Eroticizing Labour in All-Inclusive Resorts

Discuss and analyse the chapter in
Relation to all relevant issues and themes

There are many different issues and themes in the chapter 3, ‘Eroticizing Labour in All - Inclusive Resorts’, of Amalia L. Cabezas ethnography ‘Economics of Desire, Sex and Tourism in Cuba and the Dominican Republic’. The ones I shall be looking at specifically though are the themes of race, gender and the use of sexuality within an economic structure of the tourism industry in Cuba, while also looking at that of the Dominican Republic.
The first theme I will look at is that of the role of race in the economic structure of the tourism industry. According to Cabezas, in the tourism industry “top-level positions are often restricted to foreign managers (UNDP 2005)” (pg 96), and has noted the fact that this can cause resentment of the role of foreign managers in this industry, especially when local employee’s become managers. This can be seen in her observation that “In Cuba, workers complain about the lack of authority of Cuban managers in contrast to their European counterparts who have more power” (pg 97). From Cabezas observations, it is clear to see that within the transnational resort a labour hierarchy exists that places the Europeans as already superior to the local population.
Within the Cuban tourism service, there is a notable absence of Black Cubans in frontline services, as can be seen in the example of Hotel National in Havana, where all the toilet attendants are Black, while the receptionists and those in administrative positions are all white or lighter skinned. This exclusion however, is not a monolithic form of discrimination as Mulatos and Mulatas are often favoured for certain jobs. Instead of finding employment within the frontline services, many Black Cubans find their work in the entertainment sector “where their hypervisibility and eroticization serve to enact Cuban culture” (pg 99). This hyper visibility is used to induce an eroticized racial fetish, where...