Taking up huge chunks of pristine coastline and privatizing access to large sections of the island’s beautiful beaches, all-inclusives have taken a battering from critics questioning (primarily) their environmental impact and sustainability. In addition, their rock-bottom, hard to compete with rates make it hard for Jamaica to escape the image of a cheap holiday destination and subsequently, and perhaps most importantly, to increase the amount of money spent and spread beyond the resort walls. Nevertheless, for better or worse, it is undeniable that these all-inclusives have become one of the country’s largest employers and, as such, shouldn’t be overlooked for the vital role they play in the local economy.
On a side note, perhaps because of their reputation, some all-inclusives have started foundations that aim to contribute in positive ways to the local communities in which they operate. Most notable is the Sandals Foundation (sandalsfoundation.org), which has done some incredible work across the island in the areas of sports, education and health.