Write a 9 page essay on The environmental impacts of the cruise industry on Caribbean island nations.
In the Caribbean region tourism has contributed to the growth of the overall economy which had been suffering due to stagnation in tradition economic sectors. Moreover, the Caribbean island nations have been bestowed with natural beauty, decorated with exotic flora and fauna, surrounded by blue seawater and natural breezes.
However, the environmental degradation caused by the cruise industry in the Caribbean region far outweighs the economic benefits.
Cruising started as preferred mode of travel by the social elite in the 1920s and the latter part of the 20th century has seen tremendous growth in the industry following a decline post World War II (Johnson 2002). Worldwide cruise tourism has catered to 8.5 million customers between 1980 and 1997. The passenger figures are expected to reach 14.2 million by 2010 (Butt 2007). Today the super-mega cruise ships use cutting edge of design and technical innovation, and they offer multifaceted recreational experience on board. In 1998, the Caribbean received 50% of the world’s cruise tourism customers (Johnson 2002). In fact, the Caribbean destinations receive more cruises than stopover tourists. However, while the economy of the island nations has grown, the cruise tourism sector has expanded with sophisticated liners and offering on-board recreation, cruise tourism in the Caribbean has been exerting pressures on the fragile environments and the host communities. This is because the cruise ships consume significant amount of resources as a result of which great pressure is exerted on the places they visit (Butt 2007). The Caribbean islands have 44% share of the world cruise market. The environmental impact has exerted pressure on the small towns, islands and island groups in the Caribbean. However, the environmental impacts also depend upon the facilities available at the destinations to manage the degradation.
Tourism is the major economic activity in the Caribbean