Buy local abroad

This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In more tropical locales of the world, the holiday season is the beginning of the tourism season. From my two years in the Caribbean as a Peace Corps volunteer and interacting with countless tourists who passed through, I offer this suggestion to those planning an international holiday: Think and act locally.

So much of what tourists spend on their tropical vacation does not filter back into the host country's economy, let alone the country's households.

For example, in smaller countries like those that make up the eastern Caribbean, there is no national airline and most hotels are owned by foreign corporations, so most tourist money spent on travel and accommodation goes to international investors rather than the local economy.

But money can still be spent in a manner that affects local livelihoods:

• Seek out small local businesses for your meals and excursions;

• Buy locally made crafts instead of those made in China with your destination's name painted on;

• Attend local festivals; and

• Never be afraid to ask about these things from a host country national.

Amber Greening