Monday, September 6, 2010

Thoughts on Tourism

*This post is a cross-post from a response I posted in the Zimbabwe Cafe (in the groups section of PulseWire, an aspect of World Pulse). I thought I would post my thoughts here in my blog so I could open the conversation up to others that I am connected with. Please share your thoughts!! As always, Much Peace- Sharese

After living in a country whose main source of income was from tourism (Jamaica) I can tell you that tourism brings a lot of evil along with money. There is much issue with the commoditization of people on multiple levels, the least of which is that very little money generated by tourism is seen by the country the resorts are in (as most resorts are not owned by country nationals) and even less is seen by the people who actually do the work in said resorts. The worst of which is human trafficking and forced sex work. (I say least and worst on my personal scale- others may differ. Regardless, both are terrible and there are many more problems that tourism brings than just these two).

I think that learning about other cultures and promoting your own culture is a beautiful thing- if done right. Unfortunately the learning and living is consistently overshadowed by the almighty dollar. And the true nature of the country is destroyed (literally) in order to build some version of a white person's dream of what "exotic" Southern Africa should look like (you can see this all over the Caribbean).

I am not trying to be a debbie-downer, but I think when we talk about building tourism it is a tricky subject and should not be looked at lightly. With the beautiful beaches people will also shift their gaze to the people and often tourists do not see the people as humans like themselves but instead see them as an attraction- like the beach itself (check out "I live in a Place" posted further down on this blog for a personal feeling of this example) and this, in my opinion is unacceptable.

All of these issues need to be in the discussion of tourism development. Unfortunately up until now they are not. I hope that if Mozambique does decide to go the tourist route it does not turn into a neo-colonial settlement as so many other areas whose main income generation is tourism.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In the news...

The Peace Corps was recently featured in the Jamaican Observer for their work with HIV/AIDS. My artwork even got featured :) Woo who! I am pretty pumped. A lot of volunteers are doing good work and I am happy it is being recognized. Check it out here.

In other news I am working on some pretty great projects myself. I am working on a Teen Sexuality Conference for May as well as working on an art project by the girls in the girls' home to be featured at Kingston on the Edge Urban Art Festival. You can check out that here.

Keep sending good vibes and changing the world where you are!

Peace and Love,