The ethics of tourism

The ethics of tourism

: Some are appalled at tourists reappearing in Phuket after the tsunami. But others, starting with the head of Lonely Planet, say that getting tourist dollars to those economies are vital. I was reading a story at Australia’s The Age and another Jeff Jarvis (not me, not the jazz musician, the Australian Jeff Jarvis I run across on eGoogles now and again) says:

Jeff Jarvis, a Monash University academic and tourism industry researcher whose particular interest is how the largesse of Western tourists impacts on developing countries, has no doubt. “This is a time for people to be foot soldiers for development aid – to get off the sofa and book their next holiday to Thailand or Sri Lanka,” he says. “To support the people in the bar and selling T-shirts on the beach and working in the restaurants.”

Jarvis, director of the graduate tourism program at the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash, argues that tourism is a major force of development worldwide – and becoming ever more important. “People don’t realise what happens to the money they spend on holiday. That for them to go and spend a couple of thousand dollars in a developing country would be the equivalent of someone spending tens of thousands of dollars in Australia. Tourism can be a vital weapon in the war against poverty.”

  • Eileen

    Yes, Jeff(s). It is surely vital. But how Tough would it be to show up right now as a sun worshipper and lay around partying instead of somehow pitching in to help? Some vacation, surrounded by death, devastation and destruction. Would you arrive in Phuket riding the waves via Three D Cruise Lines, or on a chartered plane with no place to land due to relief efforts tying up area airports? How about recent gunfire in Banda Aceh from the separatist movement(?), or fundamental Islamists who’ve made their presence known, and also made it clear they’re against Western infidel aid and influence in the region?
    Annan reported today that in some locations the tsunami reached three Miles inland. What kind of beach would you find?
    Once you arrive, what would you eat? I’m sure you’d find something – or at least cocktails. But aside from the fishermen who have no boats or who are afraid of going back to sea, there are others who report that no one will even eat fish because of what They may have eaten.
    For those around here who do NOT believe in miracles, there was this today:
    “On Saturday, a man was found alive, trapped under the rubble of a seaside shop in the southern Sri Lankan city of Galle.
    Doctors at Karapitiya Hospital said the man, believed to be in his 60s, was suffering from pneumonia and severe hydration, but would certainly live.
    “Miracles do happen,” Dr. Chandra Pala Mudanngake said.”
    http://www.cnn.com/aol/story/2005/01/09/cnn_asiapcf_asia.tsunami.html
    This man was found two WEEKS later.
    By latest counts the world will need to feed at least 2 million survivors on a daily basis for the next six months, aside from all the rest. The world is going to need to help This part of our world for some time to come. Hopefully, droves of tourists will assist in healing. I believe in all manner of miracles.

  • kat

    I agree with Eileen. Out of respect for their dead, I could not imagine cavorting where so many just died. I think it would not be a way to win the hearts and minds of muslims,some of whom already blame the disaster on Christmas festivities. I think we should respect their 40 day period of mourning, or whatever it is. I’d rather send the trip money directly to those involved. Some see those places as a mass graveyard, and I’d not to too pleased if I saw people with lawn chairs drinking on a fresh grave of my loved one. The only way I could see supporting tourism is as a volunteer, not as a vacationer.

  • http://jfsac.blogspot.com JFSAC

    Annan reported today that in some locations the tsunami reached three Miles inland. What kind of beach would you find?
    There was a report with several local residents marvelling at how pristine the beaches were afterwards. They said there had been massive development along the shoreline, all of which had been washed away leaving white sands in their place.
    Tourism can help, but a guest worker program and remittances is the long-term solution to economic recovery.
    The Jobs for South Asia Coalition

  • kat

    {If the emergency relief bill does not pass, we believe it would be morally incumbent upon those of us who wish to help this region recover to encourage Indonesians and others in the area to come to Mexico or Canada and seek non-traditional immigration routes to employment in the U.S.} In other words we should become smugglers of humans. We should break the law? Why is it that the USA is the only country singled out here? What about some of the Arab countries offering the same incentives? I don’t think we have to prove to muslims that we are a good country in which to work. I’d like some muslim countries to show me they care about my culture, my religion, and my region and that an American could enjoy the same rights in muslim countries as muslims demand in the US.
    I hate threats and I see this as a threat–let us in legally, or we’ll come illegally. I see that as illegal and immoral. I don’t think we can afford to allow millions of people into here, no questions asked. We did that once before and paid dearly.

