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Development of large hotels in the Caribbean

The effects the development of large hotels has on the Caribbean environment.

Introduction

In the Caribbean, the development of large hotels has had both positive and negative
effects on the environment. It has been posited that the quality of the environment, whether
natural and man made, is extremely essential to the Tourism Industry. However, the relationship
of tourism with the environment is very complex. This complexity arises as it involves activities
that can have adverse environmental effects for example, the sewage from large hotels can be a
source of pollution if it is not treated and disposed of carefully. Also, the construction of these
large hotels can result in soil erosion, changes in water runoff, and damage to the natural
environments.
On the other hand, sound environmental management of hotel development can increase
benefits to natural areas. However, this requires careful planning for controlled development,
based on analysis of the environmental resources of the area. Once planning early for hotel
development is undertaken, damaging and expensive mistakes can be prevented, thereby
avoiding the gradual deterioration of environmental assets significant to tourism. Therefore the

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


significance of study is to assess the extent to which the development of large hotels has
benefited the Caribbean environment and the consequences which arise from such development.
This literature review is focused on analysing the effects of hotel development on the
Caribbean environment.
This is possible by exploring the following:
1. What implications does the development of large hotels have on the Caribbean
environment?
2. How can the negative impacts of hotel development on these environments be
minimized?
3. What are the other factors that contribute to the destruction of the environment?
4. What Methods are implemented to protect the environment during the development
of hotel infrastructures?
5. What are the benefits of the development of large hotels on the Caribbean
environment?
What implications does the development of large hotels have on the Caribbean
environment?
The quality of the environment, both natural and man made, is essential to tourism.
However, tourisms relationship with the environment is complex. It involves activities that can
have adverse environmental effects. Many of these impacts are linked with the construction of
general infrastructure such as roads and airports, and of tourism facilities, including resorts,
hotels, restaurants, shops, golf courses and marinas. The negative impacts of tourism
development can gradually destroy the environmental resources on which it depends.

The

sewage from large hotels can be a source of pollution if it is not treated and disposed of carefully.
Most hotel projects include waste water treatment plants, but these can be difficult to maintain in

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


the islands and need to be monitored regularly. Tourist facilities also produce large amounts of
solid waste which can add to the existing solid waste disposal problems on many islands (Dahl,
1980).
Manning (2006) held the view that some resort towns have exceeded the level of
development recommended by the Tourism Ministry, raising the fears among environmentalist
and officials that the infrastructure is coming under strain. The construction of these large hotels
have similar impacts as construction projects, such as soil erosion, changes in water runoff, and
damage to natural environments. If the resort is on the coast, the building of harbour and
improvement of the beach are required. These may affect normal coastal processes. Coastal
hotels too are exposed to storm damage, erosion and many other environmental factors which
have to be taken with much consideration.
On the other hand, tourism has the potential to create beneficial effects on the
environment by contributing to environmental protection and conservation. It is a way to raise
awareness of environmental values and it can serve as a tool to finance protection of natural
areas and increase their economic importance. (United Nations Environment Programme, 2001)
The use of comprehensive planning, with the support of the owners, can protect these resources
from degradation and destruction. There is increasing motivation from both the private and
public sectors to invest in making tourism more sustainable (United Nations Environment
Programme, 2001).
What are the other factors that contribution to the destruction of the environment?
In Jamaica, other than the development of large hotels, there are other factors that affect
the destruction of the environment, such as: Farming, Bauxite mining, deforestation and oil and

