The Beach Belongs to Us! Local perceptions of the high dollar tourism industry and coastal development in Barbados from an Environmental Justice perspective
Sammanfattning: Since the rise of the tourism industry in Barbados in the 1960s a vast emphasis has been placed on expanding high dollar luxury tourism that is targeted towards specific social and economic classes in order to maintain foreign exchange. The majority of this high dollar tourism development has been predominately concentrated on the diminishing western coastlines of Barbados. Moreover, the focus on expanding high dollar tourism in order to maintain the islands foreign exchange has arguably helped to maintain the islands economy and has provided employment opportunities for local residents. However this development trajectory appears to have come at a social-economic and environmental cost to local residents, which has not been adequately researched. Therefore, a series of semi-structured interviews with local residents and Sustainable Development Researchers were conducted and revealed that according to local residents perspectives the high dollar tourism industry has led to a number of injustices. These were cases of recognition injustices such as social conditioning and stereotyping, which has led to social divide, and given rise to social and cultural suppression. Several cases of distributive injustices were stated such as a loss of access to resources and environmental degradation leading to livelihood loss for fishermen, all of which are at potential risk of being exacerbated by climate change impacts. Another key finding was that the spaces that have been provided for local communities to contribute to the decision making processes behind the high dollar tourism coastal developments constitutes as a degree of tokenism. Overall there appears to be an ongoing suppression of local Barbadian community members in regards to the tourism industry where visitors needs have been prioritized within Barbados’s current development trajectory. There appears to be a great underlying need to empower local community members and strengthen cultural recognition as well as participation levels to work towards a more sustainable development trajectory.
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