Sustainable Tourism Using Regulations, Market Mechanisms and Green Certification: A Case Study of Barbados Michelle Mycoo Department of Surveying and Land Information, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad Tourist destinations are under market pressure to offer a green product, including the Caribbean, one of the world’s most tourism-dependent regions. A decade after the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States convened in 1994, sustainable tourism remains a priority for Caribbean countries. This paper, using Barbados as a case study, attempts to establish if sustainable tourism policy existed, if so, how was it being implemented, and if not, what were the main areas of weakness. It found that although there was a vacuum in sustainable tourism plans and policies, the government was indirectly influencing sustainable tourism through regulatory mechanisms such as land use and infrastructure planning and market instruments. Additionally, industry was playing its part through voluntary compliance with green certification. There was a clear indication of government-industry cooperation. However, despite these measures and approaches, key infrastructure was inadequate, environmental impact assessments for potentially damaging tourism projects were not required by law and public participation was weak. The paper concludes that there are challenges for Barbados and other similar SIDS in attaining sustainable tourism in the long haul.
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
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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...
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