  • Eileen

    Kat said it well, but I’d like to add a few comments. First JFSAC, who exactly are you and where are you from? There is no identifying information in your blog.
    Second, although I’m sure there are some nice ‘new’ beaches around where people could do some tent camping if they packed in their own food and water (cause there ain’t nothin else there), but there are plenty of other beaches that aren’t looking quite so ‘pristine’. Bodies continue washing on shore daily… But eventually tourism will rebound; the sooner the better for all affected.
    In the meantime, I’m also curious why your only focus is on the U.S. for your guest program? Why not push for it in Canada, throughout Europe, and as Kat says, in the fabulously wealthy Middle East?
    I know several people from India who have worked for over twenty years on a ‘guest’ basis in the U.A.E. It has broken families, and ultimately not done One Thing to improve the infrastructure or industries in their home states. The same applies to Mexico via illegal workers here. Is Mexico now ‘thriving’ due to all that money sent home? And does the arrangement also drain money that would otherwise be spent by workers on U.S. products and services back to those home countries? Of course it does; by design.
    As for your blog comment that “At the same time these workers will help solve the labor crunch in the U.S….” What labor crunch? Not where I live (the Northwest). People here can’t even Find work, much less work that pays a living wage. We’re still trying to recover from 9/11 around here. Then you say, “Passing this emergency relief bill would allow millions of hard-working Indonesians to come to the U.S. to do the jobs Americans won’t do.” Now you want Millions to move here on the program? There are NO jobs in my region that ‘Americans won’t do’. We do them all, such as they exist. You also want to liberalize minimum wage laws to facilitate your program (JUST what we need), to provide dormitories for workers, etc., and then they can happily send the money they earn home? U.S. workers lose on all fronts. Fabulous and No Thanks!
    While I’m not opposed to a short term program for a finite number of guest workers, what you propose is ridiculous. Go spread ‘the wealth’ in other countries. Long term solutions for the tsunami region include development of infrastructure, rebuilding their destroyed employment bases like fishing and tourism, and further expansion of other Self-Supporting industries.
    As for suggesting millions of Indonesians come here illegally if the U.S. bill you wish doesn’t pass, I would not be nearly so polite as Kat. How dare you? Again, who the hell Are you? If you’re living in the U.S., are you here legally?

  • http://jfsac.blogspot.com JFSAC

    My name is Michael Beatty, and I head up the Jobs for South Asia Coalition. We’re currently seeking a select group of human rights organizations, refugee assistance groups, business leaders, and legal professionals to join our coalition and help make our dream a reality. We’ll also be updating the blog and moving to a permanent site in the near future.
    I’m based in the U.S., and I’d like to bring the wonderful benefits of guest worker programs to this country, not to some other country. As for remittances, they’re a healthy alternative to foreign aid, and Mexican leaders admit that they’ve worked wonders for Mexico’s economy. Mexico brings in almost as much from remittances as they do from oil, and for some smaller countries remittances are one-third of GDP. In addition, many banks and other financial companies earn millions from the fees associated with sending remittances. There are few problems that remittances can’t solve.
    I’ll note that some people oppose WalMart, but at the same time they continue to shop there because of the low prices. If lettuce dropped from $1.00 a head to $.95 because of our guest workers, that would be a tremendous boost to our economy and increase the buying power of American consumers.
    At the same time, we could show true American compassion to hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of Muslims from Indonesia.
    Please think about it a bit and consider all the benefits from this program.

  • Kat

    And how many billions will it cost Americans?
    Muslims already cost us billions in security and you want to bring millions more here and they don’t have to meet regular immigration standards?. Can you guarantee that there won’t be any terrorists who may blow up some Americans? I see absolutely no benefits in such a program–NONE. It will cost the taxpayer billions in added education costs, Dorm housing, free medical. We need to rebuild Indonesia and not move Indonesia to America.
    5 pennies on a head of lettuce. Wow. All it will cost us is several billion.

  • Eileen

    Michael, you say you are ‘based here’. What the hell does that mean?? Where are you FROM? Are you an American? Are you here legally?
    I ditto much of what Kat has just said; however, I am in favor of a limited – underline that – LIMITED program such as you propose.
    There are so many other things you’ve said which are, again, ridiculous. You’d like to ‘bring’ the benefits of such a program to THIS country? What the hell do you think we do for illegals from Mexico daily? If Mexico is – as I said before – thriving from remittances, then why do hordes of illegals continue to cross our borders daily??? Life in Mexico is so grand they need to leave their own country, suck the U.S. dry in every kind of public assistance program that exists, send the money they earn here home, change our voting ballots to bi-lingual Spanish/English, ETC., and then return home? Yeah, and we save a nickel on a head of lettuce and can’t find a job in our OWN country!!!
    Like I said, where I live WE AMERICANS need whatever jobs exist!!! 9/11 decimated us. Outsourcing and illegals have cost Millions of Americans their jobs! The LAST thing we need is for More sub-minimum wage workers(!!!) to take our pitiful employment opportunities and further undermine our OWN ability to survive. Yes, I mean SURVIVE! There are eight inches of snow on the ground here and Many can’t even afford to pay their heating bills. How many more are filing bankruptcy, in foreclosure, being evicted from apartments they can’t afford, not able to pay for gasoline to get to their shitty, low paying jobs – because their decent paying job got shipped off to India? How about what AMERICANS are facing in their fight for survival as we save the REST of the world?
    Yeah, send millions more here to suck us dry.
    To top it off, you espouse ILLEGAL ENTRY into this country by millions of Indonesians. How DARE you??? You are a crook.
    Yeah, I see the ‘benefits’ of what you propose – in a very limited fashion – but by God don’t send them to where I live because there ain’t no jobs here. And beyond that, if you want to bring in truckloads of illegals, don’t expect me or ANY OTHER American to welcome them with open arms. Some of us are merely trying to survive in our country of birth, with no help from you or your compatriots, as you apparently view ALL Americans as being wealthy.
    I’ve got some news for you.