Exploring and integrating local angling guide knowledge for examining tourism sustainability in the Bahamian Flats Fishing Sector
MetadataShow full item record
Tourism globally is ranked as the world’s third largest export category, and 2017 marked the eighth consecutive year of sustained growth in the sector (UNWTO, 2018). Tourism represented 10% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), 7% of the world’s exports, and one in 10 jobs worldwide (UNWTO, 2018). International tourist arrivals expanded from 25 million in 1950, to 1326 million in 2017, and are projected to reach 1.8 billion arrivals by 2030 (WTTC, 2016; UNWTO, 2018). Tourism growth has surpassed the wider economy with values in excess of 3%, and these inflated rates are projected to continue (WTTC, 2016). For remote destinations and small-island-developing-states (SIDS) common throughout the Caribbean, capitalizing on leisure tourism is vital in the absence of a significant resource base or manufacturing infrastructure, (Weaver, 2015). The Caribbean is an area dominated by SIDS where resource deficiencies and scant manufacturing opportunities frequently plague nations within the region (Hampton and Jeyacheya, 2013). As a result, Caribbean countries are particularly dependent on tourism, promoting sun, sand, and sea, resources (Gössling, 2003). Within the Caribbean is the country of The Bahamas, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region (O’Reilly, 1993) (See Map 1). Tourism in The Bahamas is essential to the country. Concentrated largely on New Providence, enclave tourism featuring mass tourism destination resorts, casinos and cruises, provides over 60% of the Bahamian GDP, directly or indirectly employing in excess of 50% of the entire labor force (WFB, 2014). 91% of travel spending in The Bahamas is tied to leisure travel while 80.6% of that is foreign visitor spending (WTTC, 2014). The concentrated nature of Bahamian mass-tourism, and the associated centralized work force on New Providence Island and secondarily Grand Bahama Island, has resulted in declining populations and sparse employment opportunities on all other Bahamian islands. Throughout the Bahamian Family Islands (islands in the archipelago excluding New Providence or Grand Bahama), is a small yet vital recreational angling tourism sector centered on flats fishing for bonefish (Albula sp.). In the Bahamas, bonefishing reportedly generated upwards of $169 million US in 2008 employing upwards of 80% of residents on some Family Islands, clearly illustrating its importance, and the need for sustainable management practices (Fedler, 2018). Central to this industry are local angling guides or tourism hosts, whose experiences and expertise have received little analytical consideration to sustainable resource outcomes. Because of employment related knowledge acquisition, guides hold important industry and resource information in a data-poor region, making their involvement in management and decision-making, critical for sustainability of the industry. Through participatory research, guides (n=71) were interviewed across the Bahamas (Andros, Abaco, Bimini, Exuma and Grand Bahama), exploring three central themes/questions: 1) guide knowledge as it applies to the social and economic pillars of tourism sustainability, 2) ecological knowledge levels related to fisheries populations dynamics, habitat changes, and fishery/industry threats; and 3) the feasibility or usefulness of angling guide knowledge for sustainable resource/tourism management in The Bahamas and beyond. This study captures oral histories to better conceptualize the sustainability of the fishery, the role of guides in this tourism sector, the importance of recreational angling tourism in The Bahamas, and the level of ecological knowledge guides possess. Furthermore, through analyzing Bahamian guides in the bonefishing industry, lessons are drawn which may be applicable to similar fisheries in other tourism-based recreational fisheries.
Cite this version of the work
Thomas Karrow (2020). Exploring and integrating local angling guide knowledge for examining tourism sustainability in the Bahamian Flats Fishing Sector. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/15587