ECO-TOURISM & THE CARIBBEAN Protecting Natural Assetsand Enhancing Sustainable Development in Small Economies by T. Jennifer Edwards Specialist in Sustainable Tourism, The Bahamas Regional Policy Briefing no.7Building Resilience in Small Island Economies: From Vulnerabilities to Opportunities Hotel Victoria, Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius, 23-24 April 2012
Presentation Outline1. The Eco-Tourism Sector • Background, Nature & Linked Concepts • Size , Potential & Products2. Caribbean Eco-Tourism • Eco-Assets & Top Eco-Destinations3. Key Caribbean Eco-Tourism Initiatives a) CTO/EU/CRSTDP Good Practices Project4. Case Initiative: The Community Baboon Sanctuary, Bermudian Landing, BELIZE5. Conclusion: Caribbean Eco-Tourism, Enhancing Sustainable Development
ECO-TOURISM: BACKGROUND• Emerged as a move from the MASS BEACH TOURISM of the 60s & 70s• Took off in the 80s & 90s in response to a wider environmental awareness in western consumerist society. The message being ENVIRONMENT, CONSERVATION & SUSTAINABILITY with reduced negative impacts• A move to: – More diverse & specialised forms of tourism with tourists also engaging in recreational, sporting and adventure activities – Learning about local cultures – Increased interests in the Natural Environment• Special interests in the Natural Environment has resulted in one of the most popular Tourism terms today, i.e. ECO TOURISM
Eco-Tourism: Early Concept• Focused on travel to undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas with the specific objective of studying, admiring and enjoying the scenery with its wild plants and animals, as well as any existing cultural manifestations (both past & present)• Demand-Led, Market-Driven New or Alternate Tourism ProductBUT..... The concept omitted anything about the needs of the host countries or communities
Eco-Tourism: Current ConceptInternational Eco-Tourism Society: “Responsible travel that conserves natural environments & sustains the well-being of local people”IUCN “Environmentally responsible travel & visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy & appreciate nature (& any accompanying cultural features - both past & present) that: – promotes conservation & sustainable development – has low visitor impact, and – provides for beneficially active socio- economic involvement of local populations”
Nature of True Eco-Tourism ExperiencesAn Authentic Eco-Tourism Experience constitutes 4common elements:– The use of the natural environment (including cultural features of the environment), i.e. Enjoyment of nature– Education & Interpretation– Ecological & Cultural Sustainability, i.e. Conservation for continued future enjoyment– Benefits to the local community
Other Concepts Linked to Eco-Tourism• Nature Tourism• Eco-Community or Community Tourism• Soft Adventure Tourism• Green Tourism• Edutainment• Volunteer-Tourism• Eco-Lodge/Environment Friendly Tourism• Cultural & Heritage Tourism• Agro Tourism
The Eco-Tourism Sector: Size & Potential International Centre for Ecotourism Research, Griffith University, Aus. •Eco Tourism - 5% of the International Tourism Market Adventure Travel Society 2003 •Eco adventure has a sectoral annual growth rate of 10-15% US Travel Data Centre 2009UNWTO 2020 Forecast •78% of American travelers•International Arrivals 1.6 Billion consider themselves•Long Hall travellers 378 million “environmentally conscious”Early Studies by USTTA •54% believed that individuals•Nature Tourism expenditure - $12 themselves have the greatest billion in 1988, i.e. 7% of all responsibility for preserving and international travel earnings. In protecting the environment 1989 this figure jumped to 14 •They believe that travel service billion dollars, a 16.6% expansion. suppliers should be good stewards of their environment
Caribbean Tourism & Eco-Tourism• CTO member countries : 1% of the world’s population but attract 3% of global tourism arrivals & expenditure;• Dependent on Tourism to sustain livelihoods more than any other region of the world;• Tourism is the main foreign exchange earner & employs 1/3 of the labour force;• Eco-tourism offers an opportunity to bring benefits to the wider community.
Popular Eco-Tourism Products Eco Tourism deals with PRODUCT, MOTIVATION, MARKET SEGMENTATION ECO-TOURISM : EXPERIENCES/PRODUCTS/ ACTIVITYBird Watching River/Waterfall BathingWildlife Watching e.g. whales, Sightseeing to natural wonders e.g.turtles, monkeys etc. mountains, breathtaking sceneriesDiving e.g. deep sea, caverns, reefs Heritage Sites/Cultural Events(5-7 million divers worldwide)Hiking & Trekking Fishing e.g. fly-fishing/ bone-fishingKayaking/Canoeing Eco LodgingRafting/Tubing Marine, Animal, Ecology StudyHorseback Riding VolunteerismCycling Home-Stays/Local FoodsPhoto Safari CampingSailing Zip Line Tours
The Caribbean: Eco-Assets A Nature Lover’s Dream • Land & Sea National Parks • Landscape ranging from Volcanic mountains, lakes & limestone cliffs to lush green hills, mangrove swamps, deserts and forests • Rare native bird species - Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada • Wild Life Diversity • Accompanying Culture & Heritage
Top Eco-Tourism Branded Destinations in the Caribbean National Parks The Nature Island Rivers & Lakes of the Caribbean Among the top in Eco-Tourism Forests Bird Watching Pristine Marine Horseback Riding Environment TOBAGO: Canopy tours Eco-tourismCertified Eco-Lodges Rainforest Aerial Award Winner & Green Hotels Tram
Other Caribbean Destinations with Eco-Tourism Packages Caribbean islands 2000 Ecotourism Award for itsDense Forests, Rivers, Heritage Tourism ProgramWaterfalls, Rolling Hills Dominican Republic Waterfalls, Deserts Rich in Nature & Well Preserved Blue Holes, Creeks, Marine Reserves Biodiversity, Jungles, Picturesque Scenery, Rivers, Eco-Lodges National Park Volcano, Coral Reefs, Volcano, Fruits, Heritage Trail Flowers, Birds Eco Hotels & River Tours
CLEAR BLUE MARTINIQUE An environmentally friendly way to raise awareness about the protection of flora and fauna underwater while introducing the great sport kayakingACTIVITY:A 50-75 minute discovertour of a Banana Plantationin Martinique by Train;
The BEST OF DOMINICA through the EYES OF A COMMUNITYI am:• Beauty Unspoilt • Culture Preserved• A Hiker’s Paradise • Volcanic Peaks• Boiling Waters • Sparkling Waterfalls• Rushing Streams • Rainforest Canopies• Underwater Champagne Springs• The trailhead to adventure and discovery, unlike any other Caribbean destination;I am celebrations of Music, Art and Flowers I am Nature’s Island I am Dominica.
