Monday, September 16, 2013

Blog 7: Pacific Islands & tourism

You are a planner contracted through New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You have been asked to spend three months designing a tourism strategy for a small Pacific Island nation of 250,000 people. What issues would you want to address, and what do you think would be the main approach of your strategy?


  1. Attracting tourists to a small island nation poses significant questions such as: what to do with waste that is generated from the extra people? What are the effects on natural resources in regards to the provision of fresh water?

    The implementation of low impact urban design principles will limit the effects of water and waste on the natural environment. For example, the harvesting of rainwater from the roofs of buildings can serve as an additional source of non-potable water uses for tourist developments. The use of on-site compost pits can be implemented to manage organic waste whilst inorganic waste will be limited by the use of local products rather than imported products which have packaging.

    Andrew Miller

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  3. The main issues that a tourism strategy for a small Pacific Island nation should address are geographical isolation, leakage of profits, waste production and management, and climate change and its associated issues; such as storms and sea-level rise. Any funding for major capital investments into tourism for island nations generally comes from other countries, meaning that most of the capital generated goes back offshore. Therefore, a tourism strategy could have a focus on ways to attract tourists who do not require major physical infrastructure to sustain them throughout their trip, methods to keep profits circulating in the local economy for as long as possible and promoting the unique nature of an island environment.

    Michaela Davidson

  4. The main issues that the strategy would address are the costs of tourism infrastructure provision and maintenance (roads, water systems, waste management, electricity, etc), specific objectives of international marketing, retention of tourism profits (so that retained profits exceed public cost of servicing tourism), and long-term responses to climate change (particularly sea level rises and extreme weather events). As the Pacific Island nation in question likely does not have much international leverage, the tourism strategy should work on a regional level, encouraging cooperation between other Pacific Island nations to develop and implement stronger responses to the issues identified.

    Tom Chi

  5. The issues include climate change or change in pattern of climate for example flood, drought, storm and natural disaster such as tsunami, waste management (particularly tourism waste), infrastructure, fresh water supply, local natural resource that tourists expected i.e. food supply, and geographical isolation of the island (cost of transportation and communication). The economy of Pacific Island nations largely depended on international trade and tourism, development in tourism sector might flourish local economy and employment opportunities. However, can destroy cultural identity and lead to resource overuse, pollution and issues identified above. The main approach of tourism strategy for a small pacific Island should provide a link between more commercialisation and maintaining the small scale. Support and promote the use of locals to keep profits circulate in local economy.

    Thidarat Samart

  6. Tourism is a low-wage economy. Promoting the development of the tourism industry in small-island nations, and preventing the migration of so many people to overseas employment, will require the development of systems that create opportunities for employees to move up the ladder. Current hierarchical cultural systems that operate within Pacific nations create barriers to self-progression if you are not within the correct circles. This strategy with focus on improving the local base of the tourism industry, by keeping people employed through the prospect of self-progression. This should allow for the rest of the industry to develop in turn – to deal with issues like environmental vulnerability, tourism reduction due to the global recession, and environmental degradation through policy and project directions (e.g.: experiences at the extremes – low-end and high-end; advertising the pacific way of life etc).
    Emma Chandler
    ID: 2920994

  7. The strategy will seek to address competition and select environmental issues. Firstly, there are many competing pacific island holiday destinations. If this strategy is to be successful, it must provide tourists with something different. Secondly, tourism in the pacific islands presents environmental challenges such as access to fresh water and food, power (mostly dependent on diesel generators!), and waste (e.g. toxins entering the ocean). The main approach of this strategy is to market a ‘green’/’sustainable’ tourist destination. This will involve zero waste resorts, conservation and wildlife activities, and other low impact outdoor activities.
    “Restore yourself while restoring your planet”.
    Kahlia Jemmett (2313174)

