding a job. I know it's tough. I hold a good thought for you.

I have been doing a little work with the US govt to get the new health care benefits out to the public especially through this little community health clinic I founded. Looks like I may be working closer at a later date with HHS to do some more work related to community heath care clinics. Well, who knows. I'll just have to wait and see.

Take care of you and please keep in touch.

Love
K-lee

K-lee Starland, Ph.D.

Farona's picture

Thank you for writing this

Thank you for writing this beautiful post. You really highlighted some very important albeit neglected issues regarding the tourism sector. Often countries heavily depended on tourism income find themselves at the crossroads of protecting local culture and serving the needs of tourists at the same time.

Hardly, visiting tourist bother to understand the issues ‘beneath the beautiful beaches’.

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