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Islands and Tourism

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  1. Islands and Tourism MAF 471 10/9/02

  2. Class Outline • Importance of tourism • Fascination with islands • Cold-water island tourism • Tourism challenges • Islands’ dependence on tourism • Tourism theories: resort cycle; perceptions • Tourism Impacts

  3. Importance of tourism • Single largest industry on Earth • Largest migration of people in history taking place every year • “Clean” Industry • Transfers of capital from rich to poor countries • For islands: frequently the dominant economic sector

  4. Fascination with Islands Many islands exert an attraction for visitors of a scale beyond their economic and geographical importance. (Baum, 1997)

  5. Fascination with Islands • Being physically separate, different from nearby mainland (e.g Bahamas from FL, Nantucket from MA) • Separation creates or preserves distinctiveness • Human desire for the different when on vacation (climate, physical environment, culture) • Sense of adventure: crossing the water, the “getting there” • Different pace of island life (“island time”) • Image of tranquility and return to bygone eras (Prince Edward I., Isle of Man, UK) • Limited geographical environment more visitor friendly

  6. Channel Islands, CA • Many services benefit: aircraft and boat charters, boat rentals, boating instruction, diving charters, diving instruction and chartered fishing parties • San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura counties • US$2-6 mi. in gross annual income of local businesses earned from the use of the sanctuary

  7. Dominican Republic • 30% of the Gross National Product • Major source of jobs • Brings foreign currency • Public infrastructure • Expansion of local industries • Valorization of culture and nature • Exchanges and learning with visitors • Reorientation of rural migration

  8. Cold-water island tourism • Stereotype of island tourism: sunny, palm-fringed tropical beaches, but: • Vacation patterns changing: alternative tourism • Decline of fisheries: view tourism as a worthy economic alternative • Tourism businesses tend to be more locally-owned • Examples: Iceland, Newfoundland, Prince Edward I.

  9. Tourism challenges • Tourists are not taxpayers or voters • Magnitude: huge stress on certain destinations • Culture and expectations: may be very different • Dependence on other sectors • Industry fragmentation/ dispersed control • Fragility / uncertainty : very sensitive to changes • Tourism stress: often fragile environments • Seasonality: low season may provide no profits • Planning: rapid development pressure by multinationals • Infrastructure demands • Foreign ownership/ management/ employment (Manning, 1998; McElroy and Albuquerque, 1998)

  10. Island Dependence on Tourism • Main economic sector of some islands (Bermuda, Guam ~50% of GDP) • Changing circumstances in world travel hit harder • Heavy reliance on imports • Leakage of foreign exchange earned • Seasonality affects quality and sustainability of employment • Greater impact on island community (ratio of tourists v. locals is more skewed) • Profound social, cultural, and environmental impacts, especially on youths

  11. Tourism Theory: Evolution of destinations • Exploration, small numbers, adventurous tourists • Involvement, more visitors, with locals providing for them • Development, rapid growth in visitors, accommodation, heavy penetration of industry by outsiders • Consolidation, growth rate in arrivals declines, but absolute numbers continue increasing; the number of total visitors often exceeds resident population • Stagnation, capacity levels reached, there’s surplus rooms, heavy reliance on conventions and other forms of organized mass tourism, and • Decline, destination becomes a “slum”, “ghetto”; visitors decrease rapidly, many facilities converted to non-tourist use. (AKA “Resort Cycle”; Butler, 1980)

  12. Evolution of Tourism Destinations rejuvenation ? stagnation consolidation decline Sustainable tourism?? development involvement exploration (Butler, 1980)

  13. Local Attitudes / Perceptions • Euphoria • Apathy • Annoyance • Antagonism • BUT it can vary by social status, education, age, occupation, etc. (Doxey 1979; Husbands, 1989)

  14. San Juan Islands, Washington • Many summer visitors, also more second homes (vacation & retirement) • Congestion, increased living costs, development and taxes • Losing their friendly, rural community • Residents opposed to growth and tourism

  15. Tourism Impacts • Environmental • Social, cultural • Economic

  16. Tourism Impacts Tourism is very good at fouling its own nest (Lea, 1999)

  17. Molokini Crater, Hawaii • Rare shells no longer decorate the reef face • Damaged coral is common • Manta rays no longer frequent the crater • There is a sun-tan lotion “bathtub ring” on the inside crater wall • Molokini has been desecrated “loving it to death”

  18. Outer Banks, NC • Great increase in visitors to Cape Hatteras National seashore • Dunes, wildlife forests • Adjacent communities completely dependent on groundwater • Some wells had to be capped due to septic pollution • Using surface water that’s essential for wetlands • Dune mining for construction material • Woods are impacted by shearing wind and salt

  19. US Virgin Islands National Park • 30,000 anchors dropped in the park each year • Mini-cruiser (200’ long) left reef scar of 5,300m2 • Anchor dragging • Sweep of the chain most damaging • Prop wash and plume of sediment

  20. Coral reefs environmental vulnerability • Narrow tolerance range for salinity and temperature • Toxic substances effects enhanced by high water temperatures • Algal coral competition makes them more susceptible to pollutants Pastorok and Bilyard, 1985

  21. Wastewater impact on reefs • Little in well-flushed, open coastal areas • Otherwise, seepage of sewage from a single public restroom can degenerate an entire coral community (e.g. Hawaii) • Also: runoff from urban areas and unsealed roads, deforested uplands

  22. How wastewater affects corals • Suspended solids cause decreased growth by blocking sunlight and interfering with photosynthesis • Nutrients: Coral reefs are oasis in the desert • Nutrient input causes eutrophication • Promote excessive growth of phytoplankton and algae • Even small amounts of nutrients will cause significant changes

  23. Tourism in Boracay (Philippines)Smith (1988) Tourism Impacts

  24. “The islanders subsisted on farming and fishing until Boracay was ‘discovered’ by international tourists in the 1980s. The result was an intense pressure on the island’s infrastructures, and the need for electricity, a central water supply and a system of sewage disposal soon became apparent. With the invasion of ‘drifter’ tourists, middle-class and family-oriented tourists declined in number, but the amount of garbage and other forms of pollution increased(…) ,and land values increased astronomically (…) Furthermore, drunkenness, narcotics and prostitution were imported into the island by the tourists, who also proceeded to deplete coral resources already damaged by the islanders fishing practices.

  25. Yet the people of Boracay, like all rural Filipinos, would enjoy having the infrastructure that is needed to support tourism, because it would make their lives easier, pleasanter and safer. And they certainly want the income generated by tourism in the form of cash with which to buy goods and services including better education for their children. They appreciate the employment that is enabling their young people to stay on the island, or to return home to Boracay from the squalor of big cities, and be with their families. In the eyes of most villagers, tourism has been very positive, and the sins of the drifter tourists can be temporarily overlooked in the face of their largesse.”

  26. Next week • NO CLASSES: Monday classes meet Following week: • Sustainable tourism • Invited Speaker: “Cruising in the Antarctic”