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


toxins from restaurants, factories and other business places. This is so, due to the fact that the
public do not pay much emphasis on these factors until the issues get worse and there is little or
no solution.
Farming is important in Jamaica as we provide food for our people and other countries.
Farming is an activity done by farmers to raise livestock and grow crops. To get crops looking
beautiful and nourishing, farmers use fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals. There chemical
substances are harmful to the environment as they run down into the rivers and streams which
create eutrophication which is the process by which a body of water is enriched with high form
of inorganic nutrients. When these nutrients enters the water, algae is formed which blocks the
sunlight and kills all the living organisms in the ecosystem, thus limiting the Tourist Attractions
and declining in fishing, not only for fishermen to catch fish and sell but also to provide food for
his household and public. In addition, if the coral reefs are destroyed by the algae, there wont be
anything to prevent strong high tides from natural disasters from destroying buildings on land.
Even though the industry helps the country by providing goods and services, the
chemicals used in the manufacturing process is toxic to the environment. These chemicals from
factories and other businesses enter the air and pollute it. Industrial and motor vehicle emissions
of nitrogen and sulphur oxides cause acid rain, which poisons fish and other aquatic organisms in
rivers and lakes and affects the ability of soil to support plants. Carbon dioxide causes the
greenhouse effect and climate change. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) cause the destruction of
ozone in the stratosphere and create the possibility of serious environmental damage from
ultraviolent radiation. (Chemicals, n.d.).

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


Bauxite is a rock that is extracted to produce aluminium. It is the most important mineral
occurring here. Bauxite is one of Jamaicas main means of the countrys economy. However,
bauxite mining has negative impact on the environment. The caustic fumes damage the lungs of
persons, fruit trees and rooftops. According to Espeut (2013) Caustic soda is the essential
chemical used in the extraction of alumina from bauxite ore. The price we pay for having a
bauxite-alumina industry is caustic fumes damaging fruit trees, rooftops, clothes hanging on the
line, and our lungs. Alumina companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars compensating
householders for damage to property and self. (Jamaica Observer, 2013). The disposal of the
tailings is an issue, whereas it forms alkaline mud. These muds are said to be lined to prevent
caustic soda contamination but instead this substance has leaked into the water supply and other
water bodies. With the Jamaican citizens being affected, the government now spends on
compensating them for illnesses caused. Also while loading the alumina on the ships, the
substance tend to spill in the sea which cause harm to the coral reefs and other existing aquatic
creature.
The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more
room for planting crops or grazing livestock however is affecting the environment in which we
live. Such impacts are: The Destruction of Mangroves, Challenges to wildlife and contributing to
severe Global Warming. In Jamaica, National Planning and Environment Agency approve for
hotels to build along the coasts, which will increase the tourism sector, but it destroys the
mangroves which were growing there. Mangroves act as a barrier along the shoreline to protect
the inland structures, so it prevents high tidal waves and water movement. Now that these are
removed Jamaicas shoreline is prone to inland destruction. Secondly, wildlife species are
endangered as people cut down the trees from the forest, thus forcing various species to relocate

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


from their natural habitat, which leads to them becoming extinct. According to Raynor (2012) in
terms of the protection of our wildlife, we havent done very well. The iguana [for example], is
the most endangered lizard in the world and is on the verge of extinction because its last known
habitat, the Hellshire hills, is gazetted for development by the (Jamaica Observer, 2012). Lastly,
trees help with Global warming as they absorb the greenhouse gases emitted in the air. When
trees are cut down to save us from the extreme heat and skin disorders, the tree cutters are
increasing the amount of gases entering the atmosphere.
How can the negative impacts of hotel development on the environment be minimized?
Tourism is an important sector to any country for the development of their economy.
However, the developments of hotels are directly related to the environment as its activities can
have adverse environmental effects. Sunlu (2003) concludes in his research that the quality of the
environment, both natural and man-made is essential to tourism. In such a case as a nation we
cannot allow the development of hotels to deplete our natural environment. Many of these
impacts are linked with the construction of general infrastructure such as tourism facilities,
including resorts, hotels, restaurants, golf courses and marinas. The negative impacts of hotel
development can gradually destroy environmental resources on which it depends. On the other
hand, tourism has the potential to create beneficial effects on the environment by contributing to
environmental protection and conservation by the minimization of the hazardous activities.
Gartner (2002) research suggested that for sustainable tourism to occur, it must be closely
integrated with regulatory bodies and all other activities that occur in the host region. There are
existing initiatives within the tourism industry to minimize the impacts however, they have
somewhat been proven to be ineffective. An auditor general report (2010) stated that a study

