Climate change in the Caribbean has several direct impacts including, rising sea level, dying reef and seagrass communities leading to compromised coastal protection. Climate change can also result in an increase in the number of high magnitude weather events. Combined with the reduced reef protection, the impact of such high magnitude events on coastal communities is exacerbated. In the Caribbean, the beach is a major attraction and many urban centers are located on the coast. The study examined the likely impact of a high magnitude storm event on the Speightstown area of Barbados (Smith Warner International Limited (SWIL), 2007). Located on the northwest coast of Barbados, Speightstown is 12 miles north of the capital, Bridgetown, is the second largest urban centre in Barbados and has an estimated population of 4,000 (Barbados Statistical Service, 2007). Speightstown was settled around 1630 and within 30 years had risen to prominence as a trading port with 5 jetties and 3 forts (Arthur Young, 1989). This town is of national historical and architectural importance. The robust 18th century architecture with its overhanging balconies and residences upstairs of the downstairs commercial operations, is the only example of its kind on the island (Smith Warner International Limited, 2007). The quaint streetscape and architecture are important attractions. A computer model was generated for 50, 100 and 150 year storm events and the likely impact on tourism and the heritage structures is estimated using mapping techniques and historical impact data. The 50 year event might have an impact of US$31 million of which US$19.3 million is associated with the loss of heritage.
|Keywords:||Heritage, Tourism, Speightstown, Barbados|
Assistant Professor, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA
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