  8. The main issues are: can the local resource pit cope with the addition of tourists? Will the current infrastructure cope with a higher demand and if not would offshore investments to improve this infrastructure create profit for internationals and not locals? (i.e. internationally run taxi/bus/ferry companies, hotels, car hire, eateries)

    My main approach would not be to remedy or mitigate the issues above but to control and avoid them. I would find out what type of tourists the island would attract then focus on areas that could sustain and accommodate these predictions whilst also being attractive to tourists (i.e. accessibility from airport and distance from current local infrastructure). I would ensure that the local shop keepers, taxi drivers and backpacker etc. would be involved throughout the implementation of strategy and have early opportunities to seek investment and land acquisition to ensure that the locals profit and control their Island’s tourism.

    John McCall

  9. Pacific Island nations face issues such as environmental vulnerability in relation to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, geographical isolation, loss of profit offshore due to imports required and ability of infrastructure to deal with increased usage.
    To approach these issues the strategy would focus on encouraging young workers to stay on the island through providing a range of steady employment opportunities in which they can work their way up the career ladder, to gain more skills, income etc.
    This approach will reduce the issues of maintenance providing more careers in project co-ordination, construction and further tourism based careers. This will decrease the impact of natural disasters due to increased national wealth as income will circulate within the local economy, overall, creating a more independent and competitive nation in the tourism industry.

    Sophie Waldron

  10. Small island nations benefit from tourism strategies as they help to identify how limited natural and human resources will be most effectively managed. In this situation, the strategy should consider how factors associated with tourism can have long term implications on the country’s environment and economy. This can include:
    • infrastructure issues, such as the capacity of the country’s existing networks to support increased tourist numbers.
    • Sustainable management of natural resources (ie. Coral reefs) which become drawcards for foreign tourists.
    • management plans for how to respond to natural disaster, which are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change.

    The main approach of the strategy would be to deliver a distinct tourism style that differentiates itself from those of nearby island nations. Ideally it would support an approach to tourism that celebrates sustainable resource management, such as the ‘eco-tourism’ and ‘soft adventure’ models.

    Sebastian Clarke

  11. Blog 7

    A tourism strategy in a small island nation shall start with the resources that are already present in the island and finding ways to maximise those resources while taking urban sustainability principles into account. The resources will start from the people of the small island nation and how they can work collectively in advertising tourism that is affordable sustainable and enjoyable. The tourism strategy will work to benefit both tourists and the economy of the island by employing residents, using already existent businesses and creating opportunities for future generations. That will be my main issue; in addition to that the strategy will seek to address ways to sustainably manage the natural resources that are used for tourist purposes. Natural resources that should be protected include fresh water, food and other aquatic organisms (from activities, fishing, etc). Waste should be managed to not affect these resources and a waste management plan will definitely be put into the plan.

    Zak Nasir

  12. In order to be competitive, the main approach to be taken when developing this tourism strategy is creating unique experiences for tourists that are different than other surrounding islands, i.e. Samoa focusing on the Fale experience to differentiate themselves. In order to achieve this, the following issues would need to be addressed; Unique landscapes and climates are often the most attractive to tourists, therefore due to isolated nature of islands in the Pacific and having a limited resource base (natural and human capital), it is crucial to manage these resources sustainably. Management plans for the negative effects of climate change and natural disasters would also need to be put in place. Tourists expect at least basic services and infrastructure to be accessible (roads, sewage systems, running water), therefore, providing these facilities is also another issue to be addressed.

    Pearce, D. G. 2008. Tourism planning in small tropical islands: methodological considerations and development issues in Samoa Études Caribeénnes [e-journal], 9-10 Available through:

    Victoria Bell

  13. Generally speaking, Pacific Islands tend to provide similar tourism experiences. In order to be competitive, the strategy should be able to differentiate this particular Pacific Island from the rest. This can be done in two ways:
    - firstly, the strategy should identify aspects of the culture or environment that could be marketed into unique tourist attractions. This would provide the island with focal points to base their services around. It would also enhance the identity of the island as a whole.
    - secondly, the strategy should look at ways to improve tourist experience by improving the quality and innovativeness of common amenities found in all tourist destinations. For example, instead of just having rubbish bins placed around the island, sustainable tourism activities could also be developed for tourists to take part in.

