Tourism has played a vital role in the economic development of Jamaica. Its primary advantage is that it contributes to the fulfillment of significant societal growth and expansion. The tourism industry focuses on concepts such as infrastructural development, expansion and the development of new businesses, especially in the resort areas of the island. Capital and investment, to name a few, are the main aims for this industry. It is also the systematic way of providing accommodations for tourist and linkages between subsectors. With the creation of more infrastructures, jobs become available; hence changing the statistics of the unemployment ratio. Local communities are beneficiaries as they create their ways and means of contributing to the economic development through community tourism and other businesses that generate income from tourist spending. Jamaica has experienced significant levels of economical maturity as it relates to the intensity of the tourism industry, as a top income earner for the government resulting in increased growth and development, as the country continues to experience this level growth, then more money will be invested into the economy.
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TOURISM IN JAMAICA
Economic impact of tourism on local communities in Jamaica
"Tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing industries." It is, one of Jamaica's top earners of revenue, since the 1980s. Presently it contributes 47 % to Gross Domestic Product. (Organization for economic Co-corporation and development, 2008) In Jamaica today, tourism has grown significantly, having great impacts on the country's natural resources and development. Jamaica's tourism industry is an income generator; that mainly focuses on the "coastal shores", of the northern western areas of the island. However, communities have the ability to improve their standard of living to an extent, due to the economic tourism development and socio-cultural improvement of the Jamaican society.
According to (Mullings, 2010), "It is always pointed out that tourism is one of the top three foreign exchange earners for the country and a major employer." Foreign exchange is a priority that is essential to the growth of the Jamaican economic development. The necessity of tourism earnings is good for new business, for example, the recently developed, Montego Bay Convention Center. Visitors (tourist) exchange foreign currency for service and experiences. In addition (Travel markets insider newsletter, 2008) notified that " Jamaica's tourism industry had a record year in 2007, with close to 3 million visitors to the island, generating more than US$ 1.9 Million in revenues." The Government uses earnings from the tourism sector, as an foundation for sustainable linkages to other industries, such as agriculture and manufacturing, As a result, capital is then available to satisfy the needs of the country, this includes; the upgrade of schools and medical facilities and the improvement of the economy in general.
Economic tourism development, contributes to the Jamaican society through another important sub-sector, which is business. More and more businesses and governmental organizations are taking interest in the economical impact of tourism at a national level. All sub-sectors within the tourism industry depend on each other for growth. With the expansion of existing businesses and new creations of hotels, villas, motels and piers, the improvements enhances businesses and its priority of growth and survival, and facilitate the process of modernization. The government aid by the input of master plans that are usually long term oriented in expanding the tourism industry itself, essentially impacting on the business community. "Port Authority of Jamaica Vice-President William Tatham says the planned US$10 million Margaretville attraction and bar at Falmouth Pier, along with new shops, should hike cruise-passenger daily spending by 70 per cent to US$120 per person in the short to medium term." (Jackson, 2012). A vision for more jobs availability within that circumstance will then arise. Communities add their value to through small businesses, such as nightclubs, being a secondary earner of revenue and supporter to development, like wise employment.
Employment is a generalize issue to the world wide economy and the Jamaican society is no exception. However, tourism is a labour intensive industry, creating excessive job opportunities, especially for young professionals; that is full time and part-time workers. Jamaica, one of the Caribbean's top destinations, employment statistics has significantly increased, and "â€¦ generated 84,000 jobs directly in 2011 (7.2% of total employment) and forecast to grow by 1.6% in 2012 to 85,500 (7.1% of total employment)." (World Travel & Tourism, 2012). Tourism sector is directly linked with other industries such as entertainment, accommodation, agent, and travel etc., thus influencing and providing employment. The economy gains strength yearly pertaining to the amount of jobs that is created by the industry ; this therefore leads to the reduction of poverty in the Jamaican society.
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Tourism supports socio-cultural activity, which benefits the improvement of local communities. Sustainable tourism encourages elevates the effectiveness of community tourism development. Besides, this allows communities to be involved in decisions of long-term, ecology and equity of all communities. Community base tourism thrives on small or locally operated businesses. Money is injected by visitors, a medium of paying for service and experiences; Furthermore for food, accommodations and travel. There are lots of benefits that are allotted through socio-cultural integration of visitors and communities. In many circumstances, tourist tends to invest great interest in community related activities. Tourism encourages a variety of projects or foundations that incorporate all persons, in that case skill or not skill can benefit from what is developed. Community tourism, does contribute to the welfare of the economic development, while benefiting from the impact of tourism on Jamaica's destination. (Ried, 2012)
Tourism empowers the ability to development and improve, pushing the Jamaican economy forward. Also, having excess impact on the countries earnings, businesses and socio- cultural activity. Tourism never fails to provide or gain; yet it stimulates growth, while contributing to the evolution of needs and wants of Jamaican society. Furthermore the economic survival for the future.