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Author Topic: Ethics of tourism in Haiti
Gaoics79
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Royal Caribbean to Continue Cruises to Haiti

This is one of those perplexing ethical questions that doesn't seem to have a right answer. Or at least, the right answer doesn't feel intuitively correct.

On one hand, there is something obscene about vacationing in Haiti on a private resort while people are dying just miles away.

On the other hand, tourism is pretty much the only economic lifeline these people have. Boycotting Haiti will only damage the local economy more and cause it to spiral even faster into oblivion.

While touring in Haiti on a private beach will not hurt the locals at all in any objective way, not doing so can and probably will lead to even more death and suffering.

Now some of the people commenting on the story say "for shame, you should be spending the money you were going to spend on the cruise on charity instead". I suppose this is a valid point on some idealist pie in the sky level, but we all know that if people cancel their cruises they are not going to donate that $3,000 or $4,000 to Haiti instead. Charity, while warm and fuzzy, is not going to compensate for that lost tourism.

Thinking about this clearly, I think that the people who are outraged and demanding that Royal Caribbean should cancel its cruises are the selfish ones. They are putting their own feelings of outrage ahead of the actual good of the people they purport to care about. What they are proposing would literally take food out of the mouths of Haitians. I'd even go so far, at this point, to say that it is outright unethical to cancel a trip to Haiti or to demand that others do so.

I think it is fair to feel uncomfortable about visiting Haiti, but succumbing to this discomfort is itself a form of selfishness. The selfless thing to do, ironically, is to take that cruise to Haiti in spite of your feelings.

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G2
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G2 says take that cruise, they need all the business they can get. But don't just hang around out the beach or resort. Take a care package or two along you can give somebody - gotta be a list out there somewhere of things that would be potentially life saving. Go out and spend at least a few hours helping out even If all you do is help move some rubble. That cruise ship is going to spend only a few hours there, maybe overnight. That's still enough time to help and if Royal Caribbean is smart, they'll help their passengers find ways to help. Could be a very rewarding "vacation" that makes a difference.

[ January 21, 2010, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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Al Wessex
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I know a hospital nurse who is taking a pre-planned trip to the Dominican Republic tomorrow. She tried to find out about ways she could help and was summarily told to stay away from Haiti. Things right now are so chaotic that undisciplined or unmanaged help may hurt, no matter how good the intentions.

I hope it doesn't sound heartless to say that those people should take their close-by adventures but stay out of the way. I heard Bill Clinton say on the radio the other day that giving money is a good idea, but giving goods will only complicate the supply mission.

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Colin JM0397
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We ought to step up the cruises and vacation packages. Most other Caribbean nations get by on the tourist dollar.

The people bitching against this are probably the same who would shut down that Nike factory in China for paying the locals a "slave labor" and making them the highest paid people in that town. They'll shut down the factory, dooming the people to continued 3rd world living, and celebrate the victory against the capitalist fat cats.

I would feel kind of weird about it, but wouldn’t cancel if I was already going. On that note, I won’t ever take a cruise to a place with such income disparity where armed guards keep the locals away. OOTH, as Jason said, it’s those very beaches and resorts that help the local economy – somewhat help. I doubt the locals get much out of it other than their daily wages. Most of that cash gets shipped right back to the US, European, or Saudi owners of those resorts, so it’s not like staying there makes you a good person for helping out the poor Haitians.

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bringer
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Any vacation, tour of duty, or business trip to any undeveloped nation should budget for contributions to locals. One third of what you spend on yourself is a target. It may be taken from you anyway.
Watch for con games. Ask locals if that dirty little girl has a sick mom or not. Tip the waiter a little extra to step out and put some pesos in the blind guy's hat.

Anybody acting nice is suspect. You've probably flashed to much green and are now a 'mark'. Good people growl.

But

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scifibum
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Oh, goody. Now with dramatic cliffhangers.

I tend to agree with you jason.

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Michelle
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I'm stating on my own, (because I can't agree with G2, til he stops talking about himself in the third person.)

