Jamaica has one of the richest cultures in the world. Imagine speaking a language that sounds like music, creating an entire genre of sound, utilizing one of the most diverse agricultural ecosystems on the planet, and having one of the most recognized cuisines in the world. Now imagine not having access to the profit that is created when people come to your home to experience your culture first hand.
As I have travelled throughout the world I have recognized that this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Tourism leakage is a problem facing many emerging markets where the citizens of the country do not benefit from the majority of income generated from tourism in their country. This problem is only going to become more important because the tourism market is a trillion dollar business making up 9% of GDP worldwide and is projected to grow for the next 30 years. Emerging markets are going to be an essential part of that growth. In fact, growth in emerging markets is projected to be double that of established markets such as America and Europe.
For Jamaica the problem starts with how they arrive in the country. There are no domestically owned airlines or cruise ships. The problem is then exacerbated by the all inclusive resorts which aren’t nationally owned. Currently 88% of hotels rooms booked in Jamaica are at all inclusive resorts. In addition to that, many tourists are afraid to leave these resorts because of the perception of safety conditions which has translated into them spending less than half of their budget outside of the resorts.
Woolery Kitchen aims to attack the leakage problem in Jamaica one community at a time, by providing tourists with access to local and authentic culture.
More on “leakage”…
The leakage effect is a concept within the study of tourism. The term refers to the way in which revenue generated by tourism is lost to other countries’ economies. Leakage may be so significant in some developing countries that it partially neutralizes the money generated by tourism.
Export leakage occurs when Multinational corporations and large foreign businesses have a substantial share in the import leakage. Often, especially in poor developing destinations, they are the only ones that possess the necessary capital to invest in the construction of tourism infrastructure and facilities. As a consequence of this, an export leakage arises when overseas investors who finance the resorts and hotels take their profits back to their country of origin.