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Open Access Tourism's intimate economies

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Tourism's intimate economies

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image of New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

[First paragraph]What’s Love Got To Do with It? Transnational Desires and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic. Denise Brennan. Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2004. ix + 280 pp. (Paper US$ 21.95)Behind the Smile: The Working Lives of Caribbean Tourism. George Gmelch. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003. x + 212 pp. (Paper US$ 19.95)New research on Caribbean tourism solidly locates it within the regional shift from “incentive-induced exports” like bananas to “service-based exports” like data processing, offshore finance, and novel forms of mass tourism (Mullings 2004:294; Duval 2004). Earlier studies may have made mention of the similarities between plantation economies and tourism development, but new models like the all-inclusive resort demonstrate a near identity of form and structure with plantation systems: foreign dominance over ownership and profit leaves little multiplier effect for the Caribbean islands playing host to enclaved resorts. Agricultural exports have been in free fall since the end of preferential trade protocols, and export manufacturing after the North American Free Trade Agreement is in steep decline. If new service economies seemed to offer a solution to economic and social disorder, the reaction to the events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated the fragility of service-based exports and, in particular, of new kinds of tourism. It took four years for international tourism to rebound to pre-9/11 levels;1 with the perceived threat of SARS and avian flu, as well as the Iraq war and the weak U.S. dollar, official projections of the industry’s near future are “cautiously optimistic.”2

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