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Keywords:

  • Ecotourism;
  • coral reefs;
  • Tobago;
  • Buccoo Reef;
  • sustainable development

Abstract

In many countries of the Caribbean, tourism is a mainstay to economies. Semi-autonomous Tobago's Buccoo Reef Marine Park (BRMP) was established as one of the island's premier tourist attractions. However, the increasing and poorly regulated activity in the coastal zone that is taking place to complement the burgeoning tourism industry, threatens the ecological integrity of the Buccoo Reef. This paper investigates the synergies between conservation, sustainable tourism and improving societal economic and social well-being. Within a framework that recognises the strategic importance of a competitive tourism product, it examines how the Buccoo Reef impacts the livelihoods and ongoing development in Tobago. It explores the extent and probable causes for the Reef's decline. Proposed is how the Park can better achieve conservation of the reef ecosystem while encouraging economic and social growth on the island, with a goal of more effectively managing and sustainably exploiting the coral reef resources of Tobago.