Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Degree

Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences

Department

Geography, Geology and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky

Keywords

Jamaica, tourism, sustainable tourism, marine protected area, sanctuary

Subject Categories

Marine Biology | Tourism and Travel

Abstract

The Jamaican economy is heavily reliant on the tourism industry. However, large scale developments often disrupt local communities and degrade natural marine resources. An approach is needed where tourism, environmental and social goals are considered equally. Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been created in Jamaica to improve degraded fish stocks and restore marine ecosystems. While focused on local fisheries, MPAs also create opportunities to generate sustainable tourism. However, the pathways for meshing fishery conservation and tourism goals and outcomes are poorly understood. Critical questions need to be answered such as: what options are available to develop sustainable tourism and what are the first steps that need to be taken? To address these questions, I examine the Bluefields Bay MPA and use interviews from community stakeholders and comparative case studies to evaluate opportunities and devise sustainable strategies. These strategies include short, medium and long term recommendations. The short-term recommendations include improvements to accommodation options, targeted marketing and training for the local people. Medium-term recommendations include the creation of a structured tourism plan, the addition of more restaurants and a visitor center. The long-term recommendations include expanding the size of the MPA to protect more critical habitat areas and provide resources for a monitoring program which will attract the targeted markets. These recommendations will hopefully allow Bluefields Bay to become a popular tourist destination, while preserving the environment and resources which are important to residents and future generations.

Copyright

© Emma Louise Clegg

Campus Only

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