The Bahamas has been a leader in destination branding for decades. One of the critical elements underpinning its brand identity is its pristine marine environment and wildlife, particularly
those associated with the cays. So I was very impressed to see the work this small nation is doing to ensure the sustainability of one of its most precious resources, The Exuma Cays. The Exuma Cays are a chain of about 50 small islands and hundreds of little cays in the central Bahamas.
My colleague, Dr. Simon McArthur of Total Tourism Solutions, is building a Sustainable Tourism Model for the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP). The project is the first of its kind in the
region and aims to provide an adaptive, fluid model for managing tourism across the Bahamas, starting with the Exuma Cays as a pilot area.
It is interesting that Dr. McArthur is developing a model, rather than a management plan. This is a new approach toward sustainable tourism. Dr. McArthur explains, “There is a tremendous difference between a management plan and a model. This is really a big shift for The Bahamas to take on as they are moving from the traditional and rather static form of tourism and visitor management to a more fluid and flexible model. The Model acknowledges that the tourism environment keeps changing and, so the model triggers management action when the data prompts the need – what we call adaptive management.”
The first two parts of the three part Sustainable Tourism Model for Exuma Cays has been placed on exhibition for all interested parties to critique and comment. If you are interested, you can review and comment on the report.
The natural environment underpins the brand identity and economy of thousands of destinations. Too few are taking steps such as these to ensure their sustainability and future prosperity.