The impact of tourism on the physical environment has both negatively and positively affected the natural resources of Caribbean countries. Over the years more people are engaging in eco-tourism which forces the people of a county to preserve its wild life, flora and fauna, which are seen as tourism assets. When fees are charge to visit the preserved tourism assets of a country it assists to generate funds to aid in maintenance and protection of the tourism assets. Therefore tourist interest in ecotourism can be sustained for the country. Negatively, the tourists can have a destructive effect on a country’s ecological system. The Caribbean has coral reefs which are infamous for containing rare species of animal life. By tourist engaging in the water activities such as diving and snorkelling, they are directly affecting the endangered species which will seek to migrate when there habitat is being invaded. The endangered species may also die. In addition engaging in water sports will cause physical damage to the coral reef which will destroy it.
Economically tourism has significantly played a major role in the development of many Caribbean countries. Due to tourism, of jobs have an abundance been created in the Caribbean directly and indirectly. According to (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2012) In 2011 Travel and Tourism accounted for 614,000 jobs in the Caribbean directly from the Travel and tourism industry, this figure is expected to increase by 1.7% in 2012. The creation of jobs provides an income and the multiplier effect comes into play whereas those persons who are directly employed to the tourism industry will eventually spend their income for it to circulate in the country’s economy until it is leaked. The leakage concept states that money generated by one country is lost to another. Leakage occurs in Caribbean tourism in many forms, one of which includes chain hotels owned by foreign investors sending back profits to their home countries so the majority of the income does not remain in the Caribbean. Caribbean counties heavily depend on tourism for economic viability; this can be change within a day with natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes which can destroy roads, airports, hotels, because tourism is the main source of income for some Caribbean countries this would leave them helpless.
Tourism encourages the public and private sectors of a country to build and improve tourism infrastructures (roads, hotels, airports etc.), leisure amenities (gyms, clubs, etc.). By doing this the local people benefits since they are able to use it for themselves even though it was intend for the tourist. Tourism inspires the local people to preserve their traditional customs, festivals, and cuisines since tourists are interested in culture. The culture of the Caribbean are often times sold by the local community members especially areas where the tourist resorts are found. This helps the community members to generate an income for themselves and their families, from which the government can increase tax revenues for the country. Though community tourist benefits the locals there are still negative impacts associated with community tourism. This includes, invasion of privacy by foreigners, drugs can be brought into the community or sold to tourist there which shows the country in a negative light. The morals and values of local people can be lost through adaption of the foreigner’s culture.
The relationship of tourism to the economy of Caribbean countries can be described as developing. The Caribbean is seen as the most tourism dependent region in the world, with the tourism sector contributing to 36% of the GDP (Caribbean Region: Tourism, n.d.). There are over 900,000 persons directly and indirectly employed to tourism industry according to the (Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), 2002). This figure contributes significantly to the growth of the GDP since employment will help to increase the standard of living for individuals. With tourism industry thriving for Caribbean countries others sectors that are linked to the tourism industry can benefit from the productivity such as the agriculture sector. There are however some challenges that the Caribbean tourism sector is facing. The tourism sectors of the Caribbean need to be more competitive in order to stay on top since more countries are turning to tourism as a feasible option to boosts their economy. Tourism is a capital intensive activity which Caribbean countries rely heavily on, therefore it is essential to consider these keys variable of tourism as it relates to the Caribbean economies: the impact on GDP, Inter-sectoral impacts, balance of payments, Investment, Government revenue.
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/ Rita kennedy no date