International Development Planning Review

Valuation of environmental resources for tourism in small island developing states: Implications for planning in Jamaica

International Development Planning Review (2007), 29, (1), 93–112.

Abstract

The second half of the twentieth century has been characterised by a major divergence in economic performance between small island developing states (SIDS), and nowhere has this been more marked than in the Caribbean. Countries in that region with the highest growth rates have been those with the greatest investment in tourism. The tendency therefore has been for governments to place an increasing emphasis on this industry, especially in light of the declining role of agriculture in the region. In Jamaica, tourism is a priority in national plans and the trend has been towards mass tourism, with a high spatial concentration on the coastal zone. The demands of mass tourism for natural resources and environmental services are huge and have not been calculated in the cost of the industry against which the economic returns are balanced. This paper compares the contribution of the tourism industry to gross domestic product in Jamaica with a preliminary estimate of the environmental costs of the industry, as represented by the hotel sector, taking as basic indicators the usage of fresh water, the extent of waste absorption and of carbon dioxide sequestration.

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Author details

Thomas-Hope, Elizabeth

Jardine-Comrie, Adonna