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London Metropolitan Business School

Research and Dissertation

Tatiana VĂŠlez Barrientos International Hospitality Management and International Sustainable Tourism Management and Development Dissertation Supervisor: Prof. Martin Peacock May 2012

Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San AndrĂŠs and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence

Tatiana Vélez Barrientos

Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Acknowledgments Luis B. and Mariace, Nic, Joao, Sara, Vero and Tom,

Thank you

Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San AndrĂŠs and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Abstract This paper seeks to understand the tourist’s importance to The Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina as a destination and to evaluate how new channels of communication can influence the process of sustainable tourism development in remote communities. Issues pertaining to Sustainable Development of Tourism in remote communities are analyzed, In addition the potential impact of the tourist in sustainability is presented and the relationship between Web 2.0 amongst other consumer generated content seeks to aid measuring the tourist perceptions. It examines the strategies in place to build sustainable development in the archipelago and seeks to answer questions pertaining methods to promote the destination, organizations and development and evident obstacles. Furthermore it analyzes the typology of tourists the Archipelago is attracting and seeks to analyze the strategies used to develop sustainable tourism. This is concluded with a description of the extend existent user generated content (UGC) could influence tourists perceptions. The primary data collection was made through in depth interviews with local stakeholders of the tourism industry and related areas in San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina.

Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Table of Contents List of Images, Figures and tables List of Appendices

Chapter One: Introduction Background Research and Rationale ! !

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Research aim and objectives !

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Research Question!

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Information on research methods !

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Chapter profiles!!

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Tourism, Development and Sustainability!

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Remote Communities and tourism!

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The Tourist!!

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Subject site: Background Information!

Chapter two: Literature Review Introduction !

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Chapter three: Research Methods Introduction !

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Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San AndrĂŠs and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


Research Question!

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Research aim and objectives!

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Primary data collection!

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Sample !

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Weaknesses, limitations and constraints!

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Proposed data analysis methods!!

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Research Process !

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Chapter four: Findings, Analysis and Discussion Introduction !

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Which strategies are in place to build sustainable development?!

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What methods are there to promote the destination?!

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Organizations and Development! !

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What type of tourist is the archipelago attracting?!!

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Tourism, Development and Sustainability!

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Are the strategies used to develop sustainable tourism transmitted to the tourist and how is it perceived! !

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To what extend can used generated content (UGC) influence tourist perceptions?!

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Chapter five: Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusions and Recommendations! !

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Bibliography Appendix

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List of Images, Figures and Tables Image 1: San Andrés Island density

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Image 2: Old Providence

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Image 3: The Aquarius, San Andrés

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Image 4: The Seaflower Biosphere Reserve

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Image 5: CORALINA Airport One

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Image 6: CORALINA Airport Two

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Figure 1: San Andrés and Providencia shown in the Caribbean map

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Figure 2: Tourist Arrivals

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Figure 2.1: Percentage of arrivals

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Figure 3: Regional Interest

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Figure 3.2: Percentage of population Internet Colombia

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Figure 3.3: Reach of online trip buy.

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Figure 3.4: Top Social Networks: Colombia %Reach and Average Minutes per use.

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Table 1: Tourist Typography derivate from Interviews

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Figure 3.1: Audience Internet 15+ in millions

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List of Appendices Note: page number given relate to the page numbers on the Appendix.

Appendix 1: Interview Checklist

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Appendix 2: Interview Transcripts Subject A

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Subject B

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Subject C

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Subject D

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Subject E

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Appendix 4: Unpublished Development Plan abstract

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Appendix 5: Data on Arrivals

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Appendix 3: Qualitative Data Analysis

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London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

include that the benefits from tourism development are seldom enjoyed by the local communities, who are left quite often to deal with the negative effects which tourism development could include, such as substantial

Chapter One:

environmental damage, cultural erosion and community conflict. There is vast literature on the field of sustainable tourism development and studies on how to minimize it’s negative impact. However, although sustainability policies and laws, certification models and frameworks

Introduction

amongst other tools have been created around the world with guidelines such as “Guide for Local Authorities on Developing Sustainable Tourism” of the WTO (1998), there seem to be a wide gap between academic literature and the

Working Title

practical implementation of these principles. Furthermore, in a globalized world, destinations

Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case study of

have to be able to analyze the rapid change of

the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old

customer needs and attitudes. With these

Providence

changes, the volume of information that they have to deal with has increased a great deal in a competitive and continuos changing world

Background Research and Rationale Remote communities have numerous challenges to overcome concerning the understanding, development and management of sustainable tourism in their region (Moscardo 2008). Many of these challenges typically

Caputo (2009). The Internet has nowadays an immense impact in people lives, especially by shaping the way they perceive the world. Increasingly millions of people around the globe use it to get information and get access to other environments and to be informed to be able to adapt to the rapid changes.

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Perhaps the most crucial aspect that has made

By establishing existing strategies on

the web culture appealing to people is ‘that it

communication to develop community capacity

presents both texts and images with enough

and how efficient they have proven to be to

information for the user to process efficiently, a

present; further strategies could be developed

claim that other traditional electronic media

once the effectiveness of the existing ones have

cannot make’ Bucy and Newhagen (2004). The

been assessed.

Web 2.0 Systems emerged from this web revolution and now users or potential customers are ‘in power’ to share information. This means that conversations, ideas, thoughts or perceptions regarding a subject, that in the past would have reached a relatively small group of people, nowadays could and do, become viral.

This research seeks to assess the importance of the tourist and their perception on the sustainable tourism development of remote communities; using San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina as a case study. To avoid confusion, for the purposes of this research the word tourist will be used to

With this in mind the web is used to share

describe both international and domestic

political, social and geographic opinion with

travelers. The World Tourism Organization’s

virtually no language boundaries. The consumer

definition of a tourist relates exclusively to

can now share more, and in some cases more

international tourists, this will not be used; as for

accurate, information using Web 2.0.

most visitors of the Archipelago are overnight

This refers to the second generation of webbased services that have gained massive popularity by allowing people to collaborate and share information in previous unavailable ways Reactive (2007). Using blogs, micro-blogs,

visitors. The differentiation of the tourist will be made by grouping factors such as demographics, traveling style and distinctions, product and activity classifications and involvement.

social media and review sites, as opposed to

It also seeks to address to what extent the

traditional media. Web 2.0 is based on social

existent user generated content can influence

networking and user generated content (UGC),

tourists perception and if it could affect tourist

in other words, experiences and realities are

behavior. With this in mind, establish the types

shared with fellow users.

of tourist the island is attracting and the factors

Traditionally, people go to places people know, and with the conversation aided by the social media, the access to this information seems endless. However the access to the internet and the capacity to participate can be limited in

that shape the decision making process. To be able to measure the efficiency of the organizations in charge of ensuring sustainable tourism in the Archipelago to attract the ‘right’ tourist.

remote communities. Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

Research aim and objectives

What strategies are in place in San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands to build

The purpose of this paper, to understand the tourist’s importance to the Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina as a destination and to evaluate how new channels

sustainable tourism development? Are the strategies used to develop sustainable tourism development transmitted to the tourist and how is this perceived?

of communication such as Web 2.0, blogs, mini-blogs, amongst others can influence the

What types of tourist is the Archipelago

process of sustainable tourism development in

attracting? And, to what extent can the existent

remote communities.

user generated content influence tourists perception?

