The Tourism Marketing and Market Research Techniques course taught by Ms. Elizabeth Mackay conducted its first research day on sex tourism in New Providence. The main purpose of this research was to train students on how to design and conduct research.
In the first phase we worked in teams to create the survey instrument which was a questionnaire. In the second phase we tested the instrument to identify any ambiguities or structural defects. For the final phase we went to Junkanoo beach to administer the questionnaires to tourists. A quota sample was used and 180 questionnaires completed.
The majority of our respondents were from North America (86%) and were cruise ship passengers (93%). Their main reason for visiting was for leisure (82%); interestingly 2.8% indicated that they were in New Providence for sex tourism. Over 75% of our respondents were between 18 and 33 years old, 55% were female and the most common relationship statuses were single (42%), in a relationship (31%) and married (20%).
Sixty per cent of respondents classified sex between locals and tourists as fun, casual sex. Only 20% considered the encounter to be sex tourism and 19% categorized it as prostitution. Nevertheless many (53%) felt that sex between tourists and locals is a major contributor to sexually transmitted diseases.
With regards to prevalence the majority of respondents (57%) believe that sex tourism in New Providence had a moderate level of occurrence. 86% did not know anyone else who had engaged in sex tourism. 82% would said they would not encourage anyone to engage in sex tourism and 87% indicated that they were not likely to engage in sex with a local on some future trip to the destination.
The main reasons identified to explain sexual encounters between locals and tourists include pleasure (62%), drugs/alcohol (62%), adventure (52%), attraction (41%). Surprisingly monetary gain was identified as a main cause by only 25% of respondents.
The respondents who admitted to engaging in sex with a local while on holiday classified the exchange as casual sex (1%) or as an experiment (1%), cash was exchanged and there was unprotected sex. Findings reveal that visitors who participate in sex tourism do so for pleasure with no intentions of pursuing a relationship.
The benefits of sex tourism for locals as identified by respondents are illustrated below:
The findings of the research were very interesting for us as a class. Our recommendation would be to conduct a parallel study for land-based tourists to see how those findings correlate with those of cruise passengers. Another interesting observation by almost all interviewers was the extent of harassment experienced by cruise passengers. Many were hostile and unwilling to speak with us.
One tourist shouted at us that he did not want to buy drugs or any illegal substances and told us that he had been approached 20 times to buy drugs. Another respondent explained that the anxiety and unwillingness was warranted as he and other cruise passengers had been ‘constantly approached to buy one thing or another since disembarking the ship’. An examination of cruise passenger harassment in New Providence is certainly a topic worth exploring in a future study.
By Jenielle Rhone, BSc. Tourism Management
Photos compliments of Charlotte Rajkumar and Jenielle Rhone © 2017