Small Islands Voice Global Forum
Working together to develop a successful tourism strategy
The discussion on tourism policy and five star resorts in Seychelles has generated many responses from other islands in the Indian Ocean, as well as the Pacific and Caribbean regions. To read a summary of the outcome of these discussions, go to http://www.unesco.org/csi/smis/siv/Forum/summary3.htm , while the responses can be read in full at http://www.unesco.org/csi/smis/siv/Forum/Sey-tourism.rtf. Keep reading for some further views. The next article on this forum (13th May) will turn to a new subject Ė foreign investment in small islands.
Peter Jacobs writes about the problems of tourism in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which has been involved in the tourism industry for several years. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has moved from having one cruise ship arrival a month to about three per week. The treatment of tourists by some of our locals has now encouraged our present government to train special officers to patrol our beaches and nature resorts to stop the petty thieves. Education and personal development would stop some of this, but with an unemployment rate of 38% it is not difficult to imagine what will happen. Recently, villagers have being helping the police catch the people behind these crimes.
Tepa Suaesi says that in Samoa we do have the same host of problems, but we have developed an approach to help us advance solutions to these issues. Strong multi-disciplinary committees with representatives of government agencies, NGOs and wider communities are drawing up more consistent policies with respect to tourism, economic development and environmental action.
Along similar lines High Chief Vaasiliifiti Moelagi Jackson say that the Faasao
Savaii Society (Conservation and Environmental Society) is committed to make sure that the island of Savaii and the rest of Samoa continues to remain safe and beautiful to be enjoyed by our grand, and great-grand children in the future. At the same time I have travelled quite widely around the world and have seen how sad it is when other people let go of their country to be raped, and witness the devastation and destruction not only of their countries but their own people. I was involved in the Small Islands Developing States conference in Barbados in 1994 and was touched and got motivated even more to make sure that our islands will not fall prey to such acts of sin. For those who still have time and room to move, now is the time to act and to stand up to save your islands as we are doing here.
On the issue of favouring only large tourism investors in Zanzibar, Henry de Cuba says that we have the same problem here on our small island of Aruba in the Caribbean. Continuing with the same subject, Roland Alcindor of Seychelles notes:
this is an interesting subject that goes beyond the economic argument and calls in the question of fundamental human rights. Only through a human rights-based approach to development can governments of small islands resolve these issues. Until such an approach, based on human rights, becomes part of the day-to-day thinking of governments in small islands, then the experience of Zanzibar will be repeated in other islands. Reading the email on Zanzibar, reminds me actually of the topic on Seychelles and tourism as there are similarities given that 5-star tourist resorts are mostly developed by large rather than small and medium entrepreneurs.
Ilana Burness of Fiji touches on the next topic for this forum (foreign investment in small islands) and writes: Regarding tourism and investment in the Pacific, what I learnt in university when I studied tourism, was that investors in a country basically hire locals, and the earnings from the resort/tourism venture leak out of the country into the foreign country, which is basically called a leakage. Leakages impact on the local economy in the sense that the locals do not receive their fair share of the pie.
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