A publication that explores how tourism can facilitate growth, create jobs and improve livelihoods in small island developing states was launched in Washington DC on 12 October 2013. The launch took place during the Small States Forum at the World Bank headquarters.
The book, ‘Tourism and Inclusive Growth in Small Island Developing Countries’ was produced jointly by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the World Bank.
The book provides deep analysis of the direct and indirect ways through which gains from tourism are achieved, discusses the main challenges facing the industry, and proposes recommendations for policy action.
It uses data from Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and other small states.
Speaking during the launch event, Dr Mark Hampton, one of the co-authors, said one of the main challenges they found during the study was lack of quality data on tourism activities in small states.
“There is serious need to build credible statistical information about tourism resources, expenditure and benefits to allow for robust evidence-based policy decision making. That will help policymakers to look beyond headline figures of the number of tourists who visited the country in a given period, to a more specific examination of what the numbers mean to the economy,” said Dr Hampton.
He also said that the all-inclusive cruise ship model of tourism common in most small island states is not creating enough jobs for local people and linkages with the national economies, as the cruise ships provide most of the services on board.
“One way to address this is the need for a policy rethink on the strategy, and encourage innovation about other options for tourism development, including a proper audit of other tourist attractions beyond sun, sea and sand,” Dr Hampton said.
Seychelles Finance Minister Pierre Laporte, who also spoke at the launch, said it is important for tourism to create linkages with other sectors of the economy and local businesses if its full potential is to be realised.