Though the Caribbean receives only about five percent of the global tourist trade, it is the region most economically dependent on tourism. This narrow dependence on the highly volatile tourist industry is increasing as the region’s traditional agricultural exports fail, and as the small scale economies of the Caribbean get further mired down in debt, while being unable to compete with the massive engines of globalization - North America, the European Union, China, India and Brazil.  
Jamaica, one of the most indebted countries in the world, is undergoing unprecedented large-scale, mass market, all-inclusive hotel development, as well as the construction of exclusive gated residential schemes and luxury condominiums for non-residents. Casino licenses have been approved, major tourist attractions, another international airport and many more hotels and luxury resorts are in the pipeline. There is a construction boom in both tourist related infrastructure (primarily highways and water delivery systems) and mega-sized hotels built on ecologically sensitive shorelines, often in socially impoverished rural communities which are without such basic amenities as proper schools, health care, housing, sewage treatment, reliable utilities and security.

Jamaica for Sale takes a sharp look at the environmental, economic, and social impacts of tourism, including
* The cumulative impacts of poorly regulated large-scale development on water quality, depleted marine species, and degraded shoreline habitats
* The social impacts of the privatization of the public sphere with the removal of access by Jamaicans to beaches and shoreline
* The social and environmental impacts of uncontrolled development in areas with little to no social and economic infrastructure
* The economic impacts of relying on low-wage, unskilled labour and remittances from Jamaicans abroad as the model for economic development, while promoting an industry that leads to inflation in land and housing prices, and requires the consumption of large amounts of natural resources
* The political, environmental and social impacts of a weak regulatory framework, where environmental laws are many but often outdated and almost never enforced.  
Jamaica for Sale engages with a cross section of Jamaicans: workers who labour for low wages in the tourist industry; small hoteliers and providers of tourism services concerned about the future of the industry; fishermen affected by the increasing development of the coast; citizens alarmed at their exclusion from the beaches and decision making processes that allow for development in their communities; and environmentalists fighting to have the value of the Jamaica’s natural resources recognized.
“This film boldly ventures beyond the idyllic images of an island paradise, depicted in numerous travel brochures and television advertisements, exposing the underbelly of an industry beset by serious social and environmental challenges. Sobering and riveting, this documentary is a must see for all those who love Jamaica and care about creating a sustainable tourism industry.”
Ian Boxill, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Tourism Researcher, UWI Mona, Jamaica
92 minutes/2008/Jamaica/Copyright Vagabond Media & Jamaica Environment Trust
Jamaica for Sale, by Esther Figueroa and Diana McCaulay,
counters the dominant view that tourism is the savior of the Jamaican people. Lively and hard hitting, with powerful voices, arresting visuals and iconic music, Jamaica or Sale documents the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of unsustainable tourism development. As Jamaica is irreversibly transformed by massive hotel and luxury condominium development, Jamaica for Sale both documents this transformation and tries to turn the tide.
 “Through a combination of interviews, archival footage, and coverage of tourism-related events such as work stoppages and communities' meetings with resort developers, Jamaica for Sale presents a compelling portrayal of an industry in crisis, one that is perpetuating a radically uneven distribution of tourism benefits.”
Jenny Burman,  "Transnational Yearnings: Tourism, Migration and Diasporic Culture"
Photo Credit:
Christine O’Sullivan
Ivan Goodbody
Jeremy Francis
A documentary about tourism & unsustainable development