Jamaica Tourism Impacts (JAMTOUR)

          CASE NUMBER:         139 
          CASE NAME:          Jamaica's Tourism Trade

1.        The Issue
     Tourism is both Jamaica's largest foreign exchange earner and
one of its fastest growing industries.  A recent environmental
study commissioned by the Organization of American States (OAS)
surveyed the natural resource base which supports tourism and
concluded that this base is "heavily stressed" in and around the
three main tourist centers.  The problem is that these areas now
support large populations of transients with high-income lifestyles
and these impacts harm both the environment and the people of
Jamaica.  It could also spoil Jamaica and lead to its own ruin.
2.        Description
     "Up the Black River, the red-legged coots appear to walk
     on water as they stroll the lily pads.  Green and blue
     herons glide silently among the surreal tangle of
     mangrove roots descending from the ancient trees. 
     Primeval crocodiles fix you with a cool grey eye and
     stand their ground.  Broad waters, where four rivers
     meet, push you gently back toward Mangrove Alley as
     thousands of cattle egrets wing home changing the dark
     green trees to a squawking, lively white.  As the sun
     sets, the waters of the Black River, punctuated by
     rippling islands of gold and scarlet, become one with the
     Caribbean Sea."  
     Jamaica is an island paradise, located in the northern
Caribbean, approximately 145 km south of Cuba and 160 km west of
Haiti, with a population of about 2.4 million people in 1992 and a
land area of 11,000 km/sq.  The country has had a low and steady
population growth rate of 1.4 percent for the past two decades,
partially reflecting substantial emigration to Europe and North
America.  Tourism is Jamaica's most important industry.  It is the
country's largest foreign exchange earner, (generating
approximately $950 million annually ) and is still one of its
fastest growing industries.  In both 1984 and 1985, the tourism
industry earned over US$400 million for Jamaica.  This profitable
service industry depends on the island's natural beauty -- pure
air, abundant sunshine, and clean sandy beaches.  This industry is
evidence to the close relationship between economic well-being and
the quality of the natural environment.
                           Table 139-1
                  Resources for Tourism and Recreation

1.  Offshore Islands, Cays and Reefs
2.  Beaches
3.  Mineral Springs
4.  Waterfalls
5.  Botanical Gardens
6.  National Parks
7.  Marine Parks
8.  Mountain Hiking and Camping
9.  Caves
10. National Monuments, Historical and Archaeological Sites
11. Rivers
12. Other Attractions

     Jamaica's natural resources -- tropical temperatures,
unspoiled beaches, clear Caribbean waters, fresh flowing rivers,
lush vegetation -- are just a few of the island's primary selling
points for temperate climate tourists.  Surveys indicate that the
majority of visitor hours are spent in outdoor activities, (such as
Kayaks, hikes, snorkeling) even though activities such as cultural
exhibitions, handicrafts (painting, making dolls and straw hats)
and shopping are available.
     The beaches in Jamaica are one of the most widely used natural
resources.  Public beaches, especially those that are well equipped
and maintained have a steady number of users throughout the year
and are heavily used on public holidays.  Jamaica has three
mineral spas: Rockfort, Milk River and Bath.  These depend very
heavily at times on local clientele; family and group excursion
visits to these mineral spas is very popular. 
     Jamaica has about 28 significant offshore islands and cays,
the majority of which are off the island's south coast.   The
intensive development of the cays for recreational purposes have
been curbed, due to the their lacy environment.  Only Lime Cay off
the coast of Port Royal is used as a recreational site for
sunbathing and picnics.  Around the north coast and along sections
of the south coast long coral reef chains that provide habitat for
numerous species of flora and fauna.  These are excellent
recreational areas that are known for diving and glass-bottom boat
     The principal resort areas are located in the island's north
coast where wind and wave action, which smash down on the offshore
coral reefs, help to develop and sustain the impressive white sand
beaches.  The beaches along the south coast of the island tend not
to be as attractive as those along the north coast.  The beaches
along the south coast are built up more of river sand, are
typically brown, and are less stable than those of the north coast.

