Be a respectful spring-breaker


Courtesy of Beachfront Solutions Flickr – An aerial view from Lani Kai Resort in Fort Meyers Beach, Florida, shows a surge of spring breakers enjoying a popular spot.

Aubrie Selsmeyer, Opinion Editor

Spring break is finally here, which means eight weeks of school left. Soon, college kids across the nation will be cramming all of their belongings into small backpacks and living like savages for a week of freedom in the sun — that is, if they plan to travel.

For a lot of travelers, Florida is the migration spot of choice. An average 76,000 passengers and 550 flights are seen daily from March 7 through April 10, the spring break travel period, according to WFLA-TV.  

This means that hundreds of thousands of people will be living a temporary life in a place far from home. It also means that whatever is done in that week’s time span likely won’t affect them much beyond that. 

But what is done during this time does affect the locals who call these destinations home. They are the ones who must deal with the aftermath of having their beaches tattered with garbage.

After the week of partying and drinking ceases, travelers pack up and return home without looking back at the mess they’ve left behind. It is left in the hands of locals and volunteers to restore their land back to what it once was.

Being drunk is not an excuse to tarnish an environment that doesn’t belong to you, nor is it a third party’s responsibility to clean up after your doings. 

Littering doesn’t just stop at the beaches either; eventually, this trash makes its way into the ocean and contributes to a whole new set of problems. 

For many, Florida is the ultimate spring break destination; some find the all-inclusive resort route to be more their speed. 

One of the biggest issues surrounding all-inclusive resorts is the complete neglect of people working behind the scenes to keep tourists happy. It is a week full of unlimited booze, food and partying – made possible by people who can barely afford a living for their own family. 

The term “tourism leakage” refers to the phenomenon where the benefits of tourism fall in the hands of corporations who run these hotels and resorts. The powerhouses that control the tourism programs in developing countries are predominantly well-off Western nations. 

And don’t think that much of this money is put into the country you’re visiting. The money leaves and doesn’t return, hence the term “leakage.” It leaks out into grimy corporate hands. 

“The raw material of the tourist industry is the flesh and blood of people and their cultures,” said Cecil Rajendra, a Malaysian human rights activist.

Not only are the basic needs of workers neglected, but these all-inclusive resorts prioritize the needs of tourists over their own communities.

Guests are given unlimited access to alcohol, food and private beaches; therefore, they feel no need to venture further than the resort. This is damaging to local businesses that depend on tourists to supply what little income they have to survive on. 

According to The Irish Times, “Communities all over the developing world are being forced to compete with tourist developments for the scarce resources of water, land and energy.” 

Locals have to give up their basic human rights and are forced to work in horrible conditions in order to guarantee tourist satisfaction. 

Not only are they forced to give up their rights, but also their land. This land is then privatized to “protect” guests from outside interactions, because heaven forbid travelers have any sort of contact with other humans who live there.  

This isn’t meant to discourage people from treating themselves to some sunshine this spring break; it is meant to discourage people from leaving negative impacts on the environment and people around them. 

Pick up your empty beer cans, respect the locals whose home you’re vacationing in and pay attention to the companies you’re giving your money to. 

Be a respectful spring-breaker.