Picking up the tourism thread.... like most global folks, some folks of the isles have little input or little opportunities to put forward their own philosophies as to their expected outcome or outcomes of tourism with its adequacies and at times failings in its presentation of their ‘own worlds’. So, folks have to accept whatever is set before them – and sadly, many suffer in silence with inner deep feelings of being ‘silenced, voiceless’ and thus, relying on memories of old, in the face of ‘tourism change ideologies’.
From a socio-psychological perspective, what raise concerns for me with regard to Caribbean tourism, is the need or omission of its cultural sensitivity or sensitivities, the fact that the islanders’ tourist sellers of the isles, must not be dismissive of the isles slavery past, and that past has far reaching consequences of sensitivities even to this day on a national or global scale. Due to its lamentational history of atrocities, the set laws of the isles must be upheld without lapse for the ultimate long-term safeguarding, with respect first and foremost the interests of its peoples, lands, and resources, from pollution to colour prejudices or allowing land, sea or folks to become ‘victims’ of tourism. Thus, if tourism mean dollars, how bad a dollar is a bad tourism dollar? In terms of integrity, who is responsible for restricting the preservation of the isles environment? Who have removed the ‘exclusivity’ factor from the isles tourism and replaced it with ‘inclusivity’ whereby anything goes?
Having visited some different countries, being a tourist conjures visionary imagery of my own set agenda: self-enjoyment being in a new land, showing respect to the local people, their culture, their cultural, sacred spiritual beliefs, their food, exploration of the natural resources of the land, all this during at times a restricted duration of holiday-days and may be a plan of a return journey, if and when possible!
So, Is tourism the way forward for the isles, from my personal perspective, accountability for decisions lies in the hands of the tourist sellers. I am aware, on the whole, the isles are intermittently subjected to hostile, weather conditions in the form of hurricanes, which meets the realistic expectations that there will be loss of crops, forestry, homes even folk’s lives. Thus because of these unforeseen expectations, most folks are quick to opt for the ‘soft option’ of tourism, basing their decisions on ‘workable models’ of tourism or culture hospitality, for folks that venture on the isles from aeroplanes, cruise ships, yachts etc. Professionally, experience of culture exposure may not necessarily come from parentage or friends or via word of mouth! So, is tourism the answer, is it accelerating the isles’ economy? Has tourism shifted the isles from the ‘bottom’ of the economical racial ladder? Is tourism just ‘mans’ alternative pathway for some folks continual display ‘slavish’ characteristics traits, of grinning, touching hands, dancing, networking with clinging affinity to European surnames yet dismissive of a slavery past!
The isles, should not have a new ‘scarred’ generations of tourism, but generations bearing some similarities to the old model generations with the focus on communal importance of pride, with knowledge of our once hundredweights export of nutmegs, bananas, arrowroot, mace, cloves, cotton wool, coconuts, lime juice, cocoa beans. Thus the new generation, should not be allowed to view the concept of ‘tourism’ as the isles ‘new change’ of export and import.
Lastly, my slave ancestral past was championed out of my colonial school lessons, the impact of tourism most not be championed out of folks reach, there is now a cry for the restriction of environmental resources in terms of preservation, for isles once battered by dawn to dusk muscavado slavery, should not be battered from dawn to dusk by tourism!