I think that the tours have to go on.


Whale migration is at the height of season, Jan-March around the Dominican Republic. It would be like canceling the Cherry Blossom Festival season in Washington DC. Too many livelihoods count on the next couple months.

[ January 21, 2010, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: Michelle ]

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Clark
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I heard the CEO (or someone like that) of Royal Caribbean on NPR. He made most of the positive points presented in that article. They are bringing in supplies to donate with each boat that arrives, and the tourism dollars are certainly needed now more than ever in Haiti. At a time like this it is also likely that tourists would be more generous with tips or spare change to people on the street than ever before. Finally, he pointed out that Royal Caribbean's 50 million dollar investment is it's facilities in Haiti are the largest single foreign investment in the entire country. As poor as things have been in Haiti for a long time now, they've be much worse off without the cruise ships.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
G2 says take that cruise, they need all the business they can get. But don't just hang around out the beach or resort. Take a care package or two along you can give somebody - gotta be a list out there somewhere of things that would be potentially life saving. Go out and spend at least a few hours helping out even If all you do is help move some rubble. That cruise ship is going to spend only a few hours there, maybe overnight. That's still enough time to help and if Royal Caribbean is smart, they'll help their passengers find ways to help. Could be a very rewarding "vacation" that makes a difference.

The only problem I see with what you said is that you said it before I was able to post exactly the same thing.

Maybe we should back slowly away from this so that no fundamental universal laws are broken, or anything like that.

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msquared
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Pyr and G2 are our new Pete and Ev.

msquared

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JWatts
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I'm completely subject to bias, since I own a little RCL stock.

That being said, I still think the cruise ships are going to be a big net benefit to the nation. Every cruise ship visit probably accounts for a significant portion of that ports yearly income.

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Colin JM0397
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Speaking of Haiti, sounds like the same idiots who were reporting all the rapes and roving bands of thugs in New Orleans are doing the same again:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/20/haiti-aid-agency-security
quote:
As a member of the media covering the tragedy in Haiti, it's with a sense of alarm and astonishment that I've witnessed how some senior aid officials have argued for withholding aid of the utmost urgency because of sensational claims about violence and insecurity, which appear to be based more on fantasy than reality...

...From what I've observed, such chilling claims do not match the reality on the ground; and by trumpeting a distorted and sensational picture about the violence, some senior aid officials may be culpable of undermining the very aid effort they are supposed to be promoting. When I traveled into Haiti's disaster zone last week from the Dominican Republic, I did so alone and on a bus, whose passengers were mostly Haitians, including some living in the US. Since then, whether on the road to Port-au-Prince or within the city, I have not witnessed anyone wielding a gun, a machete or a club of any kind. Nor have I witnessed an act of violence. (I have seen one badly wounded man who had been shot in circumstances which were unclear and who was eventually rescued by US soldiers after an American reporter sought help.)

Any violence is localised and sporadic; the situation is desperate yet not dangerous in general. Crucially, it's not a war zone; it's a disaster zone – and there appears to have been little attempt to distinguish carefully between destructive acts of criminality and the behaviour of starving people helping themselves to what they can forage. For Haitians and many of those trying to help them, the overriding sentiment is that a massive catastrophe on this scale shouldn't have to wait for aid because blanket security is the absolute priority...


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0Megabyte
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Everyone pretty much agreeing here. How strange. Perhaps... perhaps we're ALL wrong?

Actually, that's silly. We can all be right for once.

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edgmatt
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Well the only real controversy is everyone's initial feelings towards the situation. Once you get past that, and you see that Haiti benefits from the tourists, that feeling is washed away by reason and logic. I consider nearly everyone here to be reasonable and logical to some degree, so it's not surprising that everyone agrees.
[Smile]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
Speaking of Haiti, sounds like the same idiots who were reporting all the rapes and roving bands of thugs in New Orleans are doing the same again:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/20/haiti-aid-agency-security
quote:
As a member of the media covering the tragedy in Haiti, it's with a sense of alarm and astonishment that I've witnessed how some senior aid officials have argued for withholding aid of the utmost urgency because of sensational claims about violence and insecurity, which appear to be based more on fantasy than reality...

