Free Sample: Small Island Developing States paper example for writing essay

Small Island Developing States - Essay Example

Market Mechanisms and Green Certification: A Case Study of Barbados Michelle McCoy 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 KIDS in attaining sustainable tourism In the long haul. Dot: 10. 2167/jostles. O Keywords: sustainable tourism, greening tourism, land use and Infrastructure planning regulations, market Incentives Introduction Tourism Is a major contributor to Island economies In the Caribbean as noted by the

World Travel and Tourism Council (WATCH), 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 GAP, 21% of capital formation, 20% of exports and 16% of employment (WATCH, 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. Until recently, tourism search, 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 of sustainable Outflow MOM. McCoy Volvo. 14, NO. 5, 2006 489 Journal of Sustainable Tourism 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 personalizing the objectives of sustainable tourism in Barbados. N these interviews, policymakers and decommissioned 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 conditionality’s used to mitigate environmental impacts of such development.

Specific questions were also asked on water and sewerage system management in the tourism sector. Policy documents were also examined to ascertain the written policy on sustainable tourism. The National Development through Sustainable Tourism Policy (2001), the Draft National Physical Development Plan (2004), the Coastal Zone Management Plan (2003), and the Handbook of Development Guidelines (2003) were reviewed to determine the zoning, site development standards, building regulations, and engineering standards used to facilitate sustainable tourism.

Site visits to coastal tourism properties on the south and west coasts were also conducted in March and April 2004 to establish if there was compliance with development guidelines set out by the regulatory agencies. Background according to brawled and lane (1993), Sustainable tourism is a positive approach intended to reduce the tensions and friction created by the complex interactions teen the tourism industry, visitors, the environment and the communities which are host to holidaymakers. It is an approach, which involves working for the longer viability and quality of both natural and human resources. T is not anti-growth but it acknowledges that there are limits to growth. Lane (2001) has added Sustainable tourism is a concept designed not to stop tourism but to manage it in the interests of all three parties involved – the host habitats and communities, the tourists, and the industry itself. It seeks a balance between development and conservation. It seeks to mind the best form of tourism for an area taking into account its ecology and its culture. It may mean limits to growth, or in some cases no growth at all. T seeks not just to plan for tourism, but also to integrate tourism into a balanced relationship with broader economic development and with conservation goals. A well thought Sustainable Tourism in Barbados 491 not Just for the people. The World Trade organization (WTFO) sees sustainable tourism . As leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems’.

While several definitions of sustainable tourism have been put forward, the most comprehensive ones adopted in this paper are those of the WTFO, brawled and lane (1993), and lane (2001). Two watershed events, namely the United Nations Conference on environment and Development held in ROI in 1992 and the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small island Developing States convened in Barbados in 1994, raised concerns regarding sustainable development in relation to tourism. These were followed by the international Conference on Sustainable Tourism in

Small island Developing States and other islands held in lantern, Spain in October 1998, out of which a Programmer of action for Sustainable Tourism in Kids was designed with emphasis placed on ‘assessing tourism projects, creating “coastal reserves”, conserving coastal ecosystems and biodiversity, harmonistic the coexistence of tourism with all the other activities, and establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with the interior of the island’. Sustainable tourism continued to receive international attention, leading to the United Nations declaration of the ear 2002 as the international Year of customize.

Policy failures in sustainable tourism The Caribbean has had a protracted history of policy failure in sustainable tourism, as noted by Mcelroy (1975) almost three and a half decades ago. He argued that the post-war tourist society of the smaller Caribbean islands was not only typified by increasing affluence and political autonomy, but also continuing threats to social and ecological stability caused by sprawling arbitration, expanding hotel and infrastructure construction, and rising population and visitor densities.

He concluded that as a result of a generation of mass tourism development, and all its attendant negative externalities arising from the basic incompatibility between the imposition of an expanding, open, tourist-consumption-biased throughput economic system upon a closed, fragile, finite environment’ (Mcelroy, 1975: 48), strong policy intervention was needed to reverse these non-sustainable trends. Five dimensions underlying the structural dysfunction of a tourism-dependent economy superimposed on a fragile ecosystem were identified by Mcelroy and De Albuquerque (1991). Rusty, the large size of the international tourist economy interacting with fragile island ecosystems produces resource imbalances. For example, formerly pristine and unused mountain and shoreline resources become commercially captured because of their scenic and water-dependent amenities, and critical habitats are altered. Secondly, the disequilibrium found in the uneven size of mass tourism in conjunction with the consumption bias and throughput nature of the tourist economy tend over time to generate wastes that clash with the slow and finite absorptive capacity of the fragile ecosystem.