Establish the roles of the existent core organizations that aim to create sustainable

Information on research methods

tourism development in the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Analyze critically the community initiatives and/or readiness to participate in sustainable tourism development by identifying the existent tools to develop and aid sustainable tourism by Identifying what methods are being used to promote the destination. Examine the existent use of applications Web

This research has been conducted over a seven month period with extensive desk study and web monitoring. This has been backed up by in depth interviews with local stakeholders of the tourism industry and related areas in San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina to establish the existent strategies. Different Web 2.0 applications were also observed throughout the research process to establish the quantity of

2.0 such as, collaborative trip planning tools and

usage. The interviews were the primary chosen

social networks in the Archipelago and analyze

research method chosen given that they allow

how they shape the tourist perception on the

for adapting questioning to answers given which

destination and if they encourage sustainability.

will yield richer and more useful information Saunders (2007).

Chapter profiles This dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter One sets the research background and rationale and gives background information on

Research Question

the Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providencia

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London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

and Santa Catalina. A review of the literature is presented in Chapter Two. Issues pertaining to Sustainable Development of Tourism in remote communities are analyzed in detail. In addition the potential impact of the tourist in sustainability is presented and the relationship between Web 2.0 amongst other consumer generated content seeks to aid measuring the tourist perceptions. In Chapter Three, the methodology used in the research will be explained and justified. The findings analysis and discussion is be presented in Chapter Four. Chapter Five draws on conclusions and recommendations.

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Subject Site:

among the largest in the Americas and include two barrier reefs, five atolls, reef lagoons, and less well defined coral banks extending more than 500 km along the Nicaraguan rise, with links to the Meso-American Corridor.

Background Information

The San Andrés Archipelago is located in the southwestern Caribbean (Figure 1). San Andrés Island is very densely populated. Yielding a density of about 2,900 people per

km2; this makes San Andrés the most densely The Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (Spanish: Archipiélago de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina); or colloquially San Andrés y Providencia is one of the 32 departments of Colombia. It has a terrestrial area of 57 km2, including

populated oceanic island in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most crowded in the world, this suggested by the DANE,the Colombian National Department of Statistics (2009). The majority of residents are national migrants. Native islanders, who descend from early set-

three small inhabited islands, San Andrés with 26 km2, Old Providence 17 km2 and Santa Catalina 1 km2, and number of uninhabited cays and atolls. The territorial waters are about 300,000 km2, nearly 10% of the Caribbean Sea. The largest island, San Andrés, it’s capital City, is 800 km northwest of Colombia and 150 km east of Nicaragua. The smaller inhabited islands are Old Providence and Santa Catalina, which were damaged extensively by Hurricane Beta in 2005. These islands are 80 km north of San Andrés. Corals, mangroves, and seagrass beds sur-

Figure 1. San Andrés and Providencia shown in the Caribbean map

round them. The coral reef ecosystems are Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

tlers, are protected by the Colombian Constitu-

dents live and work in the biosphere reserve

tion as an ethnic minority ‘Raziales’.

CORALINA (2000). Furthermore, the biosphere

In 2001, unemployment was 53%. Poverty was widespread: 32% of households reported no regular source of income and 48% subsisted on US $1 per person per day or less. Economic

reserve is at the heart of the community’s vision of its future and is used as a development tool to alleviate the archipelago’s problems and to support achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Howard (2006). In national law the entire archipelago makes up the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve, whereas the UNESCO declaration does not yet include the entire area. Since the declaration in 2000, CORALINA has established a marine protected area (MPA) to imple-

Image 1: San Andrés Island density

ment the biosphere reserve in the

activities are tourism, tourism-related com-

vast ocean area. The Seaflower MPA, which is

merce, government employment, fishing, and

divided into three management units (Northern,

small-scale farming Howard (2006).

Central, and Southern Sections), protects

Colombia’s framework environment law established the National Environment System (SINA: Sistema Nacional Ambiental) in 1993 and declared the archipelago a biosphere reserve. This law also created CORALINA, the archipelago’s environmental authority, and made this agency responsible for the planning and implementation on the biosphere reserve. This biosphere reserve is called The Seaflower.

Image 2: Old Providence

The Seaflower is not a protected area in the tra-

65,000 km2 of marine area and was declared

ditional sense; rather it includes all the archipel-

by the Minister of Environment, Housing, and

ago’s cities, villages, farmlands, ecosystems,

Territorial Development in January 2005 (Resolu-

and parklands and all the archipelago’s resi-

tion 107). It is the first protected area of its type

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Image 3: The Aquarius, San Andrés

in Colombia, the largest MPA in the wider Car-

the Caribbean Terrestrial Biodiversity Hotspot

ibbean, and among the largest in the world. The

and the Western Caribbean Coral Reef Hotspot,

objectives of the Seaflower MPA are preserva-

identified as one of the world’s top ten regions

tion, recovery, and long-term maintenance of

exceptionally rich in marine species and facing

species, biodiversity,

extreme threat. The archipel-

ecosystems, and other

ago has high or very high

natural values including

levels of marine endemism

special habitats; promo-

and was declared an Impor-

tion of sound manage-

tant Bird Area by BirdLife In-

ment practices to ensure

ternational in 2004. The ar-

long-term sustainable use

chipelago is also one of eight

of coastal and marine

sites on the Latin America/

resources; equitable dis-

Image 4: The Seaflower Biosphere Reserve

tribution of economic, and

Caribbean A List of priority areas recommended for ma-

social benefits to enhance local development;

rine World Heritage Site status by an expert

protection of rights pertaining to historical use;

committee in 2002. The Seaflower MPA was

and education to promote stewardship and

added to Colombia’s tentative list and submitted

community involvement in management How-

to the World Heritage Committee.

ard, et al. (2003). Ecologically, the San Andrés Archipelago is of both regional and global significance. It is part of Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

Tourism, development and sustainability

Sustainable tourism is centered on the viability of tourism and balancing industry and environmental impacts Hunter (1995). In the same line of discussion, Hughes (1995) argues that the sustainability of tourism merely implies that management of the net productive value of the ‘natural’ capital is calculated to compensate

Chapter Two:

resource replacement and substitution strategies. This indicates that the role of sustainable tourism development is to provide enjoyment for tourists and host communities alike, generate

Literature Review

economic growth and at the same time maintain the environment unspoiled. This incorporate all aspects that encompass the environment, including cultural, social and ecological alike. Although this approach seems to neglect the dynamics of the environment and culture, it responds reactively to the imminent relative

Introduction

neglect of how individual businesses and governments have failed to consider their

