The Impact of Climate Change on Heritage Tourism in the Caribbean: A Case Study from Speightstown, Barbados, West Indies

By Michael Scantlebury.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.37-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.365MB).

Dr. Michael Scantlebury

Assistant Professor, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA

Dr. Michael Scantlebury is an Assistant Professor with the Rosen College of Hospitality Management of the University of Central Florida. He received his doctorate from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada where his research focused on heritage tourism in Barbados. He is currently researching barriers to heritage tourism development across the Caribbean and community-enterprise relationships in heritage tourism. He has worked in Caribbean tourism since 1985. Starting as research officer for the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA), he also served as a marketing manager, manager of US Operations and as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the BTA. He has worked as a consultant with Ernst & Young, and managed the regional tourism consulting practice for Coopers & Lybrand (Caribbean) Consultants Inc. He has extensive tourism consulting experience in the Caribbean and has also conducted tourism consulting assignments in Canada.


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