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Sustainable Coastal Tourism Simulation tool
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Version 1.0 - Prototype version

Exploring environmental-economic feedback loops in coastal tourism development in a small island context with a simple simulation tool.

In spite of the importance of coastal tourism for the economies of many developing countries, tourism infrastructure has often been developed without adequate consideration of long-term impacts on the environment, resulting in adverse impacts on other sectors of the economy and eventually causing the decline of the very resource on which tourism is based.

The sustainable coastal tourism development training tool is an educational tool based on a generic model for integrated planning of coastal tourism infrastructure. The tool aims to address gaps in awareness and capacity for integrated decision-making and planning in tourism infrastructure development in a developing country context, and is especially relevant to small islands.

The underlying model is a simple closed-loop model of tourism infrastructure investment. The focus is on the impacts generated by untreated solid waste and wastewater. The model includes policy options that allow stakeholders to intervene at various places in the loop. The model allows stakeholders to explore how various combinations of policies perform in financial, environmental and social terms over the long period.

The tool is built and parameterized in a way that allows users to:

  • show how the different stakeholders are affected by tourism infrastructure decisions, thus allowing users to explore other stakeholders’ perspectives and motives
  • highlight the trade-offs between long term and short term decisions, and between individual objectives of stakeholders and integrated sustainability strategies
  • show the interdependence between the impacts created by tourism development and local sustainability, through solid waste and water quality feedbacks
  • show how integrated strategies for solid waste and water quality management affect outcomes of interests for the different stakeholders

More on this in the background paper

The simulation tool was kept deliberately simple, in order to be user-friendly and understandable by non-specialists. It covers a period of twenty years, allowing users to see the impacts of their decisions unfold over time. It lends itself to negotiation role-playing games where participants can negotiate decisions on a range of outcomes of interest.