In this chapter issues pertaining to Sustainable Development of Tourism in remote communities

environmental, cultural and social performance before their financial bottom line.

are analyzed in detail. In addition the potential

Tourism does not operate in a spacial vacuum

impact of the tourist in sustainability is

and must be understood as a total social and

presented and the relationship between Web

economic phenomenon Theobald (2005). With

2.0 amongst other consumer generated content

this thematic approach and by understanding

seeks to aid measuring the tourist perceptions.

the fundamental interconnections between socio-economic activities and the importance that tourism represents within a regional environment, tourism becomes a tool or a

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contributor to societal aims of sustainable

communities such as the capability of identifying

development.

the real meaning and the impacts; as well as

Furthermore, as argued by Liburd (2007), the range of stakeholders, networks and actors in tourism destinations, which, of course also include non-government organizations, are

educating the leaders of the community to be able to assess the various processes to engage in participation within their community to minimize exclusion of participation.

multiple as are their aspirations and needs. Liburd (2007) also argues that by adopting a

Remote communities and tourism

Place-Based approach towards sustainable tourism development, socio-cultural, environmental and economic changes that are acceptable for the destination community must be identified to determine what is to be sustained for whom and how by the people whose habitat it is, or may become, the object of tourism development.

Once tourism is chosen as an option, the community capacity building approach directs attention towards strategies and programs to enhance the domains identified as critical to the overall community capacity Moscardo (2008). Sautter and Leisen (1999) argue that destinations are some of the most difficult

Moreover, local communities are often

entities to manage, due to the complexity of

marginalized when private or state interests take

relations with local stakeholders.

over valuable sites in the name of sustainability. This phenomena is often exemplified by prime all-inclusive “eco-resorts” located on prime “protected” beach-front locations. Where the local community is well masked to be users and stakeholders used as service personnel but treated as trespassers when maintaining their costumes of utilization of resources such as beaches for traditional income activities such as fishing.

Moscardo (2008) also argues that often destination residents and other stakeholders, especially local government officials and staff have very limited understanding of how tourism operates as a system. This lack of knowledge has been recognized in the tourism literature, Timo (1999), Tosun (2000), Burns and Sancho (2002), Sharpley (2002) although there is little information on how to resolve this problem. Buhalis (1999) argues:“the destination

Tourism development can be alienating to local

experience is essentially composed of regions,

residents, overcrowded, noisy, polluted,

resources and amalgams of tourism facilities

pressurized and even destructive as suggested

which represent a collection of both professional

by Dwayer and Edwards (2010). Therefore

and personal interests of all people who live and

tourism planning should include a real

work in the area.”

understanding and involvement of local Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

Moscardo (2008) mentions that what is required

sources. Therefore, the high dependance on

are case studies and systematic evaluations of

foreign exchange and vulnerability, raises the

different methods of enhancing community

issue of how conflicts over access, natural

knowledge of tourism. The knowledge required

resources, entitlements and political influence

is not training to work in tourism but the

matters.

knowledge about tourism. Smith et al. (2001) definition for community capacity being the degree to which a community can develop,

The strategical location and tourism value and

implement and sustain actions for strengthening

potential of The Archipelago of San Andrés, Old

community health seems appropriate to see

Providencia and Santa Catalina was

capacity building as a variable that needs to be

acknowledged by the Colombian government in

worked on to be sustained. This capacity is

the 1950s when it was made a Freeport. San

developed through education and

Andrés and Providencia became a UNESCO

communication; the core of community capacity

Biosphere Protected Archipelago in the Year

is that it is based in part upon social capital,

2000 and because of the significance and

Hounslow (2002). Human capital would be the

fragility of the ecosystems in its jurisdiction,

resources available to an individual based on the

CORALINA is one of only seven regional

relationships they have with others. It includes

sustainable development corporations in

the networks and relationships between people

Colombia. Its mission is to manage, protect,

in a community, and the level of trust and

and recover the environment using appropriate

cohesiveness that exist within a community

technologies to regulate supply and demand of

Woodhouse (2006). Various case studies

renewable resources and promoting sustainable

suggest that tourism development erodes social

human development in consultation with the

capacity and thus contributes to breaking down

community, to achieve a better quality of life

community capacity.

through participation and agreement, Howard

Tropical islands are precious by definition. Their ecosystems are fragile and the communities that inhabit it, are highly vulnerable, under an increasing environmental and informational stress. Development of coastal environments often overpasses the dependance of communities on their environment. Island economies have become highly dependent on foreign exchange, therefore tourism has surpassed most of the ‘traditional’ income

(2006). As many organizations around the world, CORALINA’s functions are to manage natural resource conservation and sustainable use, direct environmental planning and zoning p ro c e s s e s f o r l a n d a n d s e a , e n f o rc e environmental norms, involve the community in sustainable management of natural resources, ensure equitable resource benefit for all classes of the local community, enact policies and regulations to protect flora and fauna, and develop national and international projects of

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re s e a rc h , c o n s e r v a t i o n , re c o v e r y, a n d

acknowledges tourism as a Catalyzer for devel-

sustainable use in conjunction with the State,

opment (Turismo como un motor de desarrollo.)

community, NGOs, and private sector.

This section highlights that, although there has been an overall increase on the tourism sector in

However, research on the figures of the Archipelago show a wide gap between the policies and the implementations on building community capacity, and “There is little chance of improving people's standard of living and overall quality of life in a sustainable way, without their collaborative participation in planning processes, this requires community capacity building leading to empowerment”, Dunlop Report (2002:76). The UK Department for Social Development describes capacity building as ‘the process of supporting individuals and community organizations to help them better identify and meet the needs of their areas. It involves building on the existing skills, providing opportunities for people

the country, and an increase on the economic returns, there are certain aspects that need to be improved and/or reviewed to maintain growth. This report also features aspects that touch upon the sustainable indicators mentioned in previous reviewed literature; however they also indicate the need of commercial and economical growth per se. The main aspects highlighted in the report are highlighted below. (please note that the following pointers are indicated by the official document, although it is an impartial translation it is not an official translation the full in Spanish version

is

available

at:

https://www.mincomercio.gov.co/minturismo/pu blicaciones.php?id=655)

to learn through experience and increasing people’s awareness and confidence to enable them

1. Lack of human capital in the sector at re-

to participate more fully in society.’ Capacity is

gional level, which is imminent in the limited

then the ‘ways and means needed to do what

reach of compliance of the national regula-

has to be done.’ It is more than ‘simply skills,

tions in the regions and unavailable programs

people and plans’.

for tourism development plans in the localities.

