The business report, titled “Sustainable Tourism Master Plan 2010-2020” and written by the Halcrow and CHL Consulting, was required to define the structure for development, management, monitoring and long term sustainability of the tourism industry for a period of ten years in Anguilla. A main objective is that the tourism vision of Anguilla must be translated into reality.
The tourism vision is formulated based on the consultations with stakeholders and the market research that was held among several tourism organizations. The vision for Anguilla includes the following: “We are a premier Caribbean destination known for our world class beaches; pristine azure waters; top class resorts and restaurants; relaxed ambience; sense of place, peace and tranquillity in a safe setting among a friendly and hospitable people that take pride in their identity, cultural heritage and environment’. The report contains the implementation of the vision.
Visitor arrivals have increased and the fact that young business persons were stimulated to develop tourism-related organizations, have ensured that tourism is now the main income of the local economy. Previously, there was an acceptance of the significance of the tourism industry and the recovery of the Government’s finances, the budget for tourism marketing and promotion was significantly augmented.
As a result of the rising demand the air and sea connections were enhanced with airlines and ferry companies now benefiting of a higher loading capacity. Cruise tourism has also enlarged with more calls by luxury cruise lines and the proportion of yachts visiting the island has grown too.
Current hotels and vacation homes enjoy a better accommodation capacity and prices and this created higher profits and more investments in property for preservation and improvement.
To encourage sustainable tourism three “Tourism Development Areas” (TDA’s) were appointed called the West End TDA, Central TDA and East End TDA. For each TDA ‘Action Plans’ were formulated to establish the integration of developers’ propositions, environmental organization programmes, ministry plans and infrastructure programmes.
The goal of the action plan for the West End TDA was to develop the region as a main exclusive beach destination. This led to different changes for example more sustainable accommodations.
For the Central TDA, the “Action Plan” has brought a significant change. The region is now a centre for interaction between visitors and the inhabitants. This has been created several improvements for instance more services for yachting, a new ferry terminal and a Heritage Centre.
For the East TDA the “Action Plan” has led to more focus on the environment and the heritage of the region. For example Island Harbour has been reconstructed, a maritime museum has settled and the waterside has been developed. Even though the East End TDA capitalises on its natural and cultural heritage, this is not the exclusion of the beach vacation improvements.
The ‘integrated coastal management plan’ and laws have led to the safety and improvement of the sea location for both leisure users and fishermen. The product range is more advanced and diversified. An important goal was to highlight the ancient and archaeological places.
An essential part in the heritage programme has been the connecting of the attractions by creating products that successfully integrate attractions and related accommodation. For example the Wallblake Heritage Centre now provides the centre for the Nature and Heritage Trail and is also the place to meet other people.
Nonetheless, product improvement has created more than investments in new attractions. Quality principles are now a significant factor of the accommodation industry and other tourism organizations. Training programmes made sure that Anguilla now offers an excellent service that exceeds the beliefs of the customers and that young Anguillians are now inspired to find a managerial position in a tourism company.
In 2020, the tourism sector is better planned. The roles of the government, marketing companies and industry representatives have been precisely identified. The government and marketing companies have been provided with extra budget and the industry representatives are playing an active role in general tourism improvement.
So the growing tourism industry provides advantages for all. For inhabitants the tourism industry offers jobs, for school leavers a chance of a great career, for tourists a better connections and more attractions and for the ministry increasing tax incomes. But this had not an adverse effect on what invites persons to go to Anguilla, namely the luxury, interaction and connection with locals in a fascinating country.
The meaning of tourism as the main income of the national economic is accepted by authorities worldwide. Besides this economic benefit, governments are accepting the impact that tourism can have on a destination. But mass tourism can have a negative impact on both the environment and the social coherence of a land. But operated tourism can also create many financial, social and cultural advantages for all parts of the economy.
In 2002 the ‘Tourism Policy Statement’ was made. This document includes a mission, managing principles, goals and a approach for the improvement of the industry. It serves as the basis for a more extensive plan and it should be completed taking into account the recommendations of the STMP report.
The mission states that Anguilla wants to develop the tourism industry in a sustainable way and to improve the quality of life in terms of cultural and natural heritage.
There are several guidelines for responsible development for example: ‘the ministry should support and promote the conservation of the country’s environment; the human resource development should be promoted; linkages should be improved with other segments of the economy; the image of Anguilla as a quality destination should be maintained and improved and the highest thinkable standards of services should be offered’.
By getting the sustainable benefits by creating extra economic activity, more tourism income is needed. Without an increase in profit, there is no improvement in employment and it is not possible for the community to benefit from tourism. More tourists, more expenses by tourists and/or longer stays will increase the profit of the tourism industry.
To realize this, the following must be improved: “increased and more marketing, better sea and air connections, better sector management, upgrade service principles, improve physical and environmental planning and a better integration with community and economy”.
The tourism industry can only optimise the advantages and reduce possible negative consequences by planned, orderly and controlled development.
There are five planning concepts for to the future development of tourism in Anguilla. First, the ‘TDA’s’. A TDA is a zone that includes tourist facilities. Tourism management areas are the basis for integrated planning so that it works efficiently and independently. It is important for TDA’s that they create a critical crowd, diversify products and enable different forms of tourism development to coexist. It is essential to underscore that the naming of TDA’s does not include zoning in any form.
The second planning concept includes ‘tourism centres’. The aim is to provide a concentration of amenities, services and information for visitors. This will make it more easy for the public and the private sectors to improve these cases.
The third planning concept consists of ‘Tourism Clusters’. To attract more tourists and make them stay longer, several attractions can be gathered in one zone.
The fourth concept focuses on ‘dispersed and concentrated development’. It is significant for Anguilla to create a product which efficiently integrates the attraction part with the provision of accommodations.
Two factors are important when considering the subject of ‘concentrated versus dispersed development’. The first factor is the preservation and strengthening of the key values of Anguilla. The second factor is that tourism development is driven by the private sector and that developers only locate facilities in zones they consider to be interesting to possible customers and which are economically achievable.
The fifth planning concept consists of the ‘off-shore islands’. The author would rather see the strengthening and maintenance of existing regulations for the protected zones in the nearby waters and foreshore of most of these islands.
Based on the assessments, the author recommends the following: ‘Create a concept with three TDA’s, each with a specific nature reflecting its future improvement way. They will be zones in which government policies and procedures on development of tourism and possible planning and development controls will apply to integrate tourism into local environment and provide the total quality of the tourism product in the TDA’s are maintained and improved.’.
Each TDA gets an ‘Action Plan’. The goals are to cover and improve the actual product, improve the scenery, improve the total visitor experience and determine the boundaries of development.
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