03 April 2014

Posted by Discount Insurance on Thursday, April 03, 2014
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UK charity Tourism concern warns that poorer labour rights and conditions are the price of all-inclusive holidays.

Money-conscious tourists have made the all-inclusive holiday one of tourism’s biggest growth areas. The popularity of trips in which everything is laid on and paid for upfront is rising fast, with demand up by a third in the past decade.

A new report from Tourism Concern to be published later this month will add to fears that the trend is hurting the local people in all-inclusive resort areas who depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Research looking into all-inclusive hotels in Tenerife, Kenya and Barbados found that hotel staff had worse working conditions and labour rights and were subjected to more stress and longer hours than those in other hotels.

All-inclusive resorts have such tight margins, with guests paying very little per room, there’s little left to pay those at the bottom of the supply chain – the hotel workers. Workers at all-inclusive hotels were shown to receive significantly less in tips, a perk on which they are often heavily reliant.

Mark Watson, head of Tourism Concern, said the all-inclusive industry was “stifling businesses outside the enclave and very few benefits are reaching local communities. We are getting reports of tourists being told that their insurance doesn’t cover them if they leave their hotel grounds and sometimes people will barely know where they are, paying to just sit by a pool in the sunshine.”

Industry experts say that the rising popularity of all-inclusive holidays is down to the convenience and cost effectiveness of paying one price for everything upfront, along with the extra security of not having to navigate around a foreign place.

Last year, according to research by TravelSupermarket, the online comparison website, more than one in 10 British holidaymakers went on an all-inclusive trip for their main holiday – one third of all package holidays sold.

One large holiday company, First Choice, now sells only all-inclusive breaks.

However, this latest report from the ethical tourism charity comes amid other research which suggests that communities suffer from the enclosed style of an all-inclusive resort.

Complete with their own bars, restaurants and entertainment venues, the resorts leave guests with little or no incentive to go anywhere else, whether that be to eat in local restaurants, visit local nightclubs or pay entry fees to local attractions or hire local guides or drivers. The tour companies – few of which are owned locally – pocket most of the spending money.

Tourists also use vast quantities of resources – energy and water in particular – and create significantly more waste than local people.

Tourism Concern agreed that the resorts do bring in jobs, albeit low-paid, short-contract ones that provide little job security.

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