The 2011-2014 Development Plan of the Com-

2. The lack of coordination between government

merce, Industry and Tourism Development

bodies that allow the standardization of the

Board of Colombia (Ministerio de Comercio, In-

tourism industry.

dustira y Turismo de la República de Colombia) named “Prosperity for All” (Prosperidad para Todos) includes a section on Tourism where it

3. The service sector is deficient to compete in the global tourism arena due to the lack of qualified service-sector personnel, highlight-

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London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

ing the deficiency of bilingual competitive-

1. Protection and conservation. 2. Effective

ness.

management of the Seaflower Biosphere pro-

4. Existent provision and infrastructure to support tourism activity are insufficient and serve as obstacles of the development in (some) touristic destinations.

tected area of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providencia y Santa Catalina. 3. Applied risk assessment and adaptation initiatives towards climate change 4. Water sustainable resource and protection management 5. Devel-

5. Within “natural-tourism” Colombia is globally,

opment and empowerment of Enterprise with a

as highlighted by the UNWTO, the second

good environmental code of practice 6. An im-

country on known species, fifth on biodiver-

plemented survey and evaluation systems for

sity and twelfth on protected areas; however

environmental risk assessments 7. Corporation

it occupies an 84th place on environmental

Improvement 8. Awareness, training and educa-

sustainability and a 120th place on endan-

tion strategy directed to the Island’s community

gered species amongst 133 Countries.

with the aim of mitigating the impacts of climate change in the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve.

It is important to remark that despite the above mentioned pointers, CORALINA received a prize for the best action towards Biological Biodiversity in 2010. A prize given to the Corporation by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organization that seeks to help the world ‘find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.’ A prize given at The United Nations conference for Biodiversity which took place in Nagoya, Japan with the participation of 193 countries around the globe. This prize was granted due to the efforts put into establishing management practices for the Protected Maritime Ecosystem SEAFLOWER.

The tourist The question of why people go on holiday is fundamental to the study of tourism; the tourist’s purpose for visiting a place relies solely or very likely on the pleasure or activity this place or activity will or could bring to the individual. As argued by Mill and Morrison (1992:17), “the key to understanding tourist motivation is to see vacation travel as a satisfier of needs and wants”. A tourist is in bold, the consumer of tourism. An individual who goes through a decision process and undertakes a series of steps to determine which product to buy, in the case of tourism which product to experience.

Furthermore, the most recent report published

This process involves in basic terms a search, a

on 7th March 2012 ,CORALINA Seaflower Bio-

purchase, the service consumption and the

sphere (2012), there appears to be positive im-

post-consumption; this in tourism real terms

provements on the highlighted aspects such as: Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


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means the experiencing a destination

tourism absorbed mainly or partially by the

environment and the post trip evaluation.

organizations with small or large-scale capital of investment the industry, more often than rarely, encompass the reality of tourism as ‘we know

One very important characteristic of the ‘modern’ experience is: To be a tourist. Not to ‘go away’ is like not being part of an affluent society. It is a marker of status and has become a ‘necessity’ for good health.

it’. Through a growth of consumer culture and access to commodities, tourists have become more savvy and demanding. Middleton and Clarke (2001) argued that this rise has occurred

Moreover Urry’s (1990) The Tourist Gaze gives a

globally due to a number of factors, that include

functional framework for appreciating the way in

increased affluence, better education, more ex-

which demand is constructed. It is the visual

perience of travel, more cultural diverse traveling

distinctiveness which sets many destinations

population and a greater exposure to the media

apart and which is instrumental in attracting

and other forms of information. The contempo-

visitors, this consumption idea is a doctrine

rary tourism industry has had little choice but to

assumed by the academics on the field. The

become more consumer oriented to meet and

notion of the Tourist Gaze was developed on

where possible exceed the increasingly sophis-

Faucault’s (1976) idea of the medical gaze and

ticated needs of the market, Connell and Page

suggests that ‘tourists observe the environment

(2009).

with interest and curiosity.’ The “gaze” is one way of understanding a way the experiential elements of tourism motivation. It is linked with the consumption of an environment away from the everyday life; what is sough in a holiday is an inversion of the everyday life, Urry(1990).

It seems debatable however, that although the tourist has become demanding and well informed, the quality of supply, promotion and perhaps government reinforcement doesn’t seem to facilitate sustainable practices on tourism consumption.

This ‘inversion’ (sic) seems feasible and real in any context of tourism in a “remote” destination,

The tourist, with the emerging social acceptabil-

if this is not understood by a disjunction of the

ity and social learning, plays a major role in en-

everyday life of an individual altogether.

couraging new behaviors, as do the media and

The artificiality of touristic destinations and the size of the tourist population ‘gazing‘ at the host population combined with the ‘packing’ of

NGO’s mobilizing a relentless criticism on ‘green washing’ unfair and inequitable practices in tourism.

visitors at a certain place (carrying capacity) or at a certain time (seasonality) or the benefits of Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


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The travel, tourism and hospitality industries have traditionally focused on the benefits or features that satisfy the needs, wants and demands of tourists as well as adapting them to the appropriate price. These integrated to the ‘right’ marketing mix in the traditional terms, results in great returns and consumer satisfaction. As argued by Pan and Crotts (2012) social media has revived the older decision-making process prevalent before the emergence of mass media when the exchange of opinions was centered on the closer circle of friends, family and community. The dissemination and development of knowledge takes place in social environments that are characterized by information sharing and social interactions, Liburd and Hjalager (2010).

The word-of-mouth has digitalized. This very thought of digitalization of tourists experiences has the potential to spread viral in the very same way as in communities of the twentieth centuries mass-media and advertising led the people, and in a way, still does.

However, this can only be validated in the measure that there is access to internet from the consumer side and appropriate know how from the supply side on Web technologies and IT adoption and even access to the internet.

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choice, the research process will be described including the design and procedure. Weaknesses, limitations and constraints will be analyzed to establish the implications of the chosen methods. Finally the proposed methods of analysis will be presented.

Research Question What strategies are in place in San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands to build sustainable tourism development? Are the strategies used to develop sustainable tourism development transmitted to the tourist and how is this perceived?

Chapter Three: Research Methods

To what extent can the existent user generated content influence tourists perception? What types of tourist is the Archipelago attracting and what are the factors that shape the decision making process?

Research aim and objectives To understand the tourist’s importance to The

Introduction

Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina as a destination and to evaluate how new channels of communication such as

In this chapter, the research question, research

Web 2.0, blogs, mini-blogs, amongst others can

objectives and aims will be presented. Followed

influence the process of sustainable tourism

by a description of the primary research

development in remote communities.

methods chosen with a brief explanation of Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

What are the roles of the existent core organizations to create sustainable tourism

language familiar to the group of people to be interviewed.

development in the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Establish the roles of the existent core

Sample

organizations that aim to create sustainable

A group of industry leaders based in San

tourism development in the Archipelago of San

Andrés and Old Providence was identified using

Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina.

a mix of convenience and stratified purposeful

Analyze critically the community initiatives and/or readiness to participate in sustainable tourism development by identifying the existent tools to develop and aid sustainable tourism by Identifying what methods are being used to promote the destination. Examine the existent use of applications Web 2.0 such as, collaborative trip planning tools and social networks in the Archipelago and analyze how they shape the tourist perception on the destination and if they encourage sustainability.

sampling. The convenience factor was that through industry professionals in other fields in Colombia, the researcher could then get in contact with more industry professionals in the Archipelago to then be able to use stratified purposeful sampling selecting respondents representative to the tourism industry in the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providencia. This potential sample was then sent an e-mail with a petition to be part of the research with limited information of what the research was on but giving information about the way the researcher got their contact. Other than that the

Primary Data collection

only information was the mention of the Archipelago and that it was part of a dissertation

The chosen method of primary data collection was in depth interviews with local stakeholders of the tourism industry and related areas in San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina.

research. People who responded to the initial email were then e-mailed back and asked to take part in an interview and asked for an appointment either by phone or by Skype.

