My father is kindly offering us the holiday of a lifetime to experience a caribbean cruise and a disney holiday in 2014. As a family we are very excited about this prospect. When I looked at the stop offs during the cruise and saw the word Haiti, I immediately thought of Paul Merton’s documentary on the cruise he reported on with high fences separating the luxury of the beach from the poverty of the islanders. He ventured outside the fence to meet some of the locals who were actually benefiting from the tourism. Royal Carribbean have funded a school on the island and every time they stop at Haiti they drop off much needed supplies. My feelings about becoming one of the members of the cruise crowd to a developing country still coping with the tragedy of the earthquake 2 years ago is mixed. So, to help my conscience a little, there is the option of donating to the food fund at Haiti during the stay and I am also going to enquire about taking clothing out there to give to the locals. We might as well take something out with us as we are travelling there to help, in a very small way, the community there.
Overall I think travel companies need to do more for the communities they operate in. We are all sharing this world yet there is a terrible unfair distribution of food, wealth, medicine and opportunities. If I find myself as a tourist in a developing country, to enjoy the environment and ignore the poverty is criminal. Tourism agents and companies should give visitors channels to help the countries they are visiting by donations to aid programmes, initiatives or even helping for a few hours or a day. Why not?
Nearer the time I will report on what Royal Carribbean say about donations and taking clothing etc to the communities at ports on the itinerary. I am glad that the company use their visit as a chance to get much needed aid to a country and this initiative should be expanded to more cruise companies and other organisations around the world.
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Thanks for reading.