doi: 10.2167/jost600.0 Keywords: sustainable tourism, greening tourism, land use and infrastructure planning regulations, market incentives
Tourism is a major contributor to island economies in the Caribbean as noted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which estimated that by 2001 the economic impact of tourism in the Caribbean was greater than in any other region of the world.1 Tourism accounted for 17% of the GDP, 21% of capital formation, 20% of exports and 16% of employment (WTTC, 2001). However, the terrorist attack in New York in September 2001 was seen as a threat and the main cause of contraction in island economies in 2002. Some Caribbean islands have since recovered because of market perception of the region as a safe destination.2 Until recently, tourism research, notably tourism public policy and planning, has been a low priority of the tourism industry and governments, which have focused on promotion and short-term returns rather than strategic planning, 0966-9582/06/05 0489-23 $20.00/0 JoUrNal of SUSTaiNable ToUriSM © 2006 M. Mycoo Vol. 14, No. 5, 2006
Journal of Sustainable Tourism
investment and sustainability. This paper, using barbados as a case study, first seeks to discuss past unsustainable tourism practices, review sustainable tourism public policy and planning, and the use of regulatory mechanisms, market instruments, and industry compliance with certification requirements in the context of tourism-intensive small islands. The second section of the paper presents conclusions on state policy reforms, areas of weakness in policy and practice, and recommendations for attaining sustainable tourism. This study employed in-depth two-hour interviews with two key policymakers/regulators, in 2001 and updated in 2004 to determine what policies, practices and impediments exist in operationalising the objectives of sustainable tourism in barbados. in these interviews, policymakers and decisionmakers were asked which physical/environmental impacts were taken into account in processing applications for the building of hotels and ancillary facilities such as marinas, restaurants, bars, and other recreational beach facilities. Questions were asked on the planning policies, site development, building and engineering standards, and conditionalities used to mitigate environmental impacts of such development. Specific questions were also asked on water and sewerage system management in the tourism...