ABSTRACT

Brett, M.R., . How important is coastal tourism for island nations? An assessment of African and Indian Ocean islands.

Coastal tourism is an important component of the global tourism industry, particularly for island nations where the tourism sector often exceeds 40% of gross domestic product. For African island and Indian Ocean island nations, the tourism sector's economic contribution has not received as much attention. This paper analyses the economic contribution of tourism to the economies of African island nations and analyzes tourism statistics from the World Travel and Tourism Council annual reports. Tourism is a major economic factor for the island nations and is concentrated in the coastal zone. The data indicates that islands with larger and more diversified economies performed better in terms of tourism receipts than did islands with less developed economies. The results show that the average per capita income on the islands is more than six-fold greater than the average for the African continent. To test the importance of the coastal zone, tourist infrastructure was mapped on two African island nations, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Given the predominance of tourist infrastructure in the coastal zone, and the importance of tourism to the economies of many of the African island nations, a rise in sea-level even of 0.5 to 1 meters poses a serious threat to the existence of these island nations.

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