Eco-Tourism/Community Initiative in The CaribbeanCTO/EU/CRSTDP: Good Practices in Community-Based Tourism in the Caribbean (2003-2008)
GOOD PRACTICES:Portsmouth India River Tour Environmental impact management • Greater local appreciation ofMAIN ECOTOURISM ACTIVITY biodiversity;• A 1-mile guided up-river tour with • Stronger management of natural nature interpretation. resources;• Bush Bar en route for ‘dynamite rum’ • Improved infrastructure (retaining wall) to prevent erosion.MARKET Socio-Economic Impact Cruise Passengers; French Day Trippers • Significant impact on local livelihoods; from Martinique & Guadeloupe; Tour • Tour fees 2006 were US$80,000; Operators, Yachters, Tourists, Schools • Job creation and income-generation and Residents for river guides and souvenir vendors; • Reinvestment of profits into otherTOUR GUIDES local enterprises (e.g. housing30 male members who are certified tour construction & guest accommodation)guides and have local wooden boats. • Increase in skill levels in tour guiding, hospitality services, business management and organisational development.
ARGYLE WATERFALLS, TOBAGO Roxborough Estate Visitor Services CooperativeECOTOURISM ACTIVITY KEY LESSON LEARNT:• 20-minute walk along gently undulating • The use, development and nature trails through the rainforest to management of common property reach the waterfall with uniformed guides resources for community benefitMARKET can create new income-generating• Cruise Passengers; Domestic and Stay- activities and improve Over Visitors environmental management whenGOOD PRACTICE/IMPACT there is effective organisational• US$8,000/mth capacity at the community level• Trail upgrade• Profits shared: 16 members- 50% females• Guides are trained• Falls are well maintained and tourism impacts are managed by the cooperative• Garbage management introduced to reduce negative environmental impacts• Plans to diversify to offer –guest house, cocoa estate tour etc.
THE COMMUNITY BABOON SANCTUARY Bermudian Landing, Belize NOTEWORTHY • The Sanctuary has engineered a big increase in the Howler Monkey’s primate population and allowed other wild life to repopulate the area SCANTUARY OPERATION • Completely Community-run, Grassroots Conservation Operation managed by a group of women SIZE/LOCATION: 8 Villages along the Belize River Valley (20 sq. Miles), 30 miles from Belize City ENDANGERED SPECIES • Howler Monkey called BaboonsECOTOURISM ACTIVITIES:• Visitor Centre- Exhibits and • Croc Night Tour Wildlife History • Stay at Local Eco-Lodges/Bed• 1-hour guided nature tour- & Breakfast flora, fauna, medicinal plant • Eat Local Foods, Organic• River Canoe Tours livestock, Fruits & Vegetables• Night Hikes • Sale of local farm produce,• Birding (200 bird species) local souvenir, food• Horseback riding preserves, bags, embroidery
ALTERNATE LIVELIHOOD • From slash & burn farmers to Tilapia Backyard Farming • Organic VegetablesAerial Bridge • Organic Corn from farmers feed chickens • Pig rearing • Food preserves • Handicraft & embroidery TRAINING/OTHER GOOD PRACTICES • Land management • Alternate farming methods- mixing good farming practicesLocal Guide with the needs of wildlife ACHIEVEMENTS • Began in 1985 with 12 landowners in Bermudian Landing (assistance from WWF)Nature Resort • By 1988 there were 75 landowners in 7 villages • Now has 240 members • Howler population grew from 840 in 1985 to 1,000 in 1988 • Broad leaf forest and trees are protected (40-50 species) • Aerial bridges protect monkeys from traffic accidents Howler • Deers are reappearing and birds are more abundant (59 Monkey recorded in 1989 to 250 today) Lodge • 150 Children are given the tour annually
Caribbean Eco-Tourism: Enhancing Sustainable Development1. Revenues derived from:• Development of national and regional parks and reserves, as major attractions for tourists;• Utilizing archaeological and historic sites as tourist attractions which may have otherwise deteriorated or disappeared2. Increased environmental awareness among the local community3. Improvement of Environmental Quality4. Conservation of important natural areas and wildlife, including marine environments;5. Synergies and Linkages that occurs with other economic sectors and communities, e.g. with agriculture and with local groups
ECO-TOURISM & THE CARIBBEAN EXPERIENCE Protecting Natural Assets and Enhancing Sustainable Development in Small Economies COMMENTS & DISCUSSIONS Regional Policy Briefing no.7Building Resilience in Small Island Economies: From Vulnerabilities to Opportunities Hotel Victoria, Pointe aux Piments, Mauritius, 23-24 April 2012