And then it was forgotten. Economically, if
What it has left, is sun, sand, and some of the most beautiful scenery in the region – including the Marigot Bay location for the original Rex Harrison Dr Doolittle - and of course its people, who have included two Nobel prize-winners, Derek Walcott, the poet, and Sir Arthur Lewis, the economist who half a century ago developed "development" for the UN. (http://nobelprize.org/economics/laureates/1979/lewis-autobio.html)
Lewis's insights need updating. He compared the price of coffee to steel, because in those days, countries imported and exported tangible commodities. But in his native St Lucia, the sugar cane has gone, and following the American case at the WTO against the EU's banana preferences, this last major export crop is in danger as well. While for such a small island
For traditional economists and governments, this often seems an undignified way for a country to earn its living. But as one of George Bernard Shaw's characters once remarked, those that talk most about the dignity of labor are usually those that don't do any. There is no rush of jobseekers from the hotels and bars of the tourist resorts seeking backbreaking work in the cane-fields. In fact, British tourists alone take more money to developing countries than the government sends in aid and those tourist dollars, Euros and pounds usually go directly to locals and have less risk of being siphoned off by banks, consultants and politicians who stand ready to ambush aid money. In the case of
As for the "Not-In-My-Back-Yard" syndrome, tourism developments usually bring better infrastructure, roads, power supplies, water and sewage plants to benefit the neighbors. It may be true that there is a certain percentage of tourists who are obnoxious, but that is infinitely preferable to having the more traditional accoutrements of development, a steel smelter, coalmine or nuclear power station in your backyard.
The UN recognized that recently when it accepted the World Tourism Organization as an affiliate, albeit with a slight name change, to UNWTO to distinguish itself from the unpopular World Trade Organization. As Kofi Annan recognized, "Tourism really has the potential of opening up economic space for people around the world. We should encourage tourist developers to go and set up tourist developments," he said pointing out the infrastructure development that comes in their train.
That is not to say that tourism is all wonderful, as anyone who has seen the coasts of Majorca or some parts of the
And then there are international resorts, which at least pay rent, taxes and wages in the resorts, and which more responsibly try to source as much as they can locally. What makes
Allen Chastanet, who used to work with Air
Local cuisine is
So has all this tourism and commercialism degraded the culture and society? Not at all.