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Climate change adaptation and sustainable development in the coastal tourism: A case study for the Bahamas

Authors: Arsum Pathak*, University of South Florida
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Sustainability Science, Tourism Geography
Keywords: climate change, tourism, sustainable development, adaptation, Small Island Developing States
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Tourism in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is vulnerable to climate change where the sea-level rise and extreme events directly threaten its infrastructure and natural resources vital for the sector. Although challenged by climate change, the sector plays a critical role in the sustainable development of SIDS through its contributions to economic growth, employment, and environmental protection. Using the Bahamas as a case study, this research attempts to explore the adaptive capacity of the coastal tourism accommodations to deal with climate change, as well as their potential to contribute towards the sustainable development of the country. A survey is administered through face-to-face interviews with the coastal property managers in the two main islands of New Providence and Paradise Island in the Bahamas that accounts for the tourism properties with the maximum room count. A capitals approach (i.e. physical, natural, financial, human and social capitals) is used as a conceptual lens to develop the survey instrument and analyze the results. The findings will provide a) an in-depth analysis of the climate adaptation strategies of the tourism sector, b) the key components of capitals approach with respect to the sector’s capacity to adapt to climate change, and c) the contribution of tourism to the sustainable development of the Bahamas. Recommendations for the climate change adaptation that is synergistic with the broader sustainable development objectives will be made.

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