Tourism: A Double Edged Sword Essay

1258 words - 5 pages

Tourism is something seen as common and in most cases, good for the economy as well as for a person in need of a vacation. From one person’s point of view, it would seem as if nothing was ever wrong with tourism. However, if one was to read A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid, one might see a different approach to the idea of tourism. Through exploring the problems of the island of Antigua, Kincaid shows one the ways in which tourism obscures the island's struggles. In this sense, A Small Place tells one that tourism is a double-edged sword – while it provides money for the nation, it also exploits it. Before gaining its independence from the United Kingdom in 1981, Antigua was a large slave country. Upon the nation receiving its freedom, it was struck with the reality that it was quite poor, leaving the nation with few options for economic support.

A tourist is attracted to a place like Antigua for several reasons. Kincaid names a few of these reasons saying, “The color of the water is navy-blue; nearer the water is the colour of the North American sky. You have never seen anything like this. You are so excited. You see yourself lying on the beach, enjoying the amazing sun (a sun so powerful and yet so beautiful, the way it is always overhead as if on permanent guard, ready to stamp out any cloud that dares to darken and so empty rain on you and ruin your holiday.”(13) Kincaid implies that these are some of the primary reasons people want to vacation in Antigua. The small rain amount, sandy beaches, intriguing Caribbean culture, and not to mention the different types of food, make this island a great getaway spot. The visual details Kincaid uses to describe these island characteristics are enough to spark the imagination of potential tourists! However, by focusing on these idealistic vacation features, tourists do not see the 'big picture' and they can overlook the negative vacation aspects.

Without many exports possible, to this day, the biggest economy booster there is for Antigua is tourism. As a tourist, it might seem as if Antigua is the most beautiful and serene place on Earth, but to a local they might think differently. Kincaid says, “(Antigua) where the sun always shines and where the climate is deliciously hot and dry for the four to ten days that you are here on your holiday, since you are a tourist the thought of what it might be like for someone to live here day in and day out…never crosses your mind.”(4) Kincaid is pointing out that, in the tourist's mindset, this island is absolute paradise. The tourist sees nothing wrong with living here, but they do not see the effects of the long droughts and dry heat that the natives feel daily. Tourists do not have to endure the struggles that the natives go through with respect to getting water that they can drink and water that irrigates the few crops they can grow.

Not only are the droughts problematic, but sometimes a tourist does not even begin to think about the setback in medical...

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