The Trouble with our Ocean

Seascape Research and Education sre at
Fri Nov 17 13:48:26 EST 2000

Dear Peter,

That is a very good point, and it is a problem that we in the Grenadines
are now wrestling with, since we are still relatively young in our
development of tourism.  

I am of the belief that it is not so much whether we will get the tourism
dollar or not, but where that tourism dollar comes from.  Sure, we could
try to go mass tourism, and it is true that for the mass tourist passing
through on a cruise ship or at an all inclusive resort (ie. the first time
snorkeller or Resort Diver), the health of the reef really doesn't matter,
because they have never seen any different.  As a dive instructor I've
taken students out to our "worst" reef for training, and watched their eyes
light up with joy.  

However, how much money do these tourists really bring into the country,
and how much of that money stays in the country.  We must compare this type
of market to that of the seasoned travellers.  Those who know what a
pristine environment (ie reef) is like and expect to spend their dollars
visiting such a place.  Those are the individuals who will return to a
place if they like it year after year.  They will stay for extended periods
of time and spend significantly more money per person.  Also, a larger part
of their tourist dollar will be spent directly in the local community,
rather than to a specific resort or all inclusive.  They also tend to be
more aware of the environment and of cultural concerns, which is a great
plus to sustainability in both areas.  

I think to solve the problem of which way is better, we must not only
consider the gross income, but also where the funds are going, and how
sustainable the system is, physically (ie environmentally), economically
and socially.  

I think you can guess which way I would prefer :-)  

(If anyone out there know any studies/papers which speak to this issue, I
would appreciate receiving any references.)  


Kurt Cordice
General Coordinator
Seascape Research and Education

At 08:12 PM 11/16/00 -0800, you wrote:
> "From an economic standpoint, I'm not sure that a
>live reef is worth much more than a dead one.  Most
>first time snorkelers...(the majority of the market)do
>not know the difference.  They see a few fish, they
>lie in the sun.  It's just another day at the beach."
>-Journalist Joel Simon, author of "Endangered Mexico:
>An Environment on the Edge" after visiting Cancun.
>Thats the problem with reef ecotourism economics--for
>those whose sole motivation for protecting reefs is
>tourism dollars, it doesn't really matter how healthy
>the reef is as long as the dollars keep coming. 
>Solutions anyone?
>Peter Burnside
>Dear Ursula--I sympathize with you but would point out
>that in the 
>Keys, the water turned green and we still have those
>who would deny 
>that there
>is a problem.  Sure the nutrients can't be traced to
>the reef--its in 
>the green
>water...and the algal blooms.....etc. .     Regards,
>DeeVon Quirolo, 
>Director,  Reef Relief
>Ursula Keuper-Bennett wrote:

Kurt Cordice
General Coordinator
Seascape Research and Education
Mt. Pleasant
Bequia, St. Vincent
West Indies
Phone:  784 458 3931
Email:  sre at

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