Thirdly, seasonality of the sector tends to contribute to system overload. In the short term, peak winter loading exacerbates stresses on the insular carrying capacity partly because the short high season stimulates waves of small-scale activities to maximize limited demand and income opportunities. In the long run, repeated cycles of slack and under-utilization in the off-season produce strong pressures for year-round tourism, which in turn cumulatively exacerbates the problem of density and denies the built and natural environment the legitimate opportunity for annual refurbishing and selflessness. Arthur, the preoccupation of island decommissioned with rising annual arrival fugues instead of net visitor expenditures, reflects a growth bias as described by Holder (1988). Fifthly, to satisfy the overhead and profit criteria of the tourism sector, especially the hotels, airlines and tour operators, the tourism economy has its own built-in, long-run propensity to expand visitor densities irrespective of the social and ecological carrying capacity of the island destination. N more recent research Mcelroy (2002) identified four factors related to the preceding ones, which explain the insular Caribbean experience of sustainable tourism policy failure. The first factor, notes Mcelroy (2002), is ‘a history of environmental neglect arising from the Caribbean islands’ role as peripheral colonial export-oriented enclaves, without an indigenous population and tradition of resource conservation’. He argues this persists today because of under-funded monitoring and weak enforcement of protective legislation.

The second factor is the promotion of mass tourism, which Mcelroy (2002) suggests stems from ‘domestic economic policy of island governments died to the colonial tradition of high volume, low-value-added mono-cultural exports’ that in turn provided generous tax incentives to draw investors to develop mass tourism facilities. This point is elaborated in what he describes as ‘aggressive promotion of low-multiplier, low-value-added mass visitation’.

He further adds that globalization has caused a drastic decline in aid from the United States since 1990, job losses in the manufacturing sector in Mexico, especially textiles because of the North American free Trade agreement, and the demise of the banana industry through the removal of preferential treatment. The third and fourth factors influencing policy failure in sustainable tourism are directly related to the specific nature of international tourism. The scale discrepancy between heavily capitalized, high-volume international travel interests such as air and cruise lines, hotel chains, tour operators, and the small fragile insular ecosystems produce an inherent propensity for environmental overrun’. (Mcelroy, 2002: 2). The free play of market incentives and the relatively weak mitigating forces of contemporary island tourism practice tend to cumulatively institutionalism an environmentally incompatible growth recess that is not sustainable. T is argued that this is a good example of the inability of the throughput economy to selfless an optimum scale of operation consistent with ecosystem stability that maximizes long-run natural resource returns and avoids inter-generational inequities in the distribution of income and resource access (Daly, 1984; Goodling & ladle, 1987). There is a tendency to have a market-driven ethic that maximizes short-term commercial gain over long-run environmental stability, which is a legacy that persists in weak enforcement of protective legislation. Examples of

There is a tendency to encourage a pattern of spatially concentrated resorts, ancillary facilities and activity. Insular natural resource planning is constrained by, among other factors, a failure to grasp the delicate 493 interaction of interdependent terrestrial and marine ecosystems (Mcelroy & De Albuquerque, 2002). Rapid market-led growth has severely altered fragile terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Hillside development of hotel clusters and roadways has damaged forests, triggered soil erosion, river and wetland isolation and pollution of lagoons (Mcelroy & De Albuquerque, 1998).

Wilkinson (1989) found that mangroves eave also been destroyed by the construction of large-scale resorts, marinas and infrastructure along delicate coastlines, depleting endemic species, and archaeological artifacts and reef systems have been weakened by sand mining, yachting and sewage dumping. About 30% of the Caribbean coral reefs are now at risk because of runoff and sedimentation and the discharge of untreated domestic and hotel waste (Bryant, 1998). Environmental intrusions such as these have prompted calls for more sustainable tourism styles to avoid the cyclic instability of the colonial economy (Broglie et al. , 1996). Exciter (1989) argues that ultimately the success or failure of tourism is largely a function of political and administrative action, and not of economic or business enterprise. Two arguments advanced by other researchers lend support to this point of view. The face-to-face personality in small societies and kinship ties among the leaders multiply conflicts of interest and render objective decommissioning difficult, noted Benedict (1967). E Albuquerque and Mcelroy (1995) also suggest that the lack of opportunities for upward mobility for planning professionals, in combination with sharp political and archipelago sectionalism, tend to breed caution and risk avoidance in preference to confronting polarities trade-offs in policy and day-to-day decision-making. The marked dualism in Caribbean societies is also a contributing factor to the lack of consistent policy and community consensus needed for sustainable development. The politics and administrative configuration of small island societies can determine the success or failure of tourism.