The research prior interviews started with a desk

The interviews were initially going to be

study research which included existing literature,

conducted by February, however, it was

case studies and several official government

necessary to allow more time as interviewees

documents and other relevant research material

had to be contacted several times to conceal an

conducted in the field to then be able to design

appointment and adding to availability issues

the questions relevant to the topic and with a

and poor connectivity of the island, these meant

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that interviews had to be postponed due to

The sample size was determined by the infor-

poor or in some cases no internet connection.

mation acquired with the interviews and the

This method was chosen as primary research given that it allows for adapting questioning to answers given which will yield richer and more useful information, Saunders, Lewis and Thronhill (2007). Some structured questions were used through the interviews relied on more open forms of questioning, allowing the researcher to probe and develop points of

quality of information collected. Furthermore, as the information on interviews was starting to become repetitive the sample size was reached. “It should be noted that the general rule on sample size for interviews is that when the same stories, themes, issues, and topics are emerging from the interviewees, then a sufficient sample size has been reached”, Veal (2006).

interest; moreover using interviews could prove useful for collection of qualitative data from a

The interviews were backed up by the

small sample, Veal (2006).

secondary research and observations. The desk

The instrument used to conduct the interviews was a checklist which consisted of a list with a mix of topics to cover and some structured questions which were used mostly as guidance. In most cases rephrased and sometimes even explained to the interviewee; this checklist served merely as guide of questions and topics to be raised. Although all the topics were covered, they were covered with a flexible order;

study has throughout been backed up by different media and communication channels s u c h a s o f fi c i a l w e b - s i t e s , F a c e b o o k , Tripadvisor, Travel blogs, etc which were also observed throughout the research process. The in depth interviews were in some ways used to either confirm or corroborate findings. In most cases these interviews lead to other relevant issues and other relevant questions.

in the sense that the themes discussed were done in different order and the length of different

Weaknesses, limitations and

topics varied from interview to interview.

constraints of the research methods

The duration of the interviews was no less than

and implications

half an hour and in some cases extended to up to one and a half hours. All interviews were recorded and then transcribed. For the purposes of data storage and confidentiality, as a precaution, the research material is not labeled with real names of certain organizations or people. The transcribing took approximately three to five hours per interview.

The availability and initial contact with the local stakeholders proved a big challenge. Very often people do not read e-mails from unknown senders and/or have strong spam controls. The “connect-ability” of the archipelago was an issue throughout the process given the fact that connections would break quite often. To

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alleviate this the respondents were identified

The secondary research was an ongoing

and contacted at least with one month notice.

process and was completed upon the

The distance from the researcher to the site and

completion of the research to ensure literature

remoteness of the same, proved the biggest

review was up to date and relevant.

challenge of all given that the researcher had not been to the destination before conducting the research.

a. Drafting of preliminary chapters: The Chapters such as Introduction and Research Methods were completed by the end of January as the information needed for this

Proposed data analysis methods “The

researcher using the qualitative approach is

not concerned about adequate numbers or random selection, but in trying to present a working picture of the boarder social structure from which the observations are drawn”, Karla Henderson (1991:132). The information gathered from the in depth interviews was sorted through and evaluated with relation to the concepts identified in the research questions and theoretical framework. Initially the ‘emergent themes’ analysis approach was used; this approach is typically used in qualitative analysis Veal (2006). The information emerging from the transcripts of the in depth interviews will be

was desk study based. The literature review was an ongoing process as mentioned above and was completed shortly before the final write up. b. Field/primary research: The field and primary research were conducted between January and May. The Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations were written in May and literature review completed. c. Preparation of illustrative matter All Illustrative material was collected throughout the research process, Graphs and tables resulting from the primary research were prepared, as the analysis was being carried out.

analyzed manually and in some cases aided by a word processor. The themes emerging from

d. Assembly and binding

the transcripts will be “flagged” to classify and

The revision of text, grammar, style, design and

organize the information collected and then

layout was carried out the first week of May.

incorporated to the other relevant secondary

Printing and binding was done the second week

research to then be linked back to the

of May.

theoretical framework.

Research Process

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To u r i s m , D e v e l o p m e n t a n d Sustainability Like many other destinations, the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence has realized

Chapter Four: Findings, Analysis and Discussion

that tourism can be a tool to improve the economy of a region and the possible provision of development of human capital, due it’s potential to generate economic growth. The Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence has at its development core the goal to develop sustainably, as part of their agenda. This plan is linked to the Colombian central government’s development objectives. Throughout the research, it has become evident that the

Introduction

Archipelago has a clear division on the development stages and a substantial difference or

This chapter touches upon the Tourism

even disjunction of destination product within

development and Sustainability of The

the two islands. This is not only evident on the

Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providence. It

distribution and participation of the locals in

examines the strategies in place to build

tourism but also the tourist type disjunction it

sustainable development in the archipelago. It

presents, this later gathered on the monitoring

seeks to answer questions pertaining methods

of content throughout the research.

to promote the destination, organizations and development and evident obstacles.

In the past sixty years San Andrés has been put

Furthermore it analyzes the typology of tourists

through two events established by the central

the Archipelago is attracting and seeks to

government’s that have shaken it. These have

analyze the strategies used to develop

not been evaluated, thoroughly thought through,

sustainable tourism. This is concluded with a

nor resolved. Old Providencia has been due to

description of the extent existent user generated

it’s location kept away from the events San An-

content (UGC) could influence tourists

drés has experienced.

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First, by declaring San Andrés a ‘Freeport’ in

and these were the limited to the lower remu-

1953, the government created a duty free is-

nerated jobs.

land. This generated an immigration turmoil, changing it’s demographic dynamics, ethnic

Some of the evidence suggests that the Archi-

composition and productive structure dramati-

pelago has lost its competitive advantage of a

cally.

commerce and shopping ‘Mecca’ and will keep on doing so due to the TLC (Free Trade Agree-

“The local ‘raizal’ population presented a popu-

ment) that was agreed upon. The impact that

lation growth of 1.6 per cent...and between

the newly signed TLC will have is still to be

1953 and 1993 the growth of the population

seen, however there is common agreement

reached percentages up to 6.5 per year. Com-

amongst the respondents in fearing a bigger

posed by continental Colombians, Arabs and

depression on the economy. Subject D men-

Jewish populations who identifying the eco-

tioned how the continental Colombians will not

nomic possibilities, sought the archipelago in a

have any reasons for ‘crossing the Caribbean’

period when the Colombian continental econ-

to go shopping, now that they have access to

omy was closed” López (2012).

the same prices at their doorstep.

