The Controversy of All-Inclusive Resorts

I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to have travelled around the world, alone and with friends and family. However, I have never experienced an all-inclusive resort until now. All-inclusive resorts provide food, drinks and activities within the hotel, all paid for with the reservation of a room. With a couple of friends, we decided to get a change of scenery and escape the snowstorms to go to the beach in Mexico for Spring Break. We found a great package deal and booked our flights. Here are my honest thoughts about the concept of all-inclusive resorts and things that made me a little uncomfortable about this type of vacation. To be clear, it is not the particular hotel that made me uneasy, but its surrounding amenities that tormented me. 

The all-you-can-eat buffets were a reason my friends and I chose this vacation place, no need to cook, buy food or clean dishes. At the buffets, people, including myself, were happily indulging in the feast. It was only when my friends and I started discussing how Mexico is a third world country that I felt my stomach tighten. Indeed, Mexico’s population suffers because of food insecurities and from limited food access. According to the Global Agriculture Information Network, in 2008, 18.2 percent of Mexico’s population was experiencing food poverty. But here we were, having all the food we could eat at our disposition. However, this type of simplicity of care-free open bars and buffets, are what make such a resort attractive for tourists. Additionally, I became apprehensive about all the waste the buffet produces — this controversy is something I have thought a lot about, as I made sure to finish everything I put on my plate. 



Finally, when staying in the resort, you don’t get to experience the true culture of the country, since you are literally barricaded in by tall walls and security personnel. Of course, this is for safety purposes, but it makes it more difficult to go out and visit since you need to organize a trip through the resort’s travel agency — which can be pricey. Additionally, most of the activities offered are often to very touristy areas that disguise the true economic status of the country with brand name stores and colourful restaurants. “I hate the Westernization of this place”,  a friend said while we walked through a nearby town.

Without attractions such as buffets, open bars or fun activities, there wouldn’t be as much tourism, which in turns, contributes massively to the country’s economy. According to the World Bank, tourism brought $23 802 billion to Mexico in 2018 and has been on the rise since 2011. Tourism is very important for Mexico, so this makes me feel a little more at ease that there are opportunities to participate in the country’s economic growth. Nevertheless I’m still uneasy about the ethical values of such tourism.