Recent sustainable tourism initiatives in the Caribbean Two key initiatives have been undertaken in more recent times to reverse policy failure in sustainable tourism and translate policy into action: training/capacity building and green certification. The Caribbean environmental Programmer sponsored by the United Nations environmental Programmer (Uneven), implemented a training programmer to assist in the development of institutional capacity in coastal resources and ecosystem management related to the tourism industry.

Seven training courses were conducted in 1998 in three key thematic areas: Water and Solid Waste Management for the Tourism industry, integrated Coastal area Management and Tourism, and Sitting and Design of Tourist facilities. s a matter of priority, in 1999 a Caribbean regional Training Manual on Solid Waste and Wastewater Management for have so much difficulty in policy implementation and enforcement that they rely instead on industry self-regulation. Industry has taken steps in self-regulation in the Caribbean and Barbados through its active involvement in seeking Green Globe 21 certification.

Certification is defined as a voluntary procedure, which accesses, monitors, and gives written assurance that a business, product, process, service, or management 494 system conforms to specific requirements. T awards a marketable logo or seal to those that meet or exceed baseline standards, that is, those which at a minimum comply with national and regional regulations, and typically fulfill other declared or negotiated standards prescribed by the certification programmed (Honey & Rome, 2001).

Certification criteria are based on agenda 21 and ISO 14001 and include minimum standard requirements for waste reduction, reuse and recycling; energy efficiency, conservation and management; an environmentally sensitive purchasing policy; social and cultural development; hazardous waste disposal; company remonstration and its effect on the environment; land use planning and management, and environmental/historic site protection. Certification is a contentious issue in the debate on sustainable tourism as the emerging research found. Eke most countries in the South, Barbados’ policymakers have concerns that ‘greening of tourism’ and certification merely strengthen the most powerful tourism companies rather than locally owned enterprises, which has resonance with Harridan’s (2001) conclusion that tourism development is intimately linked to relationships of power’. Honey and Rome (2001) also question the problems of ratification, namely that there is a potential difficulty between Northern defined and imposed standards, and Southern conditions and capabilities. They also cast some doubt over levels of consumer demand for a certified tourism product.

Huffier (2001) believes that increasing economic competition, combined with the powerful threat of transnational activism, are pushing firms to develop new political strategies. She observed that in the last decade a growing number of corporations have adopted policies of industry self-regulation – corporate codes of conduct, social and environmental standards, and auditing and monitoring systems. Political and economic risks, reputation effects, and learning within the business community, all influence the adoption of a self-regulatory strategy.

Huffier (2001), however, contends that industry self-regulation raises significant questions about the place of the private sector in regulation and governance, and the accountability, legitimacy and power of industry at a time of rapid globalization, which has resonance in the tourism industry. Bendable and font (2004) argue that programmed to certify ‘green’ or sustainable tourism standards are rapidly growing, and it is possible that certification eight change in function and effect, from awarding excellence to becoming De facto requirements to trade.

They caution that because ‘certification often relies on the context of international practice such as the General agreement on Trade in Services, which could reduce the appeal of standards as a self-regulatory method’. Despite reservations and resistance to certification from some hotel operators when it was first launched, by mid-2001, 13 hotels in three Caribbean islands, namely Aruba, Jamaica and Barbados, were certified under the new Green Globe 21 scheme (Robinson et al. 2000-2001). N a news release dated October 2003, the Caribbean alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CaST) indicated that the Caribbean is currently the leading region in the Green Globe 21 programmer worldwide, with more than 50 certified properties. Most small states employ a range of command-and-control instruments, such 495 as building permits, or market-based instruments such as taxes and subsidies, to regulate the tourism industry, but as Ares (2002) notes, in practice it is difficult to enforce controls, particularly if the activity is profitable and there is a growing and unsatisfied demand for the tourism product.

The following section of the paper seeks to examine sustainable tourism policy and practice in tourism-intensive small islands, using Barbados as a case study. Specifically, it investigates if a sustainable tourism policy exists, and if so, how it is being implemented. Sustainable Tourism in Barbados: Policy and Practice Barbados has been almost totally dependent on tourism as a generator of revenue for several decades. The World bank (1986) reported that it was the biggest employer and prime generator of foreign exchange in the sass. Ever 70% of its foreign exchange was earned by the tourism sector in 1999 (Government of Barbados, 2001).

