Eco Tours in Barbados - Sustainable Tourism & Conservation Laws

Known around the world for its famous hotels and beaches, Barbados is a very popular tourist destination for its size. With an area of only 166 square miles, it is one of the smaller island nations in the Caribbean. However, it is also visited every year by a multitude of tourists that represent nearly every corner of the globe. Tourism is the main industry on the island, and most people that live there are involved with it in one form or another. People visit specifically for the tropical, sandy beaches that ring the coast, creating an absolute necessity to preserve the marine environment here. As such, there are a number of waste treatment and marine conservation laws in place to accomplish that very thing.

The most strictly enforced environmental laws on the island have to do with waste management. After all, Barbados is a very small island that sees a lot of visitors every year. To combat the onslaught that improper waste management can cause on an island of this size, Barbados enacted laws like the Coastal Zone Management Act. While the act contains broad provisions for the protection of the coastal areas of Barbados, the act is essentially a solid-waste management act. It sets down guidelines for how solid wastes are to be processed and disposed of. For tourism, this helps to ensure that the resources that bring tourists to this country every year are preserved for future generations.

Barbados is also a signatory of CITES and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, however that is the extent of their notable commitments to preserving wildlife. Most wildlife conservation laws in Barbados are in the early stages of development, but there are a few in the works that seek to recover plant and animal communities. The Minister of Environment in Barbados has shifted the environmental policies of the country toward recognizing the importance of "recovering" these ecosystems in addition to other standard conservation goals. The reason cited for this is an increasing level of tourism opportunities in the waters just off the shore from Barbados, most of which could create very positive financial outcomes for locals. The recovery of these natural assets is expected to increase the options that tourists are given on the island, thereby expanding its tourism profile to include more than beach vacations.

As the management of the coastal areas of Barbados becomes more structured and regulated, there is growing opportunity for business in the country. The hotels and "inclusive" resorts on the island make up the lions share of all tourist dollars brought to Barbados, but there is a growing fishing charter industry as well. Since Barbados lies just outside of the path of most hurricanes, it remains a viable tourist location for much more of the year than other proximal countries.

Environmental regulations are currently only addressed as a matter of necessity in Barbados. The majority of the laws that are currently on the books here address waste water treatment/disposal, with some more sweeping environmental protocols in the works. The current structure of conservation on the island is the standard "recycle, reduce, reuse" mantra of countries the world over, however they are now dedicated to adding "recovery" into that mix. Through concerted efforts by conservationists and legislators alike, Barbados is steadily working on more concrete conservation goals. The extent to which Ecotourism plays into this work is not yet certain, however the added revenue seen by neighboring countries has created an impetus in the region to develop comprehensive Ecotourism strategies. Since Barbados already sees a larger percentage of tourists per year than many of its neighbors, it is financially in a very good position to quickly expand upon its current environmental framework.