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What is Tourism?

Although many of us have been "tourists" at some point in our lives, defining what tourism actually is can be difficult. Tourism is the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business or other purposes.
The tourism industry can be divided into FIVE different sectors:
  • Accommodation
  • Food and Beverage Services
  • Recreation and Entertainment
  • Transportation
  • Travel Services

Who is a Tourist?

A tourist is a person that travels away from home for leisure, business or other purposes for longer than a day (24 hours) but less than a year.

What are the Types of Tourism?

  1. Business Tourism - travels to another country for the purpose of conducting business or the world of work. eg. Traveling to Japan for a business conference.

  2. Education Tourism - travels to attend an educational institution (school or university) in another country or region. eg. Going to Jamaica to study medicine at the UWI Mona Campus.

  3. Health or Medical Tourism - travel because they want to visit a holiday spa, or because they need medical treatment that is only available in another country. eg. Many women travel to South America for plastic surgery.

  4. Eco-Tourism - these are people who travel to other countries to experience nature. eg. Traveling to Kenya for an African safari tour.

  5. Leisure Tourism - are people who travel because they want to rest, relax and have a break from the usual routines of their lives. eg. Going on a cruise ship that makes various stops along the Caribbean.

  6. Cultural Tourism - want to experience different cultures. eg. Flying from London to Trinidad to experience Carnival.

  7. Sport Tourism - traveling to participate or to spectate in various sporting activities. eg. World Cup, Olympics, CARIFTA Games, etc.

Why is Tourism important to the Caribbean?

“Tourism is vital to the entire Caribbean region, contributing an estimated 14.2 percent of the region's Gross Domestic Product in 2011, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. A survey undertaken by the Oxford Economic organization in 2010 found that tourism played a larger role in the Caribbean economy than it did in any of the world's other equivalent areas. Yet the majority of this income -- perhaps as high as 80 cents in every dollar -- "leaks out" of the Caribbean.” – USA Today (2011)

Advantages & Disadvantages of Tourism:

* Creates Employment – the labor is intensive, few administrative positions and little upward mobility.

  • Development of Infrastructure - development of roads, water, electricity, telecom but not necessarily local priorities.

  • Cultural Preservation - economic incentives to preserve food, fashion, festivals and physical history.

  • Environmental Protection - economic incentives to preserve nature, wildlife and urban cleanliness.

  • Earn Foreign Exchange - generates resources to import food, pharmaceuticals, technology, consumer goods.

  • Development of Health Care Services – though these services aren't always available to local people.

  • Cultural Destruction - modernization, freezes culture as performers, loss: language, religion, rituals and material culture.

  • Environmental Destruction - cruise ships have a huge negative impact on the natural environment. eg. coral reef destruction.

  • Marginal Employment - low skill, low wage, menial services, prostitution, drug trade, gambling, hustlers. Furthermore, no job security.

  • Illegal and/or Destructive Economic Activities - markets for drugs, endangered species, etc.

  • Elite Land Ownership – local people relocated and agriculture eliminated/reduced.

  • Diverted and Concentrated Development - airport, roads, water, electricity to tourist destinations, development not accessible to locals.

What can Tourists do to preserve the Host country?

  • Act to support cultural diversity.
  • Engage in activities that add value to the community.
  • Don’t do activities that deteriorate the environment.
  • Don’t engage in illegal activities.
  • Patronize locally (community) owned enterprises.

What can the Host country do to Minimize the Negative impacts of Tourism?

  • Support the traditional cultural legacy.
  • Training and education in local culture, history, natural science, etc.
  • Select development and activities that draw from local traditions and add value to the community.
  • Don’t promote activities that deteriorate the environment.
  • Don’t engage in illegal activities.
  • Adopt a program to disperse the benefits.
  • Patronize locally produced products and locally (community) owned enterprises.
  • Make business and foreign exchange transactions transparent and efficient.

Related Videos:

Introduction to Tourism

Caribbean Crime Affecting Tourism

Trinidad & Tobago Official Travel Video


The Ministry of Tourism of Trinidad & Tobago

The Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Development Company Limited

Caribbean Tourism Organization