Tourism’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GAP) in the last 10 years ranged from 11% in 1991, peaked at 14% in 1994, after which it declined slightly reaching 10% in 2002, as was expected after 1 1 September 2001, when North American and European tourists became skeptical about overseas travel (See figure 1). Barbados’ economy has diversified since the sass, so that the tourism sector, though it is a large revenue earner, has been the fourth largest employer from 1996 o 2002, averaging between 12% and 14% of the labor force (Government of Barbados, 2002). Achieving sustainable tourism has not been without its challenges, as merging environment and economics into decommissioning presents difficulties. The history of tourism in Barbados has been marked by a general lack of government involvement in tourism policy and planning, although various government activities have directly or indirectly affected tourism (Wilkinson, 2002). Additionally, in earlier decades, Barbados did not have the benefit of current knowledge and technology to MIT environmental degradation caused by poorly managed tourism activity.

Wilkinson (1997) found that Barbados had developed the characteristics of a mid- Stage iii (maturity) destination: mass 16 14 12 10 864 2 0 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Years Figure 1 Barbados’ tourism sector contribution to GAP (Source: Government of Barbados [2001]) 2002 496 tourism, growth stagnation, high densities, host-guest friction, significant cruise ship activity, and growing emphasis on all-inclusive resorts. Like many other Kids, unsustainable practices have impacted negatively on Barbados’ natural resources.

These include the removal of stabilizing coastal vegetation, the elimination of mangroves, (which formerly existed at some 12 locations on the island, but have now been reduced to two sites), coral reef destruction largely resulting from the discharge of untreated effluent and waste, unauthorized and poorly designed protection structures such as grosses and revetments, and the loss of habitat for endangered species such as sea turtles. The destruction of coastal vegetation, mangroves and coral reefs triggered erosion on the west coast beaches, which were receding at 1. 5 Figure 2 restaurant and bar built on beachfront in Barbados

Figure 3 Coastal engineering using a Greene to protect the restaurant and bar in figure 2 497 rant and bar constructed on the beach, which has had to be protected from coastal erosion by the erection of a Greene as seen in figure 3. Coral reef damage is a major concern given that reefs play an important role in the creation of beaches and are interesting sites for diving and snorkeling, which collectively are the island’s main tourism product. The deteriorating state of reefs has been attributed to a multiplicity of factors including triplication, bleaching, and anchoring of boats. There is a wreath to the reefs from chlorinated waste originating from hotel swimming pools, as the corals are vulnerable to chlorine bleaching. Researchers such as Hunted and Wattenberg (1992), Sanford et al. (1993) and Tomatoes and Sander (1985) found that Barbados’ coral reefs were at a high level of risk from threats such as pollution and extreme storm events, and at medium to low risk from sedimentation. While actively growing, shallow, fringing coral reefs are found along most of the west coast extending 300 meters from the shoreline. Research by Hunted and Wattenberg (1992), Sanford et al. 993) and Tomatoes and Sander (1985) found evidence of triplication along this part of the coast that has resulted in an increase in algal abundance, reduced coral recruitment and survival of Juveniles, and increased turbidity and sedimentation rates. In a study of trends from 1982 to 1992 on reefs along the west coast, the mean percent loss of species on the reefs under investigation was 24%, and the mean decline in abundance was 34%, although the actual size, shape and conation patterns of the reef did not change noticeably (Parker & Sanford, 1998). Cosigning that the coastal zone would continue to be in high emend and that the condition of its reefs was important in marketing Barbados as a green tourism destination, the government decided to use coral reef transplantation, the cost of which has been established at around IIS$OHIO per 100 square meter of reef restored (Coastal Zone Management Unit, 2003). Anne (2001) notes that tourism can destroy the future it promises because it can render a destination a spoilt destination, which becomes unfashionable and redundant. He argues that tourism is a fiercely competitive business: destinations are essentially fashion brands, subject to the changing vagaries of the market’. These caveats call attention to adjustments in policy and practice. The following section of the paper examines the history and changes in policy and practice aimed at achieving sustainable tourism in Barbados.

Tourism policy and planning as noted earlier, Wilkinson (1997, 2002) found that the history of tourism in Barbados has been characterized by a lack of government involvement in tourism policy and planning. Yet, various government activities have does not exist a tourism policy or plan per SE, the government has addressed tourism through national development plans and physical development plans.

The former al with socioeconomic policies, and the latter translate these into land use policies, which is usually one of the five general areas of concern Oinks & Henry, 1982). Thomas (1988) saw this approach as one that has been consistently used since independence not only by Barbados, but by other Caribbean islands. Barbados’ first Physical Development Plan (Gob, 1970) zoned lands for tourism development on the east, south, southeast, west and northwest coasts.