Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Tony Weis

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Godwin Arku



Mass tourism development in the Global South is widely celebrated as a major source of jobs and foreign exchange, but it is also widely criticized for creating spatially and economically segregated enclaves that frequently have negative social, cultural, and environmental impacts. There is a large literature that details both the economic advantages and disadvantages of mass tourism development. However, critiques of mass tourism have done little to reorient the nature of the industry, as countries of the Global South such as Jamaica have generally placed much greater emphasis on the economic performance of the industry than on the associated inequalities. The overarching objective of this dissertation is to examine the ways in which mass tourism developments have supported or adversely affected community development, the living conditions of local residents, and the activities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and fisherfolk. It approaches this by exploring the onset of mass tourism development in Lucea and Falmouth, two small towns on the north coast of Jamaica, where the industry had a relatively small presence until recent developments. In 2008, the largest resort in the country opened in Lucea, and in 2011, the largest cruise ship-oriented harbour-front development opened in Falmouth, developments that have significantly changed the social, economic, and environmental fabric of these two communities.

The empirical basis of this dissertation centres on qualitative interviews with local residents, owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), fisher-folk and enclave employees, which were focused on understanding their perceptions of new opportunities, problems, and challenges, their sense of the planning process, and their responses to the changes that have ensued. Qualitative research is complemented by data from surveys with residents. The ultimate aim is to better understand how local people perceive the costs and benefits associated with the establishment of mass tourism enclaves in their communities, and what they believe could be improved. One of the principal findings of this research is that the residents of Lucea and Falmouth do not believe that the rapid growth of mass tourism has brought widely dispersed benefits to their communities. Rather, these enclaves are broadly perceived as creating limited economic opportunities, apart from mostly low-paying, menial jobs, while transforming space in a negative way, establishing new forms of social segregation and environmental burdens. By taking local perspectives on mass tourism development seriously, this dissertation seeks to provide insights into how some of the exclusionary impacts could be mitigated and how the social and economic relations between communities and enclaves might be enhanced, at the forefront of which is the need to create more meaningful economic opportunities for the local people.