    Tianhang Liu

  14. The need to plan for tourism on islands is especially crucial given their limited size and resource base. Small islands smallness and isolation often hinder the development potential of the island and make society and the economy particularly vulnerable to the changes which tourism may bring. This can have an impact on the islands infrastructure, resources, and environmental management.

    An appropriate aspect of tourism planning is marketing. Tourism strategies must market the island to maximize the islands potential creating a comparative advantage over other island nations. Increasing island tourism means that individual island destinations are facing increasing competition over the same products. Tourism strategies must develop on the islands uniqueness to create a distinctive edge.

    Grace Wilson


  15. Climate change (sea-level rise, storms), migration, geographical isolation, profit leakage, infrastructure provision and maintenance, are some of the main issues being faced by Pacific Island nations. In order to implement a successful tourism strategy, these issues must be addressed. The main approach of the strategy would be to work with the communities on a local and regional level to deliver beneficial outcomes for tourists, tourist operators and the environment. The strategy should include aspects that are unique to the nation in order to create a distinctive and attractive experience for potential tourists. Overall the strategy should have a focus on sustainable management practices.

    Tsvetina Arabadzhieva

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  17. In designing a tourism strategy for a small Pacific Island nation there are a number of issues to be addressed. These are outlined below:
    • Resource provision- tourist require high levels of fresh water and electricity- the countries existing infrastructure must have sufficient capacity to cater for peak demand
    • Sustainable management of natural resources- small island nations lack distinctive attractions other than beaches and coral reefs and as a result these need to be kept pristine to attract tourists
    • Waste management- tourists bring excess waste which combined with pressure on sewage systems pose a threat to the natural environment.
    The best approach for this small island nation is to provide a unique experience for tourists. An ideal way to achieve this is through “supplementary alleviation”. This involves adding other experiences to the expected. Examples of these are village visits, cultural shows, treks and local markets.

    Kirsten Wood

    Harrison, David. "PRO-POOR TOURISM IN PACIFIC ISLAND STATES? THE ISSUES." Intracen. n.d. (accessed September 29, 2013).

  18. Because of the location and environmental vulnerability of the Pacific Islands, nations such as Samoa are at the forefront of much of the world’s major issues; providing a snapshot of how climate change (sea-level rise, high resource-consumption, pollution and loss of biodiversity) affects their society. In order to enhance the state of the environment, viable policies made about tourism needs to draw upon the positive impacts in the involvement of visitors, industries and communities who are dependent on tourism. A balanced public/private partnership would be strategic in the involvement of the visitor’s experience. A low-impact approach would improve the quality of infrastructure and amenities, for example, towards more eco-friendly/zero-waste resorts, destinations and activities.

    • Source:
    Knight-Lenihan, S. J., (2013). Planning 332 - Lecture 07: Pacific Island Planning - Samoa Case Study. Planning 332 – Comparative Planning (Elective Special Topic). University of Auckland – National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, Auckland, New Zealand, unpublished

    Andrew Poon
    (ID: 5691154)

  19. Small island nations face issues that can be addressed by a conservation strategy. Typically, these islands experience issues such as a vulnerability to climate change (including storms and floods), waste production, and lack of adequate infrastructure to meet the surge of tourists each year.
    Tourism can put pressure on limited resources available on small island nations. The pristine environment and soft adventure activities are tourist attractors that make these nations a preferred destination over other competing islands.

    A conservation strategy would be an approach to the protection of the environment in small island nations so that they continue to attract tourism. This would include working with resort owners in the promotion of minimal waste generation, soft adventure activities, and an emphasis on highly sufficient infrastructure.

