Eastern Caribbean Blue Tourism

About

Summary

With COVID-19 causing a forced break in international inbound tourism to the Caribbean, and environmental pressures such as climate change increasing focus on the sustainability of tourism in the region, this project was commissioned by the World Bank to accelerate the transition to sustainable coastal and marine tourism, or blue tourism.  The study included a review of tourism supply and demand, and identified 10 segments into which all leisure visitors could be classified and ranked, to identify those that offered the best opportunities for transitioning to blue tourism.  A detailed policy and regulatory review, tourism infrastructure assessment, and action plans for each country for the period 2020-2030 were also compiled.

Our Approach

The activities in this project were designed to assist the development of a World Bank lending operation Unleashing the Blue Economy of the Eastern Caribbean (UBEEC) and also inform the OECS Regional Tourism Competitiveness Project (ORTCP) by identifying the key products, policies, and infrastructure upgrades that would assist the transition to a Blue Economy through tourism in Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

In addition, the extent of the impact of COVID-19 on the OECS region was expected to depend on the ability of member countries to respond and recover from the crisis.  Therefore, a more sustainable and resilient tourism model was needed as governments and the private sector started charting a path to recovery.  This project had four distinct stages:

1. Mapping the supply of blue tourism businesses in the four countries and undertaking an online survey of businesses in each one.  Assessment of tourism demand and supply to identify existing and potential segments. Valuation and ranking of these segments to show which ones offer the best opportunity for a transition to blue tourism.

2. Assessment of existing policies, standards and regulations; best practice case studies; and gaps and opportunities.

3. Assessment of blue economy infrastructure; needs and gaps of public infrastructure and ranking for proposed investment; and gaps and opportunities.

4. Validation workshops and action plans for developing blue tourism.

Outcome

In each destination we calculated the value added to the national economy of coastal and marine tourism, and its contribution to GDP, which highlighted the significance of the coastal and marine resources in the OECS region and the significance of protecting them.  The online business survey showed that owners and operators of tourism businesses were concerned about the impact of tourism and had noticed a decline in the quality of beaches and reefs over the last 10 years.

The study clearly identified those segments that offered the four countries, and the wider OECS region, the best opportunities for embracing blue tourism and offering a resilient and sustainable tourism product, taking into consideration global tourism trends, expenditure levels of different segments, climate change and pressure on environmental hot spots in each country, social impacts of visitors, and the effects of COVID-19.

Whilst the findings varied between the different island destinations, those segments that offered experiential and exploratory travel experiences, and were driven by travellers who wanted to experience authentic culture and heritage were identified as being the most important to pursue; these included Culture Seekers, Voluntourists and Regional Relaxers, and in some destinations Yachters and Romantics.

Directions

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OECS Blue Economy Tourism Analytics

Client:

World Bank,

Location:

Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
World Bank

This project contributes to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Acorn AwardsSDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 2020
  • Acorn AwardsSDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and work SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and work 2020
  • Acorn AwardsSDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation 2020
  • Acorn AwardsSDG13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts SDG13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 2020
  • Acorn AwardsSDG14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, marine resources for sustainable development SDG14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, marine resources for sustainable development 2020
  • Acorn AwardsSDG15 - Protect, restore, promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, halt biodiversity loss SDG15 - Protect, restore, promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, halt biodiversity loss 2020

Contact us

3 Woodland Enterprise Centre, Hastings Road,
Flimwell, East Sussex, TN5 7PR, UK

+44 (0) 1580 879970

contact@acorntourism.co.uk