Adapting to Climate Change in Saint Lucia's Tourism Industry

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About This Project

As the climate continues to warm, the length and quality of tourism seasons will change. Small Island Developing States are among those most vulnerable to climate change. Saint Lucia relies on tourism for 40% of its GDP. This research will assess the short, medium, and long-term climate change risks to tourism, and interview tourism stakeholders to determine policy responses. The identification of adaptation needs will be used to inform Saint Lucia’s National Adaptation Plan.

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What is the context of this research?

Since climate determines the length of tourism seasons, and changes environmental conditions that attract tourists, the industry is one of the most climate sensitive. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are the most vulnerable to climate change. Saint Lucia, like all SIDS, will face impacts of climate change including sea level rise and intense weather events. Despite the economic contribution of tourism in Saint Lucia (39.6% GDP), tourism is not listed as an area of concern in the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. It is unknown if it will be included in the National Adaptation Plan, but news reports have not named it as a concern. Tourism sector vulnerability is a blind spot in the development of a climate-resilient economy.

What is the significance of this project?

The project will assess the climate change risk to tourism in Saint Lucia and the implications for its competitiveness within the Caribbean market. The identification of adaptation needs can be used to inform Saint Lucia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP), for which tourism is not listed as a concern. The results can be used to inform future policy and planning, and can inform tourism operators to allow them to plan tourism locations with regard to the impacts of climate change. Overall, this research will aid in protecting a vital industry in Saint Lucia against climate change. SIDS in the Caribbean are projected to experience similar impacts of climate change, so this research can be applied to the NAPs and tourism planning and policy of other nations.

What are the goals of the project?

Objectives: The purpose of this research is to advance the understanding of risks posed by climate change and climate policy for tourism in Saint Lucia. This will be accomplished through four research objectives: (1) Assess the known short-term, medium-term, and long-term climate change risks to tourism on Saint Lucia and their relative timeframes based on scientific literature; (2) Assess the implications of these risks for tourism planning and policy now and over the decades when the impacts are anticipated; (3) Conduct interviews with tourism stakeholders regarding awareness of climate change risks for tourism, and potential responses; and (4) Interpret the implications of adaptation options identified by tourism stakeholders for tourism development on Saint Lucia.

Budget

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Return airfare from Toronto to Saint Lucia costs $400

Housing for 2 weeks, at a rate of $50/night, will cost $700

Food for 2 weeks will cost $200

Transportation from the airport in Saint Lucia will cost approximately $100/trip, because the international side of the airport is on the opposite side of the island from the capital and most of the tourism industry

Phone and internet, required to complete my research and contact interviewees, will coast $150 for two weeks

Endorsed by

I had the pleasure of meeting Megan Sutton at the World Tourism Forum in Lucerne, where she was invited as part of the prestigious Young Talents Programme. She is proposing a project that will protect the vulnerable tourism industry in Saint Lucia, and the tourism industry throughout the Caribbean. Tourism relies heavily on climate, and yet very little research has gone into the impact that climate change will have on the industry. This research is long overdue and will address this critical research gap.

Flag iconProject Timeline

Objective #1 was completed in October 2017.

Objective #2 will be completed by January 2018.

Objective #3 will be completed when I travel to Saint Lucia in February, 2018.

Objective #4 will be completed upon my arrival back in Toronto, beginning March 2018 and completed that same month.

Nov 24, 2017

Project Launched

Jan 07, 2018

Complete Objective #2

Feb 05, 2018

Travel to Saint Lucia & complete objective #3

Mar 31, 2018

Complete Objective #4

Meet the Team

Megan Sutton
Megan Sutton
MA Candidate

Affiliates

University of Waterloo
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Megan Sutton

I am a 24 year old Master of Arts candidate at the University of Waterloo in Canada. I am passionate about advancing tourism sustainability around the world, and particularly how tourism-dependent nations can adapt to climate change. I am an excellent student, achieving an 'A' average at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

My academic success and dedication to sustainable tourism was recognized with my selection for a full travel and conference fees award to attend the World Tourism Forum hosted in Lucerne. This international ‘Young Talents’ competition is very competitive and invites only 10 graduate students to attend the conference after a rigorous application process that includes an aptitude test designed to assess potential in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

Methodology:

This research employs a multi-staged qualitative research method that aims to understand the projected risks and vulnerabilities of Saint Lucia’s tourism industry. First, a literature review will be undertaken to assess the known climate change risks to tourism on the island and their relative timeframes based on scientific and grey literature. This step will summarize the magnitude of impact expected, under what climate change scenario, and the associated uncertainties. These risks will then be compared to when each will impact tourism. Potential adaptation strategies and information on tourism marketing segments will be compiled. This will allow an understanding of the vulnerability of the tourism markets to mitigation policy and environmental change (Objective #1). Second, the research will undertake an assessment of the implications of these risks for tourism planning and policy both now and over the decades when the impacts are anticipated (Objective #2). Third, interviews will be conducted with island stakeholders regarding awareness, concern regarding climate change, and potential responses (Objective #3). Finally, the research will interpret the implications of adaptation options uncovered for Objective #3 and what it will mean for tourism development on Saint Lucia (Objective #4).



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