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


identified that NEPA's business processes and management practices are in need of revision if it
is to achieve its mission to ensure protection of the environment and that Jamaica's natural
resources are being used in a sustainable way. The study also stated that NEPA does not have a
proactive strategy towards the protection of the environment. Therefore, further potential
improvements can be made and these should include voluntary efforts by industry sectors and
government initiatives; developers should have the initiatives to design and build tourist
infrastructure with minimal impact on the environment, and non-profit organizations can espouse
environmentally friendly ethics amongst hoteliers.
There are existing tourist infrastructures that were created to minimize environmental
impact and incorporate local peoples needs. Maho Bay Camps and Harmony Resort located in
the Virgin Islands are two of the best known and successful eco-resorts (Honey, 1999). We can
therefore see that the negative impacts from hotel development can be reduced by building ecoresorts which are intended to have a minimal impact on the local environment. Also using
wooden walk ways minimize soil erosion and vegetation damage from trampling. Honey (1999)
study showed that communal toilets and capture drain water reduce water usage, and reliance on
solar and wind power along with computer monitoring of electricity and water use help reduce
energy use. McIntosh & Goeldner (1990) suggested, to reduce the negative environmental
impacts developers should not only base their development solely on economics; planners should
first determine the needs of the local environment and people, and then design the area
accordingly.
Sound environmental management of hotel development can increase benefits to natural
areas, but this requires careful planning for controlled development, based on analysis of the
environmental resources of the area. By planning early for hotel development, damaging and

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


expensive mistakes can be prevented, avoiding the gradual deterioration of environmental assets
significant to tourism. Cleaner production techniques can be important tools for planning and
operating tourism facilities in a way that minimizes their environmental impacts. For example,
green building which is using energy-efficient and non-polluting construction materials, sewage
systems and energy sources is an increasingly important way for the tourism industry to decrease
its impact on the environment. Additionally waste treatment and disposal are often major longterm environmental problems in the tourism industry, pollution prevention and waste
minimization techniques are especially important for the tourism industry (WTO, 1995).
Regulatory measures help control negative impacts; for instance, constraint can be placed
on the location of the development and also the land use and zoning which can limit impacts on
the ecosystem and help maintain the integrity and vitality of the site. Such limits can also reduce
the negative impacts on resources.
In today's world where we are at risk of losing our natural resources, as a result all hotels
need to adopt a policy of conservation and sustainability. Properties should be constructed and
managed in a manner that preserves and enhances the environment while serving the publics
interest.
What Methods are implemented to protect the environment during the development of
hotel infrastructures?
Several hotels around the world have implemented creative cost saving initiatives to
reduce their impact on the environment. Hotel development in Jamaica is one way of sustaining
the economic environment and increase economic growth through tourism. However, the natural
environment and all its components should be protected in the best possible way in the interest of
the Jamaican citizens. As many tourists travel to experience the natural habitats within which the

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


hotels operate, it is imperative that hotels focus on conserving the resources that sustain them. By
the year 2025, the Earth could lose as many as one-fifth of all species known to exist today.
Several hotels have been doing their part to conserve the natural environment and protect
species.
It is a current issue around the globe, where water tables are falling, underground aquifers
are being depleted, lakes are shrinking and wetlands are drying up. Water conservation is
necessary in all areas of the world. It is estimated that up to 50% of the water that families used
could be saved by implementing simple conservation methods. The savings in energy and
sewage treatment costs would all add up. Several hotels have implemented water saving
initiatives. The hotel industry can reduce the amount of waste produced by implementing and
following a waste management system that is modelled around the concepts of reduce, reuse and
recycle (Greenhotelier, 2004). Approximately 54 percent of a hotel's solid waste can either be
recycled or reused (Alexander 2002). A study by Bohdanowicz (2005) identified that "a large
proportion (50-60 percent) of the waste materials in an accommodation facility can be recycled
or reused."
Hotels have the ability to buy in bulk and to influence the supplier to provide less
packaging and use more environmentally friendly materials. Many countries such as Austria and
Finland require suppliers to take back and reuse or recycle their packaging waste. A hotel can
help reduce hazardous waste generation by making an effort to only purchase environmentallyfriendly products. Purchasing locally all items and services, will also reduce the impact on the
environment and benefit the community. Hotels can purchase and use biodegradable cleaning
products, and purchase certified organic produce and products.

