REAP Report: Tourism, Development and Beache
issue of tourism, development and beach access has become a
burning point on small islands across the world.
issue involves traditional rights and customary community usage,
tourism development, property rights and trespass versus public
access to the beach.
controversy is not limited to the foreshores of Rarotonga, the
lagoons of Muri, the harbour at Avana or the prospect of major
developments on the outer islands.
Small Islands Voice Global Forum has served as an international
focal point via the internet for debate on this issue for several
months now. Unfortunately the issue across the world seems to
be coming down to one of money. Those with money feel they have
the right to buy beachfront property and to "seal" it off from
the public. To buy and develop as they please regardless of
community concerns and public opinion.
are caught in the middle: between the need and their often insatiable
appetite for money and trying not to upset members of the public
who while perhaps possessing less money do cast more votes in
issue is a prime example of the test of political will and the
need to strike a balance between economic, environmental and
social sustainability especially on small islands.
who should make those decisions - the people who live on the
island, the developers, or governments?
we encourage tourism which not only benefits the large operators
and corporations but one where the benefits will also flow to
other small businesses such as guest houses, local shops, those
in the transportation industry, restaurants, etc.? Looking at
the structure of the current tourism industry some are inclined
to think that many of the proceeds, particularly of the large
tourism resorts, either never make it to our shores or if they
do, don't remain here.
a long term tourism policy is to be successful perhaps it's
time to rethink our strategy. Building large five star establishments
on the beach front owned by large foreign corporations is no
the way forward if tourism is to benefit all the people. And
we should finish projects already under construction before
we even think about starting new large scale projects. Smaller
projects will have a less destructive impact on our environment
and will also spread the benefits of tourism to all parts of
the country, thus giving rise to a local supply and demand chain,
a vital ingredient for job creation and another reason for people
on the outer islands to remain.
Islands Voice - Your Voice.
may email your comments on Tourism and Development to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cook Island News, 17 March 2003