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All-inclusive Hotels & the Local Economy

I’m always very worried when I read about hotels turning completely all-inclusive.
A few years ago we stayed in a hotel complex on a Greek island. I won’t tell you which one. It had changed ownership and just turned all-inclusive fairly recently. The effects of it had begun almost at once.
bathing-pool-beryl-cookIn every direction for several miles there were rows of empty, shut-down shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bars. The hotel had forced them out of business.
Most of the tourists never left the hotel complex. They started drinking as soon as the poolside bar opened at 10am and spent the whole day by the pool, eating hot dogs and slices of pizza. They were determined to get their money’s-worth. And some of them were nervous about venturing too far outside the hotel on their own when they can’t speak the language. They were also nervous about missing their all-inclusive meals!
We hired a car and went out every day. I can’s see the point in visiting a foreign country if you don’t explore it!
Up the road was a restaurant with a huge swimming-pool. You could buy a drink and then use the pool. There were no customers. It was of course great for us, having the place to ourselves!
They told me that they used to be busy all the time, day and night, until the hotel went all-inclusive. Now they were making a loss and they didn’t know how much longer they could keep going. And then, typically Greek, they wouldn’t take any payment for our drinks!
Down on the beach there were closed-down bars in each direction. The one open bar was empty, with the family sat around a table, watching the TV.
The Holiday Company that turned all-inclusive has holiday resorts in around 30 countries, with up to 30 resorts in each country.
Imagine the bankruptcies and misery that they are going to cause when they finally go 100% all-inclusive? They’ll completely upset the economy in some areas. In fact, they could upset the world’s economy!
It will be a knock-on effect. As bars, restaurants and supermarkets are forced to close down, large numbers of people will have to move away from the area, causing even more shops and businesses to close. Unemployment will increase drastically.
The hotels of course won’t need to take on additional staff. They’ll just make the staff that they already have work harder and longer hours. They can’t afford to lose their jobs, so they’ll do it.
There is no point at all in turning all-inclusive. It’s a terrible thing to do. The large Holiday Companies have resorts in some countries where many of the locals are struggling to survive. This tips a lot of them over the edge.
The only advantage that I can see is that the Holiday Companies will be able to buy up vast areas of bankrupt land for very low prices in the future.
Is this a terrible mistake, or a carefully-thought-out scheme?
I wish they’d have a re-think about what they’re doing. Surely if the resorts served breakfast and the evening meal, and sold the drinks at a reasonable price, the profits would be higher.
A lot of people still wouldn’t leave the hotel complex, but they’d spend more money. And they wouldn’t drink so much!
They’d get out and walk around more, and patronise the local businesses, helping the economy.
The reps should encourage them to go out and about to explore, and not just by selling them overpriced trips to get their commission.
In most countries, the locals are friendly and welcoming. The least the big holiday Companies could do is to help them to earn a living, not cruelly bankrupt them!
This decision is completely irresponsible. Something should be done to stop it. It shouldn’t be allowed, both for the future of the local people, and for the behaviour and general health of the tourists!
Do you agree?

Image: Bathing pool by Beryl Cook

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