Fri 24th Dec 2010
Our country is at a crossroads: mass tourism or Green economics. Mass tourism will lead to further poverty and Green economics will lead to a sustainable society. Unfortunately, both the ULP and NDP favour mass tourism. To structure the SVG economy to be dependent upon tourism is madness.
The case against an economy based upon tourism
In the past year, the global economic slowdown has wreaked havoc on the region's tourism industry. Anguilla took the worst hit with a decline of 18.8% in 2009. Tourist traffic fell 14.3% in Antigua, 13.7% in St. Lucia, 11.6% in Montserrat and 11.3% in the Cayman Islands.
Statistics also show sharp declines in arrivals by cruise ship passengers: down 28.7% in Jamaica, 25.8% in Puerto Rico and 19.6% in the Cayman Islands. Since the global economic crisis, Americans have generally decided to stay home. Some outbound air departures from the United States are expected to be down 17 percent from 2007 levels.
The U.S. recession is going to mean another year of declining tourism receipts and a stagnant economy for the Bahamas. For the first time in Bahamas history it is offering an unemployment benefit.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation's latest World Tourism Barometer revealed that worldwide international tourism dropped by 8% in 2009, when compared to the data from 2008.
Barbados experienced an 8.7 percent decline in tourism arrivals in 2009. In outlining the factors responsible for the drop in tourist arrivals last year, it was noted that Barbados' main market, the UK, saw a 13.7 percent decline in 2009. In the case of the USA, the fall off was 7 percent.
Some destinations in the Caribbean region, have been "laying off people like crazy and shutting down entire hotel properties". According to the CTO, 16 out of the 24 Caribbeancountries dependent on the UK market, have showed a significant decline in their tourist numbers.
The case for a Green economy
The European Environment Agency's latest report concludes that a green economy can not only result in a healthy environment, but also boost prosperity and social cohesion. Also, the global market for environmental goods and services is currently about £1,000bn.
Providing free university education for our people for the development of core business, engineering and ICT skills, can give them high-paid job opportunities all over the world. This will help raise families out of poverty.
In the USA, Green building is the bright spot in today's tough economy, with a third of all new non-residential construction being green, a $54 billion market. In the next five years, non-residential green building activity is expected to triple, to about $120 to $145 billion in new construction. This shows that Green industries can be prosperous in SVG.
In the USA, Green business is becoming an economic engine. The emerging green economy had revenues between $370 - $516 billion in 2007. That year, there were 1.8 - 2.4 million green jobs.
Under the ULP, our country is on a path to long-term poverty. This is because the ULP's mass tourism plan will not create revenue for the country, because there is a global decline in tourism. Also, the 1950s mentally of the ULP refusing to educate our children to the university level, means our children will not be qualified to get high-paid Green jobs.