Without this incremental growth, the ‘raizal‘

Adding on to the above mentioned Lopéz

population would have been likely growing at a

(2012) explains how “the only public service

low rate and the total population at 2012 would

widely available is energy, which is highly subsi-

be 15.000 of 25.000 people and not the actual

dized, covering 98% of the territory, while Public

estimated 75.000-100.000, López (2012). This

Service for Drinking Water Provision and Sewer-

marginalized the ‘raizal’ community from the

age covers 30% of the population and it de-

main economic activities, ‘commerce and tour-

pends highly on the energy provision”.

ism’ which were developed successfully by the immigrants.

The unpublished government document for development presenting the regional development

Second, in 1990, the central government de-

plan for the years 2012-2015 Guerrero (2012) is

clares economic liberalization cutting back the

robust and complies all the areas of the devel-

duty free zone and thus San Andrés’ competi-

opment of the island.

tive advantage. The area pertaining to tourism development It is important to remark that by 1993, the ‘rai-

Guerrero (2012:277-280) is, however, made of a

zal’ population’s participation on the three most

brief chapter that seems short of crucial infor-

important industries ‘construction, commerce

mation considering the size of the tourism in-

and tourism’ was 13.7% of the existent jobs

dustry in the Archipelago; moreover, it seems to

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neglect the impact that represents for the Archi-

operates as a system. This is not only sup-

pelago.

ported by Moscardo (2008), but also widely ac-

Although the unemployment rate is relatively low

knowledged by the academic community; Hun-

in the Archipelago, some 11%, the total per-

slow (2002) Upchurch and Tievane (2000) Timo-

centage of the population that is currently em-

thy (1999). The lack of measurement can also

ployed in the area of trade, restaurants and ho-

be seen as negligence by governing bodies to

tels amounts to 43.5%. Considering the geo-

consistently adjust to the sustainability agenda

graphic location, the fragility of it’s ecosystem

though proper measurement tools.

and the vulnerability of it’s population, there seems to be a neglect of the actual importance

Moreover, many of the negative impacts that

of the potential contributor tourism could be-

tourism has on the island have been identified in

come to achieve societal aims of sustainable

the interviews, these included:

development. Destruction of ecosystems when tourism inThe brief diagnostic suggests that this relates to

frastructure is built:

the existence of a tourism master plan which

Subject D highlights the gaps between regula-

was introduced in 2002 and has been put into

tions an implementation, as an example explain-

practice since. It is claimed that this plan has

ing how a 5 Star hotel was built and was

shown positive improvements on recreational

granted permission provided they would plant a

areas, re-appropriation of public spaces, and

number of Palm trees to offset the impact the

building and maintenance of public touristic in-

construction would have, however the hotel got

frastructure. Although statistical data such as

away by planting a few fruit trees instead.

tourists arrivals and occupancy rates is presented, this indicators are purely economic, and

Pollution and problems with waste disposal:

the initiatives are mainly focused on the industry

The energy provider of the island has in their

supply side rather than the sustainability of the

commitment, to provide energy from renewable

destination as a whole. This approach of devel-

sources. To achieve this they built recently an

opment has been classed by many authors as

incineration plant. This to the interviewees

overly simplistic, Andersen (1991) Southgate and Sharpley (2002), however widely evident across the globe.

seem to be tackling their problem of waste, generating an even bigger problem of pollution. Subject C commented that the plant is

This lack of measurement of industry results

wasting even more energy than it produces

might relate to nonexistent tools or even re-

moreover the inhabitants of this region are

sources to collect data and perhaps (and likely)

going to be subject to environmental night-

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London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

mare. On the other hand the waste disposal

land with people with no education and low

is not managed appropriately. There are no

resources”.

real measurements to avoid tourists or locals from inappropriate waste disposal although there are plans by the government, to introduce measurements as Subject B expressed.

There is a recurring theme in the literature related to local leadership and the little chance of improving people’s standard of living and overall standard of life, in a sustainable way, without their collaborative participation in planning processes Dunlop Report (2002). In this matter the

Increasing population and surpassed carrying capacity:

Archipelago counts with some local stakeholder coordination and participation tools, which have

The issue of overpopulation and the existent

proven positive and aid to minimize the negative

mechanism of population control OCCRE is

role of external agents involving the “raizal”

proven to be a mayor issue that needs seri-

community. This has been identified throughout

ous attention. In all the interviews this issue

the research process with clear and consistent

came up without being asked and in the great majority was classed as the most pressing issue on the agenda. The findings suggest that this mechanism needs restructuring as it is contributing in a way on the decreasing human resources and affecting

agreement amongst all the interviewees.

Which strategies are in place to build sustainable development? The respondents generally agreed that the government lacks clear goals. Subject C argues

the human capital on the archipelago due to

that while there are individual initiatives, if they

the high controls. Some of the Subjects

would agree on a direction it would be benefi-

even commented that the OCCRE had a

cial. “There is a need for more ecological tour-

breach on it’s operation. Subject C ex-

ism and the government should have more con-

plained how the immigration that occurred in the 1980s was due to the extreme violence that continental Colombia was experiencing at the time, and further explained

sistency in their long term planning and visualization.” Subject A expressed how if the public sector and the government would unite and aim for the same focus, there would be a clear improvement on the situation overall.

how there was a politician who offered ‘asylum’ to families in the Archipelago bribing for

On the other hand the regulatory body of the

votes to win an election, “Filling up the is-

archipelago pertaining the biosphere reserve and the sustainability of the Archipelago, as

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mentioned in the body of the report, is CORA-

CORALINA produced a report on the work

LINA. The general perception of the respon-

carried out throughout 2010. These results are

dents is that CORALINA is seen amongst the

compelling and the report shows thorough

general public as an organisation that has not

reporting and enough evidence of compliance

determined what is to be sustained from whom

and evidence of these macro-projects being

and how by the people whose habitat it is, Sub-

carried out. This report however does not touch

ject D argues that this organisation creates too

upon the tourism matter from a development

many barriers for development and does not

approach. This could indicate that the reserve is

take into account that the sustainability of the

working on the ground level to alleviate the

island should primarily serve the human devel-

issues that are pressing for the inhabitants of

opment of it’s inhabitants.

the archipelago. Furthermore supports the assumption of the lack of knowledge about

Furthermore the subjects agreed on the fact

tourism observed on the Government’s

that the actual reach is limited due to various

development plan.

factors. First, Subject C articulates on the fact that the organization’s role is diminished due to the limited room of reinforcement it possesses.

