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The Importance of Travel and Tourism

The Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Mexico and Honduras

Mariah Webb

International College of the Cayman Islands

BE 434

Seminar on Travel and Tourism

Instructor: Melisa Bent-Hamilton

August 31, 2018

The tourism industry is one of the most significant sources of income for many countries,

including the Cayman Islands. Through this course, I was able to truly understand and have a

greater appreciation for the development and maintenance of our globally recognised industry.

However, my admiration for the tourism industry did not stop here. From this experience, I have

also come to appreciate the tourism industry in the Bahamas, Mexico and Honduras. Through

our trip, I was able to learn, gain new experiences, apply my knowledge and accomplish my

personal goals while also having fun.

Travel and Tourism Topic Exploration

Let me start off by saying that I am now an expert on the pricing within the tourism

industry. For this seminar, I focused on chapter six of our course text, The Economics of

Tourism. The title of this chapter is Pricing Tourism Services. Seeing as tourism is a major

industry and source of income for many countries it was interesting to see how the prices of

goods and services within this industry are set. According to Reece (2008), price discrimination

is very important in tourism pricing. Price discrimination from my understanding refers to the

various prices that are paid for the same good or service by consumers. While price

discrimination is practised in the industry, many other factors have to be considered before

setting a price. Firstly, it is important to look at how the price of a good or service can affect the

demand for it. If the price of a product is high, the demand for it will be low. However, if the

price of the product is low, consumers will be demanding a higher quantity of goods.

Furthermore, Leitão (2009) mentions that the price of tourist services can be affected by

many other factors as well. For example, the author explains that the prices in one country can be

drastically different from another due to a different level of inflation. The author mentions that

the higher the inflation rate, the higher the prices that visitors will have to pay in that country.
The Seminar Experience

There are many experiences from this course that have been eye-opening. Not only was

this my first time on a cruise but it was also my first time visiting all of the countries that we

docked at. During this seminar, I would say that I gained the most knowledge during our first

excursion to the University of the Bahamas. Due to me studying accounting I had never really

explored the history of tourism. Initially, I thought that the Tourism industry within the

Caribbean was always a collaborative body. However, from the presentation, I learned that what

we know now as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), was initially created in 1976 but

was not adequately supported until its resurfacing in 1988 (M. McLeod, personal

communication, August 13, 2018). In addition to the presentation at the University of Bahamas, I

was also able to learn about the cultures of many other countries. In my opinion, I believe that

Honduras was the most interactive and culture-based destination during the trip. During our short

time, we were able to hear about how their address goes according to the colour of their house,

their dominant religion and the overall structure and development of the various islands that

make up Honduras. Similarly, our stop to Costa Maya, Mexico, allowed us to explore the

historical meanings and purposes of their structures.

Being on the cruise and visiting the various countries allowed me to gain a lot of

memorable experiences and relate information from our course text to what we were

experiencing first-hand. There were many times during each chapter summary that I was able to

think about how what I was learning from both my chapter and others helped me to understand

the importance as well as the function of tourism. For example, seeing as my section focused

heavily on demand and supply, I was able to look for a situation that everyone could relate to.

This situation was the relationship between the price of the internet provided by the cruise and
the subsequent demand for the internet use. Because this service was so expensive many

individuals in the group opted not to use it. Another aspect from the book that I was able to relate

to was the importance of attractions. As Lisbeth Gratereaux-Alvarez (personal communication,

August 2018) stated, destinations are strongly dependent on the attractions that they offer.

During this seminar, I was most excited about going to Honduras. This excitement was because

of the fact that they provided the most exciting attraction, the Gumbalimba Park. This park

allowed us to participate in ziplining, wildlife encounters and had a wide variety of artefacts on


In my opinion, the most surprising aspect of this course was my ability and the ability of

my colleagues to apply what we had learned to our local economy. It was amazing to see that

even though we left home physically, we were still paying attention to all of the similarities and

differences that our Island had as compared to those that we visited.

Application of the Learning

This course has indeed helped me in both my professional growth and my development

as a student. Before taking this course, I did not really think about the many decisions that have

to be made in the industry. Secondly, I have found that the final project has significantly helped

me with my research and creative skills. Through research, I was able to develop a plan the

construction and operation of a waterpark in Grand Cayman, called Oasis Cayman. This

experience has allowed me to truly see what goes into the development of a business, which

includes financing, marketing, sales and much more. Seeing as I would like to one day become

an entrepreneur, I know that this experience and knowledge will prove to be beneficial in my

Another important takeaway from this course was the opportunity to experience the

various ports. While visiting the ports on our itinerary, I was able to see how their ports

differentiated from ours in Grand Cayman. The one thing that stuck out to me was the fact that

we had to walk a long distance at all of the ports that we visited. Our local port, on the other

hand, allows ships to anchor in a safe zone and uses ferries to make their way to land with

passengers. Based on my experience, I would rather take a boat than walk the distance.

When thinking about the proposed berthing facility in George Town, many people,

including myself, think about the damage to the reef as well as the costly disadvantage of

acquiring such a facility. However, there are others who believe that this project could lead to an

improvement in our tourism industry. According to an article by James Whittaker (2015) of the

Cayman Compass, Premier Alden McLaughlin believes that this new development will allow the

Cayman Islands to not only have a strong presence in the cruise business but will also continue

to provide income for those who work in this industry. Similarly, McElroy (2010) mentions that

having both sufficient affluence and economic modernisation provides tourists with the standards

of service that they expect. Furthermore, the article states that all islands should have adequate

infrastructure if they have a high visitation level. With the recent tourism numbers that have

published, the Cayman Islands does indeed have a high level of visitors coming in and out of the

island, especially by cruise.


One goal that I was unable to accomplish as it relates to my learning was being more

open and social during our trip. During the many excursions, I had several questions that I

wanted to ask. However, due to my personality, I chose not to ask these questions, which has

resulted in me now regretting that I did not take full advantage of the seminar trip. Similarly, I
had made a goal to become more familiar with everyone during this trip. But, as I mentioned

above, I was not able to overcome my shyness. However, I know that I still can achieve this

unfulfilled goal seeing as I and many others from this course are continuing our studies at the

International College of the Cayman Islands.

Summary and Conclusion

Overall, this seminar course has shown me that you can indeed have fun while learning.

From this experience, I am now able to make more informed decisions and am now able to form

my own opinions based on the current events happening in the local tourism industry. If asked, I

would strongly recommend that this course is offered on a regular basis seeing as it gives

students the opportunity to visit multiple countries and also allows them to gain first-hand

experience of various cultures and lifestyles, regardless of the amount of time spent in each


Leitão, N. C. (2009). Portuguese Tourism Demand. Journal of Global Business &

Technology, 5(2), 63-72.

McElroy, J. L., & Parry, C. E. (2010). The characteristics of small island tourist economies.

Tourism & Hospitality Research, 10(4), 315+. Retrieved from


Reece, W. S. (2008). The Economics of Tourism. N.Y.: Pearson.

Whittaker, J. (2015, October 1). Government gives green light to George Town cruise dock.

Retrieved from