“If someone wants to know what my homeland is,
Do not ask for it.
Do not want to know if there are woods, trills,
Many peninsulas and others,
Or if there are four mountain ranges,
Or if there are several bays destinations
And all foreigners. “Pedro Mir, If Someone Wants To Know What My Country Is
This poem was present in my mind when I was vacationing with my family in the Dominican Republic this week. I am no longer just Dominican, I am a Dominican resident abroad. And as such I now feel a different responsibility for how I use the natural resources of my country and how I decided to invest my foreign currencies in the economy of the country. Yes, for many years our government has promoted tourism as a mechanism for the economic and social development of our country and the communities where it takes place. But I have many questions: Is this sustainable? Is this development economically inclusive and working to eliminate poverty or dismantle economic inequality? Or just to allow foreign companies to exploit the country? Do government officials look the other way because “it is good for the economy?” There were many questions I wanted to ask in every hotel, tourist site, beach, river and archaeological site I visit for Know if my tourism was responsible and sustainable, but not always able to have all the answers I needed to have a clean conscience.
The United Nations General Assembly, at its seventieth session, declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This year I had the opportunity to be an international tourist twice, once in Mexico, and another in my country of origin, Rep Dom. In Mexico, you can be sure that my actions as a tourist were contributing in a dignified and responsible way to the Living conditions and natural resources of Oaxaca. But in Dom Rep., I’m not so sure. Dominican friends and international tourists, how can we be better domestic and international tourists?