What methods are there to promote

The organisation has no jurisdiction and de-

the destination?

pends on the police and similar bodies to reinforce the protected territory. Subject C also ex-

The destination product is not well defined, in-

pressed that the support the organisation is

terviews conducted during the research process

overshadowed by the priority of drug trafficking

identify a somewhat sense of disconnection and

activities.

lack of amalgamation of the individually produced tourism amenities. Buhalis (1999) sug-

In some cases respondents believe the organi-

gests that the Destination Management Organi-

sations studies are biased and somewhat cor-

zation (DMO) has an overall responsibility for the

rupt to serve individual interests. Subject D ex-

entire destination product and through incen-

pressed, “It is like a two faced management

tives and policies facilitate the development of

from the organisations filled with hypocrisy.

products, which is desired from the demand

While the management keeps being hypocrite,

side but at the same time does not jeopardize

in the sense that for the public has severe regu-

local resources, being the guardian of the image

lations and tough measurements but when the

and resources of the destination.

organisation needs something they produce a study which adapts to their agenda, there is no

As discussed above the DMO is concentrating

possible way of development”.

it’s strategic approach on visitation and tourism training. There seems to be an underestimation

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on the entire range of impacts such as over-

Although Subject A views this type of tourism as

crowding, environmental problems and sensitiv-

“necessary” to generate visibility in the sense

ity to local culture on the DMO side, not ena-

that by having more tourists, more people know

bling a comprehensive strategy. If analyzed

about the islands, and will help to put the Archi-

through “the destination life cycle”, Butler (1980)

pelago on the map. Subject A also admits that

and compared with the interviews, it can estab-

the two hotel chains, namely “Decameron and

lished that the destination is at its saturation and

OnVacation”, their high-volume low-profit margin

even decline stage, where the destination is de-

strategy have the same impact on the Archipel-

pending on special offers to boost visitation.

ago. “Loads of tourists all year round which simply does not help, economically it does not

While the occupancy is on a positive curve, the

help the island and the trash they leave is unbe-

quantity of occupancy does not represent in-

lievable.”

creasing economic benefits for the destination.

The research shows that the strategy already

The strategy used by the biggest proportion of

has had a devastating impact on the destina-

the tourism supply is a high-volume low-profit

tion, this can be identified by the respondents

margin strategy. This should be carefully man-

recurring mention of two aspects, first, the con-

aged as it could push the destination in greater

tinuous mention of the unequal and almost

decline, which can force to further price reduc-

marginal access to tourism benefits that local

tions and further quality decrease; this could

enterprises have to the existent tourism. Sec-

become a vicious cycle that one could make the

ond, the worn out infrastructure and lack of re-

purpose and benefit of the touristic activity at

sources to regenerate it, due to marginal in-

the destination questionable.

come.

This strategy is not only prejudicial for the destination on the level of the inevitable further decline, but also on the type of tourist it attracts, making it more difficult to transmit the sustainability message it is aiming to achieve. On this matter, there is a recurring theme on all the interviewees that agrees with the literature, the manifestation of the current strategy is not only overpopulating the island even more but also the local businesses are seeing very little returns.

Organisations and Development

There are several individual initiatives of independent stakeholders who have identified the potential for differentiation and rejuvenation through development of niche markets such as ecotourism, and Community Based Tourism (CBT) called “Posadas Nativas” (Native Lodges). The latter was introduced as a government tool to aid poverty reduction through tourism and in the case of the Archipelago the “raizales” to be-

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come active stakeholders of the tourism in the

There is also an initiative that congregates those

Archipelago. These have become very popular

who are intending to establish a native lodge

amongst the sustainable tourism development

and have the infrastructure and providing them

of the Archipelago and somewhat successful,

with guidelines and recommendations and fol-

although the literature suggests this types of

low up audit visits. This initiative has also seen

tourism “have not provided much evidence that

much support from the government of Alvaro

they offer any better outcomes for the residents

Uribe (Colombian president 2002-2010) provid-

of the destinations”, Wilson (1996).

ing them with tools such as technical training, marketing, financial and web site management.

Currently there are actions to aid to the training and coaching for the “posaderos nativos” (man-

Although there are these initiatives and various

agers of the “Posadas Nativas”). In one hand

training tools, the primary research seems to

there is the SENA (National Apprenticeship

agree with the secondary research in the sense

Service) a decentralized organisation who’s pur-

that the need for training is secondary, what

pose is to provide technical training, accelerated

needs to be invested upon is on human capital,

training to adults and maintain the theory prac-

to develop and implement actions for strength-

tice related to different trades, based on the

ening the community health, in other words, to

guidelines of the International Labour Organiza-

build upon human capital. There is a need to

tion (ILO). On the other hand, there are initiatives

generate cohesion and strengthen the networks

of better established hostels that are fostering a

and relationships between the people in the

“posada nativa” providing it with training. As

community.

said by Subject A, the latter is on a pilot stage. Subject B explained that the SENA is not only

Evident obstacles

providing training in the tourism sector but also working closely with the “posaderos nativos” to help them “achieve a more formal level of operation where they can meet certain benchmarks and/or service performance standards and improvement in the infrastructure to be seen as a formal business and not as casual as it is currently seen”. To achieve this the SENA approach is an apprenticeship program in which the candidate achieves the title of native lodge assistant

San Andres and Old Providence presence in conventional media, trade magazines and trade shows is limited. When it makes the effort to have a stand in trade shows it presents an image of non collectivity and connection as a destination. As explained by Subject D, there is no general representation pushing the tourism forward; “the DMO’s strategy, if it can be called a strategy is very basic”.

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London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

The primary research has also shown that the

tween the actual offer and the reality of the mar-

destination is at a stage of strengthening the

ket they attract. The destination is aiming to de-

skills for tourism while concentrating on provid-

velop sustainable tourism, although there seem

ing practical training throughout the community.

to be a shift on the tourist profile they attract,

There is evidence in the interviews and in the

the actual type of customer base (majority of

web monitoring that the stage on their web

tourists they attract) is not in synchronization of

presence is mostly at Web 1.0 stage, this is the

the goal of the destination to position itself in the

stage where the web site is limited to informa-

green tourism market.

tion provided by the supplier and the interaction with the community is a one way interaction.

The type of tourist the Archipelago attracts has

There are a few factors that could be identified

been widely discussed in the interviews given

to understand the underdeveloped web of the

the fact that the behavior of the tourist is as im-

destination compared to its competitors, namely

portant to the sustainability of the island, as the

the very limited access to internet and the lack of

3("&+.0'*&&+,*-.''

human resources to de-

What type of tourists is the Archipelago attracting? Are the strategies used to develop sustainable tourism

!"#$%&'()'*&&+,*-.'+/'01(".*/2.'

velop this tools.

