When is the vacation too cheap?

More than ever, the tourism industry is a battleground when it comes to pricing. And, as always during a fully blown war, the weakest ones suffer the most. It is very tempting to exploit inequality. Economical weaker countries (but not only them) are generally most affected.

Sure, someone can also see it as an advantage that the industry in these countries allow now also untrained workers a fast entry. It offers, especially women and young people, a source of income (allegedly almost every 2nd is under the age of 23 in lower developed countries).

But, someone can see it also differently. The above mentioned group of workers is especially cheap to get. The British organization Tourism Concern investigated a few years back the day-to-day work of hotel employees in Kenia, Barbados, and Tenerife. The outcome was little flattering – very low income, adverse working conditions and not compensated overtime. Especially bad was it in All-Inclusive-Hotels. Non-existing employee training added fuel to the scenario. In addition to that, child labor is not uncommon. According to the ILO (International Labor Organization) 10 to 13 million or 10 to 15 percent of all employees in tourism are younger than 18 years.

Of course, this is not only the fault of the tourism industry as it is rather a reflection of the developmental stage of a social framework. BUT – tour operators, the travel business as a whole, us the tourists and travelers have the power to influence this situation to a certain extend.

Expected and clear standards can apply soft pressure towards the local suppliers. Important of course will be to inspect these local suppliers periodically. For us as customers, it sometimes is enough to ask ourselves: “how is it possible that a one week All-Inclusive vacation for example in Turkey can cost 300 Euros?

Think about it.

Arno P. Prem, tourism exec., est. ’90