Ecotourism In Jamaica Case Study

Case study: conservation and management in the Serengeti

A lioness stands in front of a safari jeep

Tourism brings income to Kenya and gives tourists a greater understanding of the area's animals and plants. The Serengeti is especially popular for safari holidays, which give tourists a chance to observe the annual migration of the wildebeest and zebra.

Tourism can also have negative impacts on the area. These need to be managed carefully to ensure that the natural environment isn't damaged for future generations.

Positive impacts of tourism

  • Conservation - tourism has supplied the economic incentive to set up national parks and conservation areas which protect wildlife.
  • Employment - tourism has generated jobs, improving the living standards for local communities.
  • Infrastructure - roads, airports and other facilities have been built.
  • Investment profits from tourism have been invested in education and other programmes for local communities.

Negative impacts of tourism

  • Environmental damage - roads and tracks for safari jeeps can erode grass cover, damaging plants and animals and disturbing local habitats. The removal of trees and other vegetation for the construction of roads can lead to soil erosion.
  • Inequality - often the profits of tourism are reaped by wealthy landowners or the hotel and travel companies in MEDCs.
  • Loss of traditional cultures - the Masai's way of life and traditional farming methods have been disrupted by the setting up of the Serengeti National Park.
  • Water cycle damage - diverting water for tourists can exploit local water reserves, leaving local people, plants and animals short of water. Tourist hotels sometimes dump waste into rivers.

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Jamaica does have problems however, because its tourism numbers are declining slightly due to competition from new resorts across other Caribbean Islands.  This is despite the fabulous climate shown below!

Mass Tourism also brings problems and positives to the Island.



Tourism brings in money to Jamaica – 20% of its GDP – this money can be spent on essential services such as health care and education which can boost the overall level of development.  This does have a downside however, as Jamaica is dependent upon this income and if tourist numbers fall the economy would be affected.

220,000 Jamaicans work in tourism – it is a vital employer.  People work in a wide range of jobs, from the construction of hotels and tourist facilities, to service work cleaning, working in bars, caddying on golf courses amongst other jobs.

Tourism benefits many sections of the economy as people spend money in bars, restaurants, and other local businesses, so tourism has a positive multiplier effect.


Many of the jobs created are seasonal, so people can become unemployed

Large TNCs (Trans National Companies) such as Thomas Cook organise the holidays and make most of the money, so the profits go out of Jamaica and into MEDCs

Local employees are paid low wages, whereas managers from other countries tend to earn more.

There is cultural pollution/dilution; Jamaica has a problem with sex tourism and a problem with drugs.

Land for the massive hotels takes away land from famers.  Water use also increases for drinking water, washing and recreation, taking water from local people.

Local people cannot afford the facilities put in place for the tourists.

As a response to some of the problems and in an attempt to become more sustainable, Jamaica is branching tourism out into community tourism were tourists stay with locals in their homes, directly benefitting locals, and ecotourism, in the inland area of the Blue Mountains with low densities and tourist lodges.There are also ecotourist lodges along the coastline.  The features of these lodges include an approach to low or zero waste, solar panels to produce power, very low visitor numbers (many resorts have less than 16 lodges or huts) and recycling of water. Great Huts Resort near Boston Beach has some of these features and also offers educational tours of its local area.


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