...From what I've observed, such chilling claims do not match the reality on the ground; and by trumpeting a distorted and sensational picture about the violence, some senior aid officials may be culpable of undermining the very aid effort they are supposed to be promoting. When I traveled into Haiti's disaster zone last week from the Dominican Republic, I did so alone and on a bus, whose passengers were mostly Haitians, including some living in the US. Since then, whether on the road to Port-au-Prince or within the city, I have not witnessed anyone wielding a gun, a machete or a club of any kind. Nor have I witnessed an act of violence. (I have seen one badly wounded man who had been shot in circumstances which were unclear and who was eventually rescued by US soldiers after an American reporter sought help.)

Any violence is localised and sporadic; the situation is desperate yet not dangerous in general. Crucially, it's not a war zone; it's a disaster zone – and there appears to have been little attempt to distinguish carefully between destructive acts of criminality and the behaviour of starving people helping themselves to what they can forage. For Haitians and many of those trying to help them, the overriding sentiment is that a massive catastrophe on this scale shouldn't have to wait for aid because blanket security is the absolute priority...


Not a war zone? No Machetes in the streets? In Haiti? Did the earthquake change that?

[ January 23, 2010, 05:39 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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Sensationalizing Haiti
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Pete at Home
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That article has absolutely nothing to do with "sensationalizing" systemic violence in Haiti. Obviously an earthquake is no one's fault, and obviously those with money to spare should spread some around to those in need. But at no point does the article pretend that violence in Haiti has been "sensationalized." When the country's actual leader glorifies public torture of opponents, something stimks worse than burning tires. My dad went there on a humanitarian mission last year and I was seriously worried for his safety. Proud of him for doing it, though.
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Pete at Home
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How painful to see the sanctimonious twit accusing a Jewish writer of being a member of the "Christian Right." And you have to love these folks that think that tolerance is something you can beat into people.
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kenmeer livermaile
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JudeoXtian right.
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Pete at Home
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Gee, do they have a website somewhere, Kenmeer?
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kenmeer livermaile
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I'm sure they have several hundred, at least.
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Pete at Home
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Then link me.

[ January 24, 2010, 06:12 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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Cap'n, I'm givin' her all she's got! The dilithium crystals are melting! The Heisenberg compensators are about to go Schrodinger!

You take your irrelevant detours rather seriously, don;t you?

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Pete at Home
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Are you even dimly aware that in the last 48 hours, you've committed every single offense on this board that you've ever accused me of?
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kenmeer livermaile
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No. This unawareness is probably due to my preference to register empirical input rather than imagination when addressing consensual reality.

But feel offended an it please ye. I think you should be happy I'm paying attention to you, but that's just me, of course.

SOme things appear to never end. Here's one.

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Pete at Home
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"But feel offended "

I don't, pumpkin. Immitation is the finest form of flattery. And it's simply adorable when you post that link, and accuse me of a side-track when I discuss it.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Then it's all good. You even called me pumpkin, and feel emulated. Love is everywhere!
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bringer
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A hat tip to Israel. Even if they don't get one from SCOTUS.

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/01/obama_slights_israeli_efforts.html

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Colin JM0397
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More on this; not very complementary of Royal Caribbean or fat, rich Americans in general: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/202150-Let-them-eat-mudcake-Cruise-ship-docks-at-its-trademarked-private-fantasy-island-of-Labadee-in-Haiti
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Marty Peretz catches Obama editing Israel out of the list of countries assisting in Haiti. "The fact is that, next to our country, Israel sent the largest contingent of trained rescue workers, doctors, and other medical personnel. ...
Is that true? What a chump.
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Colin JM0397
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Understanding Haiti - very good interview. Total of about 25 minutes with the 3 parts:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkDBS9eawok&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebm4IMCLYDU&feature=player_embedded#
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMhIAy52fCI&feature=related

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