Fri 18th Jul 2008
According to the UNEP, estimates for leakage of money in tourism range from 80% in the Caribbean and 40% in India. About 80% of travellers' money goes to the airlines, hotels and other international companies and not to local businesses or hotels.
At the same time, tourism in local tourist centres destroys primary production economies - agriculture, fishing and related industries, giving rise to crime, drug abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children. Mass tourism becomes a magnet for sex tourists from many Western countries. Mass tourism will make none of us rich, but simply turn many SVG children and youth in to sex toys for colonials.
Under mass tourism, female unemployment is often twice as high as male unemployment. Jobs as domestic staff are so badly paid that it is impossible to live on them. Thus the high number of women who are forced to turn to prostitution is not surprising. Young women often engage in high-risk commercial sex just in an effort to survive. The doors of mass tourism do not open to equal opportunities for women but to scary worlds of inequities and exploitation.
Tourists use a disproportionate amount of water. In Granada, Spain, the average tourist uses 7 times more freshwater than a local person. In Majorca, the average tourist consumes 440 litres per day, and luxury tourism 880 litres. An average 18-hole golf course uses some 200 000 litres of water a day - we will go thirsty. Tourists consume much more electricity too. If you think your water and electricity bills are high now you won't believe what they'll be like under mass tourism.
Mass tourism will create homogenous gated foreign owned enclaves. We will be excluded from beaches and other areas as more and more lands are set aside for the new colonials - tourists. Land prices will rise as more bits of lands are taken for tourist areas and Vincentians will be forced to live more densely on whatever land is left over. With even higher food prices, the contrasts will not be sharper between the feeding troughs at the luxury hotels and empty plates in the houses of the poor. We will be slaves again, just different masters.
The ceremony marks the demise of independence and the erosion of equality and human rights, especially for women and children. Mass tourism promises no long-term stability for society or individuals financially. Aside from the immoral consequences of the underwater airport, there are serious economic factors that signpost the ignorance of building this airport.
Peter Mandelson, an EU Commissioner, warned 3 years ago that the global economics would bring a decline in tourism in the Caribbean. The spiralling rise in oil prices will guarantee a decline. Unfortunately, like an ostrich, the ULP regime metaphorically sticks its head in the sand and ignores these massive global economic indicators. Focusing on the Argyle airport whilst tourism is declining is clearly ridiculous.
The socially conscious SVG Green Party contends that the Argyle Airport is an economic misfit, and an injury on the wealth and human capital on SVG. We make another call on the ULP regime to cancel the Argyle Airport project.