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


In order to protect the environment, Environment Management system has been
implemented by hotels locally as well as worldwide. Steger (2000) defined an EMS as a
transparent and systematic process, known corporate-wide, with the purpose of prescribing and
implementing environmental goals, policies and responsibilities, as well as a regular auditing of
its elements. Almost all hotels have implemented their in-house EMS or used efforts on
protecting the environment in hotels with varying degrees of intensity in the past few decades
(Stipanuk, 1996). A survey found that the major benefit of environmental management was the
improvement in public image and better relationship with the local community (Chan, 2008).
Some EMS methods used within the hotel industry comprises of Environment Audit, in
recent years, hotel companies are increasingly being evaluated by the degree of their
environmental and social commitment and achievements rather than only by their financial
performance. In this context, industry benchmarking is gaining attention and continuing to
develop (Wber, 2001). Performing an audit is the first step in facility performance evaluation.
The number of environmental reporting tools for hotels has been developed by international
environmental organizations, branch associations and even hotel corporations. The various
schemes differ with regard to geographical/climatic areas covered, types of hotel facilities
included, detail of environmental information required, benchmarking methods, user-friendliness
and implementation cost. They all, however, aim at helping hotel managers in evaluating hotel
performance from an environmental perspective, and, generally, offer solutions based on the data
collected. In this paper, four reporting and benchmarking schemes (three of them Internet-based)
will be presented and compared, followed by a discussion of their relevance and usefulness for
the hotel sector.

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


What are the benefits of the development of large hotel on the economic environment?
The development of large hotels plays an important part to a countrys economic
environment in many ways whether by contributing to the countrys gross domestic product
(GDP), creating job opportunities or could cause a better standard of living.
Firstly, large hotels contribute to the country GDP as tourists who usually stay in these
hotels will spend their money on local products and services. This could be seen as according to
the World Bank country study the GDP in the hotels, restaurants and club sector has grown 2.6
percent annually over 1991-2001. It further stated that its shares in GDP have gone up from 8
to 10 percent over the period. So the hotels play a part in the countrys growth in GDP.
Secondly, large hotels help in the creation of job opportunities for the local citizens.
According to Outback tourism is a labour-intensive industry and creates more job opportunities
encouraging young people to stay in local communities. People would be able to work either
within the hotels and assist the tourist or they could work as tour guides in the tourism industry.
The trainers for hotels will provide the necessary training the staff will need to fill these jobs that
would be opening for the citizens of the community the hotel is located or people wishing to be
employed there. Furthermore, large hotels could help to better the standards of living for a
countrys citizens as when it contributes to the countrys GDP and job opportunities, not only
will the government generate more money for the country but the persons who are employed will
be able to better their life as they are now acquiring an income.
Even though the large hotels benefit the countrys economic environment some may
argue that it is doing many negative things to the environment. According to UNEP, tourism
could cause depletion of natural resources like the water resources as it would cause an overuse

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean


of our fresh water and also our land resources such as energy, food and other raw materials. It
could also cause land degradation as the construction of these hotels would destroy our wetlands,
fossil fuels, forests and wildlife just to construct these buildings and the development of these
large hotels could cause pollution whether air, water or noise.

Conclusion
The development of large hotels has a mixture of benefits and impacts on the
environment. If the development is unplanned, it can have serious social and environmental
impacts while providing little real economic benefit. On the other hand, if the developments are
carefully planned, it can bring about many advantages to the local community and its
environment.
Tourism creates catastrophe situation all over the world and this collapse condition can
extinguish regional collaboration and communication. Everybody should be conscious about the
negative impact of tourism and hotel development and take the proper steps to lessen the
problem especially each government of each country and international authority in regarding of
tourism industry.
A gap that was found when conducting this review was that some of the literature was
bias for they only spoke about the negatives of hotel development. They also did not explore
other causes that damage the environment. We recommend that future researchers focus their
efforts on exploring whether or not the regulatory bodies are effective in implementing measures
to sustain the environment.

Development of large hotels in the Caribbean

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