The international airlines (American, KLM, British Air, Air France) that bring visitors to the Caribbean are also foreign owned. The small, underequipped, state-owned regional Caribbean airlines, notes Polly Pattullo (1996), have never had the capacity or marketing to compete overseas. The foreign carriers, based in New York, London and Pans, can influence which destinations get the most traffic by availability of seats, price, and schedules. It was a blow to Trinidad, for example, when British Airways withdrew direct flights to Port of Spain in 1994.
6 In a pattern referred to as vertical integration, airline, tour company, and hotel chains may be owned by the same overseas firm. Such firms retain many of the profits, thereby reducing the economic gains of the Caribbean countries (Chambers 2000). The worst is the all-inclusive package holiday, in which travelers make a single payment in advance (to the New York, London, or Paris office) that covers airfare, accommodation, ( food, and services (and sometimes even tips).
7 With all-inclusives, much of the foreign exchange never reaches the Caribbean. Tourists at all-inclusive resorts have no need to eat out at locally owned restaurants, rent watersports gear from local entrepreneurs, or arrange island tours with local taxis. Having already paid for their holiday at home, they act as if they left their wallets there, too. The impact on local businesses dependent upon a tourist clientele is devastating. I witnessed most of the small restaurants in Speightstown, Barbados, shut down after a nearby large resort became all-inclusive. Many locals who are positive about tourism are deeply resentful of the all-inclusives. Since the late 1980s, eleven of Barbados large hotels have gone all-inclusive, and several more are planning to
8 Leakage also happens because Caribbean islands do not have the facilities or the means to produce the kinds of goods required by visitors, especially luxury items for the upscale traveler; hence, much of the food, furnishings, and equipment for tourism must be imported. Polly Pattullo (1996) reports that the Caribbean has a miserable record for attempting to supply its tourism sector from local and regional goods and services. The foreign management of most Barbadian hotels, for example, contributes to leakage by serving their guests a European menu which relies heavily on imported foods. In the dining rooms of Caribbean hotels, where millions of meals are consumed daily, why are tourists not served more mangos, breadfruit, citrus, and bananas grown locally? asks Pattullo. A few countries such as Jamaica and Dominica have succeeded in putting more locali products on the tourist’s dining tables, but they are the exception.
9 The leakage of profits is greatest in upscale, or first-class, tourist facilities such as the west coast hotels of Barbados. With rooms going from $400 per night, the guests require many goods expected with high-cost accommodations, which must be imported. While the gross receipts of these luxury hotels are high, the amount of money that stays on the island is low. Conversely, low-end, or backpacker, tourism relies more on local products and has less leakage.
10 In the Caribbean, on average, for every dollar earned in foreign exchange, seventy cents is lost overseas-the antithesis of the Pan Am press release that predicted 80 percent of every dollar earned would stay at home. Sadly, this drain of hard-earned foreign exchange is one of the distinctive characteristics of the Caribbean tourism industry (Pattullo 1996). And tourism profits that remain on the island are not distributed equally among all citizens but go disproportionately into the hands of local elites who have invested in hotels, restaurants, and other tourism attractions and facilities. While all citizens of island destinations must put up with the negative impacts of tourism, only some share in its profits.
11 Tourism development has also meant inflation in food and land prices, irritating locals. Land for the construction of hotels, marinas, and other tourist facilities commonly sells for more than the current local price. It thereby inflates the price of land in general, putting it out of reach of most local people, especially for property near the sea. The cost of land is also driven up when individual tourists buy vacation homes and cottages. On many islands, locals can no longer afford to live along their own coastline.
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