    Teresa George 5453260

  20. A small island nation tourism strategy needs to incorporate the environmental impact of its own success to ensure its economic and environmental sustainability.
    The major issues that would need to be addressed are:
    - Waste Management
    - Low Impact Urban Design
    - Contamination of water bodies
    - Appropriate infrastructure
    These issues need to be considered in an over-arching strategy that incorporates all aspects and places an emphasis on avoidance rather than mitigation. This would reduce the need for more expensive systems later on. The financial cost of these should take into consideration the longevity of the benefits provided rather than the initial upfront cost.
    Thomas Morrison

  21. In small pacific island Nations, tourism plays an integral part of the economy, however several issues arise due to the nature of the physical and natural environment. These issues include climate change; which in itself has many associated issues, smaller economies, prone to natural disasters, and a need for massive infrastructure improvement if tourism advances.

    The strategy should approach tourism in way that allows for the protection of the environment. In term, issues such as climate change can be addressed. Rising sea levels, flood and contamination of fresh water supplies can be reduced leading to a more sustainable outcome, benefiting both tourism and the local people.

    Alvin Jung

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  23. Issues that Pacific islands faces are climate changes, sea level raise, natural disasters and reliance on tourism economy. Thus planning for tourism in small pacific island needs to take conservative strategies that maximize the profits.

    Pacific islands due to their location and size have limited resources, infrastructures and manpower. Therefore it is important to control amount of tourism coming into the island so that tourist are served well by the local services (infrastructure and people). This means that the number of tourist should not exceed what the island itself can handle. In addition controlling the number of tourism into the island reduces human impacts to the natural environment. (e.g. tourism waste). The island should aim to attract more high-income tourist that benefits the economy. Therefore it needs to provide a unique traveling experience, which is different from other island

    William XU (2975020)

  24. The issues I wish to address for a Pacific Island in a tourism strategy is firstly the way of attracting tourists to the specific Pacific Island, and secondly approach the waste tourists produce. The main approach of the tourism strategy is to market the soft tourism nature of the Pacific Island in a way that is distinctive to the numerous islands and tropical places around the world which serve as competition. The main approach for the second issue of the tourism strategy is to manage the rubbish produced by tourists through the source of food. This means providing tourists with locally produced fresh food which requires less packaging and transport than imported food sources.

    Hannah Miln

  25. Attracting tourists to small Pacific Island nations of around 250,000 people can facilitate a number of alarming issues. The main issues that need to be addressed are most importantly the effect the increase of people will have on sustaining resources such as coral reefs, ecosystems and water, issues such as pollution, contamination are among the noted impacts. Further issues include the capability of local waste management systems to deal with large numbers of people, and the disruption of local culture it could cause.

    An appropriate tourism strategy that does not impact these small Pacific Island nations as much must: Plan tourism development in conjunction with the environment’s ability to regenerate and sustain economic activities in the long term, Utilise local resources and labour in a way that combats the proposed issues, protect the diverse range of biological species and natural resources to enhance the experience for tourists in a way that does not degrade them, and finally employ a integrated approach with professionals and locals to ensure a greater response to the issues identified.

    Kayla Versey

  26. Tourism is one of if not the main economic driver for many island nations, however competing with other island destinations to attract tourists is becoming difficult. Ofcourse, attracting more tourists raises other issues such as the amount of resources available, lack of infrastructure and to issues like waste management etc...In that attracting more tourists may be economically beneficial but if the island and infrastructure is not able to absorb the strain of having an increased number of people, it could serve to be more detrimental than beneficial.
    Marketing has an important role in attracting tourists. Identifying the restrictions and limitations of the island and then developing a marketing strategy around it is a much more sustainable approach to mass marketing strategies. Also tapping into luxury travel and using the environmentally sustainable angle to cater for a market that seeks exclusivity and is willing to pay for it.

