The Impact of Climate Change on Tourism in Dominica

By Serena Maxwell

The Carisealand project is an initiative which aims to illustrate the effects of climate change on the Caribbean region. It is imperative that climate change is thoroughly understood, as the effects of this global phenomenon are felt in every aspect of life. One area which has been severely affected by climate change in the Caribbean is the economy. As an Economics major, this was of special interest to me and so I decided to focus my research on the economic impacts of climate change. In Dominica, tourism is one of the major contributing sectors to the gross domestic product (GDP). Tourism is an economic driver in Dominica and as a result of this, it is important that the impacts of this phenomenon be assessed. 

One of the effects of climate change is an increase in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the Caribbean. In 2017, Dominica was devastated by the passage of the category 5 hurricane Maria. This resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue which is generated by the cruise tourism in Dominica. My research assessed the implications of the hurricane as well as the measures which could be undertaken to curb the impacts of future events such as these. The findings of the research conducted revealed that the passage of the hurricane damaged approximately 80% of the infrastructure in the country while 256% of the GDP was destroyed. This research has shown that a greater effort must be made to combat the effects of natural disasters by implementing measures such as altering the building codes to create stronger infrastructure. 

This semester I further contributed to this study by including additional sources to the Carisealand syllabus. The scope of the study was also expanded the to assess the impacts on the blue economy as well. The blue economy refers to the sustainable use of the ocean, seas and coastal resources in order to promote economic growth in the country. The research revealed that through the use of sustainable environmental practices such as the decrease in activities such as overfishing and polluting of water bodies, the effects of climate change can be mitigated. 

Throughout the course of this research, I have successfully been able to gather information pertaining to my topic, which is greatly due to the abundance of available literature. Numerous studies have been conducted which illustrate the effects of climate change as well as suggesting measures to suppress the effects of this occurrence. This research has aided in developing my technological skills as I have gained knowledge and expertise in utilizing software such as Storymap, that I would not have otherwise been able to use. As this study progresses, I aim to expand the scope of this study to focus on the sustainable measures which could be implemented to alleviate the impacts of climate change.

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