Jamaica is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, with cascading waterfalls and lovely beaches. People from all around the world have fallen in love with the island, because of its culture and awesome attractions. Jamaican people are always smiling, as there are so many tasty fruits available and the Reggae music is always playing almost everywhere you go on the island. There is a famous phrase that helps everyone to relax, ‘Jamaica No Problem’. Jamaican people like this phrase a lot, as they know that warm smiles and the beautiful beaches can take all their cares away. When they are busy climbing waterfalls, dancing to the Reggae Beat and rafting on the rivers, it is very easy to forget problems and just create more beautiful memories, as there is nothing in the world that is more important than that.
Most visitors love climbing one of the greatest waterfalls in the world, the Dunn’s River Falls which is found in Ocho Rios, St Ann. This attraction is loved because of its beauty and the activities that take place there. Visitors wear special footwear and hold each other's hands before they are guided along a special path to climb the waterfalls. This is a very special experience, as visitors get a great work-out and have a lot of fun at the same time. Added to this, the view from the top of the falls is very beautiful.
In other parts of the island, there are more waterfalls, caves, great houses, museums, rivers and beaches where visitors can swim with the dolphins, learn about the rich history of the island and enjoy rafting on the river. River tubing and sweeping above the trees on a zip line, have been introduced as other ways to have fun and enjoy vacations; these attractions were recently added.
As cruise ships stop by from time to time, more visitors have been able to visit the island and a lot more hotels have been built. So more attractions have been developed so that visitors can have more places to visit as they enjoy their vacation.
Devon House is one of the most famous attractions in the City of Kingston; it was built by Jamaica's first millionaire of African decent, Mr. George Stiebel. He was the son of an African and a German. Visitors are offered guided tours around the old mansion during the day. It is now home to Jamaica's most famous ice cream and tasty baked products. The Bob Marley Museum is not far from there, and visitors like touring the Museum with guides as they learn all about the life of one of Jamaica's most famous sons. Added to all that, there is a very beautiful Royal Botanical Garden and a zoo further up the road where visitors can see the animals and take photos of the flowering trees and all the other beautiful plants found in the gardens. It is a place where people are able to relax and enjoy nature in a good way.
As a Jamaican, I have been able to enjoy all the great things Jamaica has to offer, and I would like to be able to continue sharing the island with visitors for a long time. But I know that, if the environment is not protected, the beauty will not last. The coral reef has been disappearing, and plastic waste has been littering some of our beaches. I believe this problem can be solved when children are taught about the importance of recycling and tree planting.
When children who are not taught about protecting the environment grow up to be adults who cut down trees, find no time for replanting and also use chemicals that wash down to the sea whenever it rains, this destroys the coral reef. Added to that, they remove the plants that would normally hold the soil together, and this leads to soil erosion. The eroded soil finds its way into the sea whenever the rain falls, and adds to the destruction of the coral reef. This then leads to the washing away of the sand from the shore line and it is moving in as the beaches are disappearing. And the fishermen are now not able to catch a lot of fish as they did before, unless they go far from the shore. This means that they use more fuel – which costs them more, so the price of fish goes up.
The owners of the hotels have been thinking about solving the problem of beach erosion, by looking at ways to replace the coral reef with artificial reef and breakwater barriers to protect the beaches. But if nothing is done to educate the people, so that they will stop doing the things they are doing now, trying to save the beaches might end up costing the owners of the hotels too much.
The Government of Jamaica/Adaptation Fund Program has been implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica. This deals with the effects of global warming and all the problems it has been causing for the environment. They have been having some success as farmers have been learning about water harvesting and soil conservation. And this can lead to less soil erosion and better crop yields for the farmers. However, I still believe that more needs to be done to educate our children, so that they can grow up to be more aware of the things they can do to protect the environment and then they can continue to enjoy the things we enjoy now. I also believe that children who are helped to appreciate all the small things they have around them will be able to become entrepreneurs in the future and develop businesses, so they can employ other people in their communities.
Crime has been another threat to our tourism industry, and the owners of the hotels have been doing their best to protect the tourists, by offering all-inclusive packages so that tourists won't interact with Jamaicans who are not working on their properties. But this has led to more unemployment, as the people who would normally make craft items to sell to the tourists have had no access to their potential customers and so they are unable to grow their businesses and offer employment opportunities to other people in their communities. And over the years, nothing much has been done to find a way to help the local people to earn more from tourism in creative ways.
I would like to see more Jamaican children learning about how they can earn from our vibrant culture and cuisine. There are some Jamaicans who still do some of the wonderful dance moves that the Africans did when they were brought here many years ago - they could be encouraged to dance and sing for our visitors if there could be some more dancing and singing groups formed such as The Jamaican Folk Singers Group.
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission has been doing a good job of keeping our culture alive by having dance and song competitions, but the American culture has been adopted by some Jamaicans. They don't see why it is important for them to protect their own culture. It would be good if more could be done to help Jamaicans to earn from their own culture by encouraging them to form more groups, so they can perform together and earn from their talents when they perform for the tourists.
Jamaicans could also earn from doing business with the Jamaican jerk meat, tasty Jamaican fruits and other treats. These could be produced in large quantities by more Jamaicans, who could find a way to sell to the hotel owners, so more jobs could be created. Then there would be less crime and this could reduce the need for all-inclusive hotels, and the tourists would be able to enjoy more of the island's culture.
I think it would be good if the hotel owners and the Government could find a way to get the tourism industry organized in a better way, so that there can be more hope for the future of tourism in Jamaica. When Jamaican people will be able to benefit more from tourism, this will help them to be more encouraged to do more to protect the environment so that both the visitors and the Jamaican people can continue to benefit from a vibrant tourism industry.