The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the tourism industry which has for many decades been the primary economic engine of The Bahamas. External shocks like infectious diseases and severe weather are disruptions that have left the industry in dire straits.
A collection of scholarly works entitled “Tourism, Development, Governance and Sustainability in The Bahamas” gives researched insights on the key factors tied to enhancing the sustainability of this sector. University of The Bahamas (UB) professors Ms. Jessica Minnis and Dr. Ian Bethel-Bennett, and former UB faculty member Dr. Sophia A. Rolle, have compiled a tailor-made analysis useful for upper-level students and academics in the field of tourism research.
“Specifically, the editors expect readers to gain, arguably, topic insights from each of the author’s perspectives, on their area of interest. This collection offers a broad spectrum of research methodologies. We wanted to present each of the topics selected as broad-based discussion topics in which scholars, students, and the public can engage in provocative discourse,” Dr. Rolle said.
The publication covers a wide variety of issues pertaining to the complexities of tourism development, governance and sustainability in The Bahamas by examining the impacts of mass tourism development from social, economic and environmental perspectives; panarchy and resilience; assessing sustainability; moving towards a blue economy; impacts of climate change and innovative alternative tourism offerings to ensure sustainable tourism.
The new book further addresses how development, governance and sustainability come together in the aftermath of a natural disaster like, for example, Hurricane Dorian, which proved to be a strong catalyst for action, innovation and change in The Bahamas.
“The Bahamas, a small island state and an archipelago, has been in the tourism industry for a long time and the book offers some insight on ways in which The Bahamas has tried to maintain tourism as its number one industry,” Dr. Bethel-Bennett said.
The inspiration for the book was a paper the book’s three editors/contributors presented on the impact of anchor projects in Abaco, Bimini and Exuma, at a conference hosted by the International Small Islands Studies Association (ISISA) in 2016. After the conference, the trio realized they needed to address in a publication the impact tourism, governance and sustainability has on The Bahamas. They discovered that there were many articles produced by both local and international sources on tourism and tourism in The Bahamas, but they lacked volume. Acclaimed books on tourism like the ones authored by veteran tourism enthusiast Mrs. Angela B. Cleare showed up on their radar, but the editors wanted something a bit more comprehensive in scope.
“We knew that Angela Cleare published a book on the History of Tourism in The Bahamas, and we wanted to expand on her publication and examine other impacts on tourism, and have it published to add to information on The Bahamas,” Ms. Minnis explained.
The editors then invited persons to contribute a chapter to the book from the perspectives of tourism, governance, and sustainability. They include Dr. Adelle Thomas, Director of UB’s Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Research (CCARR) Center; Mr. Zhivargo Laing, UB’s Executive Director and Senior Policy Fellow of the Government and Public Policy Institute (GPPI); and Dr. Teo Cooper, Dean of Students at UB-North.
“We wanted them to speak in their own voice and interest,” Dr. Bethel-Bennett, said. “We were pleased with the level of their contributions and their willingness to be a part of the publication. To us, that is what we believe makes the book interesting—having different perspectives.”
The book took three years to complete, most of which was spent receiving the chapters from the various authors, organizing them in the appropriate sections, editing, having the chapters peer-reviewed, and locating a publisher. The Oxfordshire-based Routledge/Taylor and Francis published the body of work.
“We were excited when Routledge/Taylor and Francis accepted our manuscript,” Dr. Rolle said. “We really, in the grand scheme of things, did not have major edits like we anticipated, thanks in part, to the chapter authors who wrote exceptional ones that needed minimal editing, and gratefully, suggestions from the publishers and their reviewers. Difficulties we encountered were, being new to the publisher and meeting some of their requirements especially when they suggested we address Hurricane Dorian. We then found two authors who addressed hurricanes, and Dorian specifically. The editors at Routledge/Taylor and Francis were helpful and supportive throughout the process.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the book’s official launch has been delayed. However, Ms. Minnis, Dr. Rolle and Dr. Bethel-Bennett still hope to place the book in local stores as soon as the green light is given for businesses to reopen. The trio also plan to have it distributed internationally.
In the interim, however, the book can be purchased directly from the publisher’s website, or Amazon. An e-book is also available on the publisher’s website. Ms. Minnis, Dr. Rolle and Dr. Bethel-Bennett also have a few copies available amongst themselves which interested persons can purchase.
The hard-back copy sells for $155.
“By God’s grace we are thrilled, delighted, and excited, to have the book about tourism in The Bahamas published and available for people locally and internationally to read and are looking forward to the book serving as a resource for other tourism regions, academics, students as well as professionals in the field of tourism, hospitality, and sustainability,” Ms. Minnis said.