The Commodification of Place: Tourism in Montego Bay, Jamaica

Mary Gardner : Geography

Mentor: Professor Richard Walker, Geography

Tourism, as Jamaica’s largest and fastest growing industry, is vital to the country’s growth and development. Montego Bay, the second largest city in Jamaica, is the tourist capital of the island. The juxtaposition of a large local and tourist population in Montego Bay has created a unique form of physical and material segregation. Mary’s research project will explore how this space and, along with it, the tourist experience, is produced through the forces of marketing by the tourist industry, the physical segregation from the rest of the city and the ways in which Jamaica and its culture are reproduced in this area. Specifically, through interviews and observation, Mary will explore the ways in which the tourist experience, featuring the promise of freedom, is paradoxically created through the tightly engineered and controlled manipulation of the physical and cultural landscape.