Can Tobago Be A Sustainability Model?

In order for an economy to achieve sustainable development, the three pillars of sustainability must be adequately addressed i.e. the economic, social and environmental pillars. Due to their inherent reliance on environmental persistence and social stability, economies which thrive on sustainable forms of tourism such as ecological tourism, are good candidates for achieving sustainability.

In the case of Tobago economy, while there is work to be done to optimise the social and environmental pillars, this article will discuss possible strategies which can serve to optimise the economic sustainability of the Tobago tourism product.

Organise the Sector Stakeholders

A major vessel in the tourism space for capturing value is the group of MSMEs which operate in the various parts of the sector. I refer in particular to the various small scale operators such as taxi drivers, tour guides, transport rental companies and bed & breakfast inns which heavily influence the tourist experience and perception of the destination.

Establishing a registry of these actors can provide information on how many operators there are, what services they provide and where gaps lie. Such information can be very useful in formulating policy for the sector, with a view to maximising tourist spend. Beyond this, the registry could be leveraged to commit the tourist dollar to our coffers even before arrival, by making operator profiles publicly accessible online and facilitating online pre-payment for services.

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