The vulnerability of small-island states

In case people aren't aware, this week The Bahamas plays host to an international conference (another, yes) on tourism and sustainable development in small island developing states (SIDS). The outline of the conference is here:'s an interesting conference. If you look at the outline of the conference you'll see. The first session is on vulnerability and resilience. Tourism can be good or bad; the problem is how we deal with it. The key is policy — the specific commitment of the government to make sure that the potential benefits are received.At the moment, though, we seem to be in a hurry to create a picture-perfect industry, and we are taking shortcuts. We choose to be governed by the agendas of our investors without considering the long-term, the large picture — and we forget (if we ever acknowledged) that the investor's interest is private. It is not the investor's job to make sure that the Bahamian interest is met, or that the development his project brings is sustained over time; it is the government's job. And (to go back to my initial bugbear) if the government has established an agency whose job it is to develop and manage the tourist industry, then it is that agency's job to consider the long-term and the large.But not their sole responsibility. So once again, I'm going to refer my readers to the Draft National Cultural Policy, which seeks to set out some guidelines for the role of tourism in the development or location of culture. Because we need to make sustainability a priority — and this in the face of casinos on Cat Island, Four Seasons exclusion on Exuma, and marinas and speculative second-home developments throughout our Bahamaland. Without policy, there is no sustainable tourism at all.Conference website