The Environment and Tourism in the Caribbean
Mainly, Caribbean ecological resources are basic and natural, including sand, sun, and the sea. Apart from the sun, the resources are subject to damage and depletion, as threats can arise from both within and outside the region. Typically, the magnitude of damage caused by minor to severe threats hurts the entire endowed resources (Price et al., 2020). For instance, waste disposal and directing untreated water into the sea affect living organisms in the Islands that attract tourists. Caribbean Island relies on sea-sand and sun tourism, making a mon-product area. Furthermore, these supporting endowments are subject to exhaustion.
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The Importance of Tourism Economy in the Caribbean
In the Caribbean, tourism is a vital element of the economy, especially where services count for more than 80% of the GDP. Impacts transmitted by tourism to the local economy are enormous, starting with wages paid for labor, sales of local goods and services, and taxes. The tourist industry has a high propensity to import commodities that are consumed through the activities involved. Consequently, the country’s economy is supported through foreign exchange (Cannonier & Burke, 2019). Business investing in tourism gives the local government opportunity to make income through taxes.
For many years, the Caribbean economy has relied on agriculture to support itself and generate income for the nation. Unfortunately, the recent decline in agriculture performance in certain crops such as sugar, bananas, or vanilla has caused a significant impact. Owing to tourism Caribbean economy overcomes the problem through money earned from tourist services (Price et al., 2020) Tourism has brought enlightenment to the economy, especially in addressing environmental issues. The Caribbean has fallen victim to some tragedies over the past decades, such as earthquakes or hurricanes. During such time, travelers have helped the region adjust through tourism money.
Why Does the Physical Geography of the Caribbean Attract Tourists?
The Caribbean’s physical geography makes the region a prime location for tourists. Features such as warm coastal waters and climate, mountains, volcanoes, and many islands draw people from everywhere to the region. Typically, the Caribbean has over 7000 islands that are tiny rocky pieces of land, and others are full of corals (Cannonier & Burke, 2019). The largest Islands are Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola. In most islands, mountains and volcanoes are common features that attract people.
Most features in the Caribbean geography attract visitors for tourism and sporting activities. On the beaches, tourists enjoy the view of the sea while others prefer rainforests where they can hike, practice canopy rides, or zip-lining (Cannonier & Burke, 2019). Certain sides of the Jamaican and Virgin Islands have greenery of the forest, while underneath the waters, the Caribbean is full of coral reefs rich in marine life.
Environmental Issues impacting the Caribbean’s Viability of Tourism Economy
In the coastal regions, climate change influences water volume such that rising sea levels make beaches submerge. Travelers who enjoy such sites get discouraged while the cost of protecting and maintaining waterfronts goes high (Sheller 2020). Surge storms are a risk to tourism facilities and hinder activities such as surfing. Due to precipitation, water shortage creates competition between tourism and other sectors, while desertification triggers wildfires threatening infrastructures. Sometimes flooding is common due to heavy precipitation, pausing the risk of damage to tourism facilities such as historic assets.
Surface temperatures cause an increased coral bleaching and degradation of marine resources. Thus, tourist activities in affected places are limited. Climate change affects the loss of natural attractions or available species and possibly causes outbreaks of diseases (Sheller, 2020). It discourages tourism activity in Caribbean areas. Sometimes soil changes moisture levels due to higher temperatures, leading to the loss of archeologic assets or natural resources that attract tourists.
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Negative Impacts of Tourism Economy on the Caribbean Environment
Attractive landscape sites such as lakes, mountains, or slopes are transitional areas. A typical impact of tourism is the disruption of the ecosystem where living organisms mutually interact. Tourism causes severe pollution in terms of air, noise, land, and water. Solid waste is common and in large concentrations. Sewages pollute the sea or ocean, an acute threat to coral reefs (Price et al., 2020). Land degradation in the Caribbean is common due to the need to construct tourism facilities of infrastructure. Forests suffer negative impacts as well.
Cannonier, C., & Burke, M. G. (2019). The economic growth impact of tourism in Small Island Developing States—evidence from the Caribbean. Tourism Economics, 25(1), 85-108. Web.
Price, M., Rowntree, L., Lewis, M., & Wyckoff, W. (2020). Globalization and Diversity: Geography of a Changing World (6th ed.). Pearson.
Sheller, M. (2020). Reconstructing tourism in the Caribbean: Connecting pandemic recovery, climate resilience and sustainable tourism through mobility justice. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1-14. Web.