Sustainable Tourism: Capacity
Building & Educational Needs
Dr. Acolla Lewis-Cameron
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine,
Trinidad
Outline
Analyse the unique context of SIS
 Examine the role of education in achieving
sustainable tourism development
 Explore specific tourism educational needs
 Recommend ways in which tourism
education can contribute to sustainable
tourism development in SIS

SIS- A Unique Contet

The tourism industry in many SIS is the
mainstay of the local economies with a
significant degree of foreign ownership

The small scale of an island’s physical
resources cause it to be far more
susceptible to the negative effects of mass
development and greatly increased usage
which tourism brings
Economic Dependence

Tourism is often times the only or one of (2)
activities that sustains these economies

The share of tourism in GDP ranges from a 1/3
to ½ for most islands

It is the main generator of employment for the
region – (1) in every (4) jobs
Foreign Dominance

Capitalisation of government incentives by
transnationals – tax-free concessions
◦ Loss of control over local resources
◦ Lack of planning

Excessive foreign exchange leakages
◦ Poor linkages in the local economies
Fragile Natural Environment
Waste water discharge from hotels & cruise
ships
 Destruction of coral reefs e.g. Cayman
Islands
 Construction of tourist facilities in
environmentally sensitive areas e.g. Maracas
Beach, Montego Bay Airport
 Beach erosion; dumping of waste
 Impact of climate change & natural disasters
e.g. hurricanes

The Sustainability Challenge

Creating & maintaining a sustainable
tourism society is a major challenge for
SIS in the face of
◦ Overdependence on tourism
◦ Negative effects of climate change
◦ Depletion of natural resources
Sustainable Tourism

“Tourism which is developed & maintained in
an area (community, environment) in such a
manner & at such a scale that it remains
viable over an indefinite period & does not
degrade or alter the environment (human &
physical) in which it exists to such a degree
that it prohibits the successful development
& well being of other activities & processes”
(Butler, 1993:29)
Tradeoffs among the Three Main objectives
of Sustainable Development
Economic
Efficiency
Social Equity
Preservation of the
Environment
Education for Sustainable
Development (ESD)
ESD involves approaches to teaching and learning
that integrate goals for conservation, social
justice, appropriate development and democracy
into a vision and mission of personal and social
change for sustainability
 It challenges the way people think about the
world, the way they live in it and relate with each
other. (UNESCO, 2010)

ESD- Key Principles
Enable students to link issues of tourism
and sustainability to their own lives/actions
 Create learning spaces/opportunities within
tourism activities to explore or deepen
understanding of sustainability
 Facilitate students to uncover and reflect on
their assumptions, values and beliefs or
worldviews through tourism activities and
discuss how sustainable these are.

Tourism Educational NeedsThe SIS Context
Shift from problem identification to
problem resolution
 More holistic view of the tourism industry
 Broader influence on curriculum spacegreater stakeholder input
 Need for a participatory, interactive,
integrative, reflective, analytical, as well as
value-driven approach to tourism
education

Tourism Curriculum:
A Contested Space

Vocational Tourism Education
◦ tourism is viewed as a phenomenon that should be
organised and managed in such a way that it brings profit
to tourism businesses and satisfaction to the paying
tourist.
◦ narrow concentration on consumers and producers
◦ is to produce graduates who can be readily recruited to
the labour market, and who can make a positive
contribution to profitability or other aims of tourism
organisations
Tourism Curriculum:
A Contested Space

Liberal Tourism Education
◦ provides students with a holistic understanding of
tourism as a phenomenon and not simply as an industry
◦ it encourages students to adopt a critical perspective on
the tourism knowledge gained
◦ students are encouraged to consider alternative tourism
scenarios such as tourism and the environment, tourism
and politics that focus on the wider issues in the society
Curriculum Space & its Influencesneed for broader stakeholder input
Accommodation
Sector
Attractions
Sector
Students
Interest Group L
Curriculum Space
(All Tourism Knowledge)
Academics
(Business Subjects)
Professional Bodies
Local Community
Environmentalist
Academics
(Critical Subjects)
Transport
Sector
Government
Interest Group K
Education and Sustainable Tourism
Integrated Tourism Education
 Incorporating Education for Sustainable
Development (ESD) principles into tourism
education curriculum
◦ Experiential learning- hands on participatory
activities
◦ Live projects
◦ Community programmes
Education and Sustainable Tourism
Internships

Establishing internships within the industry that serve as
a knowledge transfer partnership where students are
able to use their knowledge/expertise at the
organization to help achieve their goals or moreover the
goals of the industry.

In the UK there is an established programme called
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) “The
partnership involves one or more recently qualified
persons (Associates) to facilitate this transfer of skills
and expertise. The Associate works full-time within the
company on a project central to their needs and is
jointly supervised by company personnel and a senior
academic.”
Education and Sustainable Tourism
Developing research councils

Research councils are statutory bodies that advise the
government on current research being undertaken in
different academic fields and how it contributes to
policy development.

The Australian Research Council works with the
mission “to deliver policy and programs that advance
Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the
community”. It has been successful in developing
partnership projects between industry and higher
education to foster international competitiveness in the
industry.
Education and Sustainable Tourism
Research centres as part of universities

Within many universities there are research centres that
unite academics in related fields to conduct continuous
research in their particular area of study.

According to the University of Surrey one of the many
schools with a formidable research centre “Research
Centres strengthen and reinforce areas of existing
research excellence within the School; whilst bringing
together researchers from across the School who are
currently working in different disciplines, subject groups or
who are external to the School.”
Education and Sustainable Tourism
Research units in ministries

Having direct access to research allows
ministries to obtain the needed information to
guide policy development by meeting the needs
of the ministries with respect to specific areas of
research.

In turn they can partner with universities to use
graduate students to carry out research
topics/themes generated from these units.
Education and Sustainable Tourism
Establishment of an e-Lounge
 An environment for the meeting of the
minds; exchange of ideas; dissemination
of research; updates on cutting
innovations; facilitation of surveys for
new products; expert advice.
Conclusion
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Sustainable Tourism: Capacity Building & Educational Needs