    Jacinta Naicker

  27. To preserve the natural character of the costal environment could be the main strategy to promote tourism for a small Pacific Island, because that is the main purpose why people will choose to visit. Another issue from my perspective need to concern managing the landscape and visual amenities that provide the visitor with a unique cultural and environmental experience.
    As small island countries may be unable to meet the challenges of conventional mass tourism, and may be better suited to “ecotourism” to a specialized niche market (Escap Tourism Review, 2003). The main approach for the tourism of small Tropical Islands should be ecologically driven and enhanced by its culture identity.

    Li Tianhang

  28. If I was designing a tourism strategy for a small Pacific Island with a population of 250k the priority issues for me would have to be:
    • Waste, how will this be addressed?? How is waste dealt with now and how affected will tourism make it, treatment of sewage and landfills
    • Space for accommodation, where will potential tourists be located? Near towns or in remote areas? Accommodation types available, low cost/budget, middle of the road or high-end? Services/activities, jet skis, parasailing, fishing, hiking, none, etc.
    • Natural hazards and disasters, what is the islands ability to cope with natural disaster events? Any natural hazards people need to be aware of before arrival, volcanoes, tsunamis, flooding, diseases malaria, etc
    • Infrastructure, roads, telephones/mobile coverage, internet, hospitals/doctors will they cope with an increase in local population when tourists arrive? Car rentals available to them, driver licencing? Enough doctors or medical people if something happens. Means of evacuation to a larger hospital or to the mainland if needed?
    • Food supply and Water how stable are these and how far can they be stretched. If you offered fishing as an activity will that affect the local food supply. Will outside food be imported to cater for tourists? Again the waste created from packaging, how will that be dealt with? Water how many sources of fresh water are there? Is it adequate to cater for an increase in population bearing in mind that many people from western cultures have no real idea on water saving!!
    • Electricity and fuel how will these be dealt with? Will there be electricity in the tourist accommodation? Does the island have the ability to generate its own power? Fuel for vehicles or generators?
    • Skilled population will there be enough people on the island with the training and skills needed for the hospitality and tourism industry? Will they need to bring people in? What languages can the islanders speak? Being able to communicate with tourists is important
    • Environment what will the affects on the environment be? Pollution, over fishing, degradation of eco-systems, visual and amenity value of coastlines, bush and other sensitive environments on the Island. Climate Change and its long term effects, rain water harvesting, desalinisation especially if there are droughts.
    My main approach would have to be sustainability. Looking at what exists on the island and what is could cope with, while minimising any adverse effects.

    Leonie Mullions

  29. Courtney Bennett 1807922October 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    In designing a tourism strategy for a small island nation I would have to address would be ensuring that the culture of the island is not marginalized by business, adequate infrastructure, sensible waste strategies, environmental protection and the creation of a niche market.
    The main approach to my strategy would be to clearly define what makes the island in question different from other island destinations. This might be specific natural features that are unique to the island such as waterfalls, surf beaches, black sand, hot pools, mountains or wildlife. It could also be based around the culture eg. unique art practices, food, dance or traditions. I would then build upon these and create a tourism strategy that highlights them and positions infrastructure around them (or away from them if that better preserved them for tourism eg. natural features)

  30. In small Pacific Island Tourism, the growth of mass tourism for many of the negative effects, at least in part through social, culture, economic and physical impacts. These are serious constrains to growth and development, which including:
    • Rising tourism have caused increased intense crowing and utility breakdown
    • The spread of infectious diseases and epidemics
    • Difficult and costly for human resource and public services due to size and location
    A tourism strategy for small pacific island nation is focusing on the human resources and public services and the role played in improvement of local living standards. The importance of cooperation development between public and private sectors as planning and management approaches can be used in reducing adverse effects. The public sector depends on private investors to provide services and to finance the construction of tourism facilities. Additional, cooperative between different levels of government is also requires in small island tourism partnership.

    Source: Yorghas, A. & Dennis, J., ‘Island Tourism and Sustainable development: Caribbean, Pacific and Mediterranean Experiences’, London.