     In addition to the beautiful beaches along the countries
coastal areas, the scenic waterfalls and rivers have also been a
major tourist attraction.  Several of Jamaica's swift-flowing
rivers scenic waterfalls that have been developed as recreational
attractions.  One of the many developed water falls is the Dunn's
River Falls.  It forms the central point of a landscaped park, with
a well-developed public bathing beach and craft shopping area.  
     The Jamaican Tourism Industry is a composite of several
distinct components such as: (a) the mega-complexes, (b) small
scale hotels, villa complexes, and guest houses, and (c) the cruise
ship trade.
     (a) The Mega-Complexes:  This segment of the industry
comprises of both upscale and mid-range single properties and all-
inclusive resort complexes.  Even though this array of resorts may
be significantly different in some respect, they do, however, have
similar characteristics:  "1. they require substantial initial
investment, 2. relatively high levels of foreign-sourced operating
inputs, and 3. are disproportionately located in the areas in and
around Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril, i.e. areas more easily
accessible to Sangster International Airport at Montego Bay."  The
daily existence of these resorts depends overwhelmingly  on foreign
tourists and the trading of their product overseas through
wholesale and retail outlets.  Based on successful marketing and
scale economies it has been noted that these resorts normally have
more than a 100 rooms.
     (b) Small Scale Hotels, Villa Complexes, and Guest Houses: 
Even though these places  are often disproportionately located
throughout the three major resort communities, they however have a
greater presence over the mega-resorts in the other parishes. 
"They relatively, if only slightly, are less dependent upon foreign
tourists, less reliant upon mass-marketing through offshore
representatives, smaller  in scale and more thoroughly integrated
into the local community and economy."  For example, mega-resorts
normally contract with the charter bus companies to ferry
passengers to the airports and tourist attractions, whereas, on the
other hand, the smaller hotels generally depend on the local taxi
operators.  The mega-resorts rely on reservations from overseas,
while smaller hotels source a relatively greater proportion of
their inputs locally.  The local craft shops, restaurants,
independent tour guides, equipment rental outlets, etc., are also
found to be aligned with the small hotels.
     (c) The Cruise Ship Trade:  The primary beneficiaries of
cruise ship visitors are the duty-free shops, the tour bus
operators, the many craft vendors and food stalls, and the several
attractions, e.g. Dunn's River Falls, Rio Grande Rafting, etc. 
Generally, the cruise ships will dock at Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.

