Opinion: Refocusing Caribbean Tourism Management
(Barbados Today) Though no one could have foreshadowed the advent of COVID 19, it is not unreasonable to anticipate that threats yet conceived, no matter their constitution, will wreak havoc upon us if we do not have resilient tourism industries. I therefore submit to you a line of reasoning encased in the notion of resilience and bifurcated by an assessment of tourism impacts. Thinking of that which would be “sustainable” offers some context in which to root this treatise by guiding it along economic, environmental and socio-cultural dimensions.
What we get out of tourism
Tourism revenues have dissipated almost overnight because of COVID-19. This has immediately reinforced for several Caribbean destinations the consequence of tourism activity for our economies; it is an impact which is central and very frontal.
However, there has always arguably been a lesser focus on how tourism is managed through environmental and socio-cultural lenses. Environmentally, this could admittedly be because legislative provisions to preserve the built environment are generically applied at the national level enjoining tourism through dictates such as Town and Country planning provisions.
Considering tourism plays a role in cultural assimilation reflected in our portrayals of foreign behaviors, it is safe to say there has been even lesser acuity in relation to its socio-cultural gains. Conclusively, gaps prevail, especially in the region’s ability to extract environmental and socio-cultural value from its tourism activity.
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