1.The blue economy concept, which sees tourism as a driver of recovery and revitalization capable of building resilience to economic shocks, anchoring local economies in sustainable activities, and generating more environmentally friendly ways of living.
“It is therefore essential to stimulate large-scale private investment in activities that promote biodiversity conservation and combat ecosystem degradation while generating growth”.
Diversifying tourism products with non-traditional marine activities (such as scuba diving, surfing and wildlife watching) is an opportunity to broaden the sources of income for local communities.
The implementation of innovative “blue finance” mechanisms – insurance schemes to protect coral reefs, debt-for-environmental investment swaps, blue bonds, tourism taxes – can help finance innovations while empowering communities and businesses and alleviating the budgetary constraints of SIDS.
2.Digital transformation is a powerful gas pedal of inclusion, competitiveness and sustainability. It is essential to develop and retrain workers in digital fields.
Better access to technology for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises enables their full integration into the local value chain and enables them to become champions of innovation. Technologies such as metadata, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things can improve market knowledge and provide statistics to help reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.
Finally, the digital creative sector can launch new environmentally friendly tourism products and social networks can be used to change consumer behavior.
3.Communities First and Responsible Tourism
Tourism activities taken in hand by local communities are essential to ensure the sustainability of the sector.
The tourism sector relies primarily on people, many of whom are heavily dependent on this activity and who find themselves in an extremely precarious situation.
Compared to the traditional “sea, beach, sun” triptych, community-based tourism also promotes responsible consumer behavior by encouraging deeper exchanges and a better understanding of local culture.
Consumers are a powerful vector for change. Their voices and demands have the power to improve economies and the well-being of populations.
The possibilities are vast, but so is the scale of the task. Only effective partnerships involving governments, international organizations, the private sector, regional networks, civil society and local communities will be able to bring about such radical change.
Development requires an integrated approach involving the whole of society and change in the tourism sector is vital for the future of SIDS.