However, Ocho Rios is increasingly losing its cruise ship trade to
Montego Bay due to the increase in tourists demands to visit
Montego Bay.
     Jamaica's Tourism Industry provides direct employment for
26,000 Jamaican's and indirectly employs another 17,000.  In 1985,13,619 persons were directly employed by the industry in the
accommodation sub-sector, an increase of 16 percent over the figure
for 1979.
     Despite the fluctuations in the international travel market,
there has been steady growth in visitor arrivals over the years. 
The reports indicate that the number of tourists embarking on
Jamaica's soil almost doubled over the years 1971-1985, even demand
may have fallen at various points during that period.  In 1985,
stop-over guests amounted to 67% of the total 846,716 visitors
(mainly cruise ship passengers and armed forces personnel) to the
island that year.  During the period of 1979 and 1985, visitor
expenditures increased from 194.3 to 406.8 million US dollars.  
In 1993 Jamaica's 18,500 hotel rooms accommodated 979,000 stop-
overs and the island hosted 630,000 cruise ship passengers (in 1993
the 1.6 million visitors to the island surpassed the 1992 figure of
1.5 million).  The Jamaica Tourist Board stated that it anticipates
the construction of 7-8,000 more hotel rooms in the areas of
Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril over the next five years.
     The estimated industry earnings for 1993 ($950 million)
towered over the previous year's $858 million.  The Ministry of
Tourism has indicated that tourism earnings now represent about 45
percent of total earnings of foreign exchange, leading all other
industries.  The government, in an attempt to encourage tourism
investment, has implemented generous tax incentives.  Under the
Hotel Incentives Act, the owner or operator of an approved hotel
enterprise is entitled to relief from income and dividend tax for
a period of up to 10 years.  In addition, the owner may also
benefit from a duty exemption on imports for constructing or
expanding hotels.  Owners and operators of resort cottages also are
entitled to these benefits.   The problem, however, with this is
that the liberalization regime means that these hoteliers are
permitted to keep their money where they want (which in many cases
is in offshore accounts or invested in other projects overseas). 
It is not certain as to what percent of the money generated from
the industry flows back into the national economy.  However, the
"generous incentives provided to the tourist sector mean less
overall tax revenues to the national budget, while at the same time
the industry drains scarce resources for infrastructure and other
support projects."
     "Balancing Jamaica's ecology and tourism is a precarious dance
to an insistent reggae beat.  Tourism generates even more foreign
exchange for the country than the bauxite industry, creating jobs
and a chance for a brighter future.  But with tourism comes
development, bringing pressures to local people and their
environment"   The island's visiting population has more than
tripled in 20 years -- now equal to almost half the size of its
native, resident population.  "Although the impact is rather
different if the transient population increases at this rate than
if the permanent population does, an increase in the tourist
population of this magnitude poses very similar challenges as any
other kind of population increase."  In both situations, the
critical factor involved is the maintenance of the natural
environment.  Reports have indicated that the natural resource
bases that support the island's tourism trade is heavily stressed
around the three main tourist centers.  The reports identify the
following principal sources of environmental degradation: 
     (a) inadequate sewage treatment and disposal facilities
     is causing deteriorating water quality and reef damage;
     (b) storm water discharge is transporting silt and
     pollutant into coastal waters;
     (c) shore line construction, dredging and reef damage
     have caused beach erosion;
     (d) deforestation due to inland agriculture and timber
     cutting is aggravating flood damage and siltation; and 
     (e) coastal development is contributing to the
     destruction of wetlands, important as fish nurseries and
     wildlife habitat and as buffers against water pollution
     and coastal erosion.
     The increasing number of tourists, with extremely high
consumption habits, places a disproportionate strain on the local
infrastructure.  Studies indicate that the average tourist ingests
ten times as much water and produces three times as much solid
waste as the average resident.  In addition, "the migration of
Jamaican job-seekers drawn by tourism growth has exceeded the
housing supply in these areas, leading to squatter settlements
lacking in basic infrastructure and frequently situated in
environmentally vulnerable locations."
     In 1975, the National Resources Conservation Division (NRCD)
instituted a water quality monitoring program of the north coast
beaches.  The NRCD has since then recorded higher than acceptable
levels of fecal coliform for recreational swimming beach areas. 
The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is a major development arm
of the government which undertakes projects which most private
enterprises would find too risky or unprofitable, but which are
vital to the country's economic growth.  Problems have risen about
the treatment of waste from the UDC erected buildings in the Ocho
Rios Bay area.  The sewage plant which treat these buildings does
not treat much of the town's remaining domestic sewage.  In
addition, the UDC treatment plant discharges the sewage by pipeline
into the western end of the bay, thereby directly affecting the
users of the bay and encourages the rapid growth of seaweed (which
can eventually cause damage to the nearby coral reefs as in the
CORAL case).
     Sewage disposal is a major problem through out the island. 
Even though the large hotels generally have treatment plants, the
effectiveness of which is very questionable.  The volume of waste
that is being treated and the efficiency of  the operators are
factors that greatly affect the effectiveness of the treatment
     Jamaica's swimming waters are also being polluted by caustic
soda used in the bauxite mines (see BAUXITE
case).  The Moneague Lake, at one time proposed for development
as a recreational park, is being polluted by caustic soda from the
red mud lake on Mount Diablo.  The high ph level of the lake could
prove harmful to people who come in contact with the water.
     The steady increase in the hotel construction has led to the
destruction of Dune barrier along the sea shore.  Several years ago
Jamaica's (especially along the south coast)  beaches were lined by
dunes of sand covered with vegetation.  "The dunes were formed
above the high water mark by storm seas, each storm adding a little
more sand, and the vegetation grew upwards through each successive
deposit.  An extensive root system bound the sand in such a way
that when destructive storm seas struck the coast, the wave energy
was absorbed and the dune barrier protected the land behind it from
flooding and erosion."  The hotel activities,  the construction
of other buildings and the  heavy use of public beaches have led to
the eradication of the dune barrier from along the beaches, thereby
resulting in the removal and deposition elsewhere of sand that was
formerly held in place by the vegetation.  The overall outcome of
removal of the dune from the beaches is that the island has seen an
accelerated erosion of many of its beaches, thereby requiring
groynes to be erected to protect the beaches.
     Jamaica's beaches are not immune from oil pollution.  During
the period of 1979 to 1984, the island reported at least eight oil
spills, releasing at least 200,000 gallons of oil.   Along the
island's south coastal area, at least eight locations have been
identified as being vulnerable to oil pollution.  Ships travelling
within or that are in close proximity to the island is responsible
for the oil that is washed onto the beaches.  This not only affects
the crabs and other marine life, but it  produces problems for
people using the beaches.  In an attempt to combat this problem,
the Office of Disaster Preparedness has an oil-spill contingency
plan which relies on the collaboration of NRCD, the Coast Guard,
and international agencies.
     There is a constant struggle between the maintenance of the
natural habitat and the improvement of  economic goals.  A perfect
example of this is seen when the Montego Freeport Scheme, was
developed on the site of former mangrove swamps and islands of
coral and mud.  Even though one may consider this to  be an
indispensable contribution to the economic development of the
country, the project entailed an enormous amount of dredging and
landfilling, which all but destroyed the Bogue islands and
associated mangrove wetlands.
     Another example of this conflict is seen in an attempt, later
discontinued, to develop a resort in Falmouth (one of the island's
14 Parishes) which pillaged the bioluminescent  "Glistening Waters"

lagoon of its uniqueness.  In an effort to facilitate the
construction of roads and buildings, the mangroves around the bay
were removed.  The "increased drainage affected nutrient loads and
turbidity, destroying unique glistening water phenomenon.  Although
there has been some recovery of these dinoflagellate organisms, the
once permanent luminous night scene now occurs only
intermittently."  Other contributors to the habitat degradation
is the craft industry which create the products for sale to the
tourists.  This has resulted in the reduction of black coral
formation, and encouraged the robbery of the coral reefs for the
production of souvenirs.
     The construction industry is the major culprit of  the
elimination of sand from the beaches stretching from one end of the
country to another.  Reports indicated that the Providence Pen
Beach, in St. James, was created by the extraction of mangrove
vegetation and filling with sand dredged offshore.  "The
artificially constructed beach frontage has not stabilized,
however, because of sand removal the beach has therefore been
abandoned."  The Government implemented the Quarries Control Act
(1983) in an attempt to control the problem.  
     With the overall increase in tourism trade closer attention
needs to be given in terms of developing a comprehensive
environmental policy.  Responses to the stresses on tourism's
natural resource base have been both technical and institutional. 
On the technical side broadly-directed infrastructure projects,
among them, the USAID supported north coast development project,
seek to rehabilitate and expand existing  physical capacity for
tourism development through road, sewage and water works.  Montego
Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril have either undergone or are undergoing
renovations of their water supply systems, and new sewage treatment
projects are under construction or in the contracting phase.  The
Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association, the main industry group, has
commissioned a manual on environmental management for its
     Even more recently there has been significant advancement in 
Jamaica's institutional capability  to monitor and plan against
environmental impacts.  In 1991, the Natural Resources Conservation
Authority (NRCA) was created by the Jamaican Government as the
primary regulating and enforcement agency.  "The NRCA now possesses
broad powers to require an environmental impact assessment for any
proposed development and the authority to halt projects that would
unduly harm the resource base."
3.        Related Cases:
     Keyword Clusters         
     (1): Trade Product  = TOURism
     (2): Bio-geography  = TROPical
     (3): Forum:         = JAMAica
4.        Draft Author:  Opal Mc Farlane
5.        Discourse and Status:    AGReement and COMPlete
6.        Scope and Forum:  Jamaica and UNILaTeral
     The National Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA), a
regulatory body responsible for the management of the physical
environment and for promoting environmental education, was
established two years ago.
7.        Decision Breadth:  1  (Jamaica)
8.        Legal Standing:     LAW
9.        Geographic Locations
     a. Geographic Domain:    North America [NAMER]
     b. Geographic Site: CARIBbean
     c. Geographic Impact:    JAMAICA
10.       Sub-National Factors:  NO
11.       Type of Habitat:  TROPical
12.       Type of Measure:  Regulatory Standard [REGSTD]
13.       Direct vs. Indirect Impacts: DIRect
14.       Relation of Measure to Environmental Impact
     a. Directly Related:     YES  TOURism
     b. Indirectly Related:   NO
     c. Not Related:          NO
     d. Process Related:      YES  Pollution Land [POLL]
15.       Trade Product Identification:  TOURism
16.       Economic Data
     Jamaica ranks twelfth in the Americas region in tourist
arrivals and ninth in terms of tourism receipts.  With 18,500 rooms
at the end of 1992, it ranked second after the Dominican Republic,
among the 32 small island nations that comprise the Caribbean, in
terms of the size of the accommodations industry.
     The Jamaican Tourist Board (JTB) statistics show that in 1992
there were a total of 909,010 stopover visitors, 649,517 cruise
passengers and 148,173 non-resident Jamaicans who visited the
island.  According to the JTB expenditure survey of departing
passengers, stopover visitors spent an average of US$907 per person
while in Jamaica, and cruise passengers spent US$52 per person. 
The expenditures of non-resident Jamaicans, who are classified as
tourists by the widely used definition of the World Tourism
Organization (WTO), were not included in the JTB expenditure
survey.  Per person expenditure of non-resident Jamaicans was
estimated for the study at US$41.08 per day.
     The economic impact of any industry can be measured through
its contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 
GDP is defined under the international System of National Accounts
(SNA) as the value added by the industry itself (after deducting
purchases from manufacturers and suppliers) through its use of
labor and other factors of production.  The GDP of the tourist
industry is, therefore, not the same as the total revenues
generated by the sector.  The total tourism expenditure in Jamaica
in 1992 amounted to J$25,033.3 million (US$1,089.8 million).  This
tourist expenditure was accounted for by the different types of
tourists as follows.  After accounting for purchases of
intermediate products (food, liquor, services, etc.) the direct
contribution to Jamaica's Gross Domestic Product by tourism
industry was J$8,319.4 million in 1992. 
     The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) estimated that
Jamaica's 1992 total GDP was J$62,672.9 million at factor cost in
current prices.  This implies that the tourism sector accounted for
13.3 percent of Jamaica's GDP in 1992.  Tourism's contribution to
Jamaica's GDP was higher than agriculture (7.9 percent), and mining
(9.4 percent) but lower than manufacturing (19.7 percent).  The
services sector contributed 63 percent of Jamaica's GDP in 1992 of
which tourism accounted for 18 percent (J$8,365.4 million for
tourism vs. J$46,008.9 million for all services).
     Viewed from a different angle, every dollar of tourism
expenditure resulted in direct GDP impact of 33.2 cents.  If
indirect and induced impacts are taken into account, every dollar
of  tourist expenditure, resulted in J$1.12  in total impact on the
Jamaican GDP in 1992.
     In 1992 a total of 71,710 persons were employed by the
Jamaican Tourism Industry.  This amounts to about eight percent
of the total employed labor force of 906,000 persons in that year. 
The value added per direct worker, therefore, works out to
J$116,656 or  US$5,078.6, which can be compared to other sectors as

                   1992 Value Added Per Worker
                           US Dollars
Agriculture    Mining    Manufacturing  Services  Average

$1,071.1       6,152.0        5,370.6   3,636.9   3,507.0

It is estimated that the total employment impact (direct, indirect
and induced) of the tourism industry resulted in supporting 216,000
jobs in Jamaica in 1992.
     Total expenditure of J$25,033.3 million in the tourism sector
resulted in foreign exchange earnings of J$23,230.6 million in
1992.  The equivalent in US dollars of US$1,011.3 million in
foreign exchange earnings can be compared to Jamaica's merchandise
exports.  This has been outlined in the table below.  This table
shows that foreign exchange earnings from tourism in 1992 were
almost equal to the annual average of all commodity exports from
Jamaica between 1989 and 1992).

                Merchandise Exports From Jamaica
                        Average 1989-1992

Item      Value (US$ Millions)

Bauxite                  104
Alumina                  529
Sugar                     81
Bananas                   36
 Traditional Exports      44
 Non-traditional         250
Re-exports                48
Total                 $1,089
     Revenue earned by the Jamaican Government from the tourism
sector consisted of the following.

                   Direct Government Revenues
                    From Tourism Sector 1992
                   (In J$ Millions) (J$33 = US$1)

Source                        Value

GCT                           690.5
Airport Tax                   211.6
Cruise Passenger Tax          119.4
Commodity Taxes               245.5
Indirect Taxes                 90.0
PAYE                          432.1
Total Direct Revenues       1,789.1

Source: OAS Economic Analysis of Tourism in Jamaica, 1994

17.       Impact of Trade Restriction: LOW   
18.       Industry Sector: TOURism
19.       Exporter and Importer:  MANY and JAMAica
20.       Environmental Problem Type:  Pollution Land [POLL]
21.       Species Information
     a. Species:         Many
     b. Genera:          Many
     c. Diversity:  3,308 higher plants per 10,000 km/sq (Jamaica)
22.       Impact and Effect: HIGH and SCALE
23.       Urgency and Lifetime: LOW and 100s of years
24.       Substitutes: Ecotourism [ECOTR]
25.       Culture: YES
     The entertainment of tourists to the island is an important
element of the Jamaican culture.  Jamaica is an island paradise
where it is the totality of the country that sells it self. 
Thereby, if one really wants to discover everything there is about
Jamaica, he/she will have to get involve and intermingle with the
Jamaican people.  This is partly how reggae music spread throughout
the world.
26.       Trans-boundary:  NO
27.       Human Rights:  NO
28.       Relevant Literature
Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Country Environmental Profile,
     September, 1987.
Government of Jamaica, Organization of American States, Economic
     Analysis of Tourism In Jamaica, September, 1994.
Reidell Heidi, On the Tightrope To Conservation,  44 Americas,
Department of Commerce, Sustainable Development: Contribution of
     Tourism to the Jamaican Economy, R 062059Z, July, 1994.
Department  of Commerce, IMI - Business and Trade Opportunities In
     Jamaica's Tourist Sector, O241517Z, February, 1995.
Department of Commerce, Environment: Jamaican Tourism and
     Environmental Quality, R 181423Z, April, 1994. 


[End notes will be added]

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