6""$ 5""$ 4""$ 2""$ !""$ '""$ "$ ()*+,$-../0+,1$

!""#$

!""%$

!""&$

!"'"$

!"''$

2%#345!$

2%&35"'$

4''32!6$

4#63424$

5!&35'#$

7+/8,+89$:),);</+$ 2"534"!$

2"#355#$

2!&3%2#$

2&43#'&$

45232%#$

=8*>.8+?)8+,$$

%'3&44$

%'34%&$

%'3#'5$

#53##$

%!3"5$

Figure 2: Tourist Arrivals in Thousands 2007-2011 (Data Source: TLA San Andrés) Source: ‘Author’

transmitted to the tourist and how is this perceived?

local population. There seem to be a clear division of tourists who visit the archipelago with a very high agreement amongst the interviewees

As mentioned above, the image of the destina-

in this discussion, this will be plotted in a table

tion transmitted to the tourist in not one of co-

and classified as Type A and Type B and

hesion, as the individual stakeholders seem to

grouped in factors such as demographic, travel-

be operating in a vacuum. The product of the

ing style, product and activity and perception.

destination has fundamental disjunction be-

(See Table 1)

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Factors

Type A

Type B

Demographics: a) Age b) Origin c) Expenditure d) Education

Families with children, Older people Mainland Colombia (Armenia, Manizales), Canada, Germany low income, low expenditure low educational standard

22-40 Brasil, Argentina, Chile, Europe, Central America backpackers, local expenditure good educational standard

Traveling style: e) Accommodation used f) Travel arrangements

San Andrés only All inclusive Travel Agency, Brochures Word of mouth

San Andrés and Old Providence Independent accommodation Internet, Blogs, Search engines, UGC

Product and activity: g) Activity participation

3S Mindless routine Leave Waste Most time at destination spent in hotel

Adventure Cultural Nature Active Involved Recycle

Perception:

“Cheap Caribe”

“Untouched Paradise”

Table 1: Tourist Typography Source: ‘Autho’r

Percentage of arrivals It has been identified in the research that while the majority of tourists the Archipelago attracts are from mainland Colombia, most of this pro-

14%

portion are from poor backgrounds looking for the low-cost holidays the major hotel groups of the island offer and the type of tourism they offer is 3S (sun, sand, sea). However this is an assumption presented by the interviewees, by the

86%

time the research was conducted there was no published official data to support these assumptions. The official data available supports however that 86% of the tourists arrivals are from mainland Colombia and Subject C estimates

Mainland Colombia International Figure 2.1:Percentage of arrivals linked to data on Figure 2.Source: ‘Author’

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Image 5: CORALINA Airport One. Source: CORALINA (2012)

Image 6: CORALINA Airport Two. Source: CORALINA (2012)

that 60% of these are of very low income and very low educational standard (See Table 2.1). It is very important to note that while the numbers of mainland Colombia tourist arrivals has been growing parallel to the total tourist arrivals, there is a decline on International arrivals. (See Figure 2)

Some ways of transmitting the sustainability message to the tourist include:

Awareness campaigns: A campaign in the airport by CORALINA shown on “Enjoy it to the max, but take good care of it.” The interviewees who commented on this initiative, said it was a good message, however did not have a major impact on the behaviour of

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Figure 3: Regional Interest. Source: Google Stats (2012)

the tourist on site, the exposure of this adver-

hotel has been reached, should not be seen as

tisement is low, as it is seen only on arrival to

sustainable as it could be seen in one hand as

the airport and is displayed amongst other pub-

charity and on the other could compromise visi-

licity. Also as mentioned by the interviewees,

tor’s satisfaction, given the fact that the product

there is no reinforcement of this campaign on

on offer is not the same.

site. (See Image 5 and Image 6) The Hiking Project (“Proyecto senderismo”). Code of conduct Within the training programs offered by SENA, Subject B explained that there is a voluntary ini-

there is the Hiking Project, an apprenticeship

tiative which has been introduced by two of the

program to become hiking tour guide. Subject E

large hotels of the island, in which they seek to

explained: “Within the processes we train the

innovate their service portfolio, promoting native

guide to become a -trainer- and counselor to

lodges that have complied with a series of qual-

the tourist.” This approach could prove useful to

ity standards, within their services, giving the

transmit the messages as the contact is direct

tourist the opportunity of a cultural immersion

and providing the messages are transmitted in a

within their visit. A similar case was mentioned

coherent matter. Moreover this approach could

by Subject A in which the hotels, when reach

be an example of transmission along the supply

their maximum capacity, transfer tourists over to

chain to generate a constant flow of steward-

native lodge to maximize their capacity.

ship towards sustainability on site.

In first instance the primary research on web monitoring showed no evidence on the promotion for native lodges online. There was no evidence found on such linkages. Furthermore, the transferring of guests once the capacity of the Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


London Metropolitan Business School London, UK 2012

To what extend can the existent user

working that represents 86.5% of the total vis-

generated content (UGC) influence

ited sites. Furthermore, it can be seen that the

tourists perceptions?

most popular Social Network is Facebook, which accounts for 83% of the total reach. Blogs however are not very popular (See Figure

The Web 2.0 development in the Archipelago is

3.4). Colombia shows to be below the average

limited in the tourism sector, and the various

region percentage on online trip purchase (Fig-

factors that affect this have been mentioned

ure 3.3). This could be due to a lack of trust of

above in the discussion.

security.

Although the research has shown that given the limited Web 2.0, the UGC is also limited. There

This not also serves to present with the hy-

are several Posadas Nativas in Trip Advisor,

pothesis that perhaps the travel arrangements

even though web searches are monopolized by

of Type A tourist discussed on (Table 1) namely

the All inclusive hotels and their offers, both in Google and in Trip advisor. There are various blogs available, Subject A expresses that the most useful tool to attract Type B tourists is via blogs and the web in general. Expressing that the most useful tool to transmit the sustainable message is through the UGC and information available on the Collaborative trip planning tools such as “mochileros.com”. This site, she expresses “is one of the best for us to establish links with the tourists in Brazil, Argentina and Chile”. The regional interest shown by Google insights show that most of the searches in the last 12 months are from the South American Continent. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3.1: Audience Internet 15+ in millions Source: comSource, August 2010

Online audiences in Latin America are on growth

Travel agency based could be directly linked

as the latest study of Internet penetration from

with the fact of trust issue mentioned above.

the interactive Advertising Bureau shows (I.A.B, 2010). Colombia has grown at a 33% rate in the

As shown on ( Figure 2.1) the great majority of

past year. The first category used is Social net-

tourists the Archipelago attracts are Colombi-

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Figure 3.2: Percentage of population Internet Colombia per category of type of site. Source comSource, August 2010

ans. With this in mind it could be argued that there is a potential to use and expand the reach of promotion and transmission of the sustainability message through the most popular channels, moreover, although the trip purchasing behavior is still low, growth is forecasted.

Figure 3.4: Social media networks in Colombia. Source: com.Source, August 2010

Figure 3.3: Reach of online trip buy. Source: com.Source , August 2010

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Establish the roles of the existent core organizations to create sustainable tourism development in the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina

The Archipelago’s environmental authority CORALINA is in charge for the planning and implementation on the Biosphere reserve’s sustainability; throughout the research process, it has been observed that the organizations efforts

Chapter Five: Conclusions and Recommendations

are somewhat not proving efficient. Although the corporation received a prize for the best action towards Biological Biodiversity in 2010, it seems to provide insufficient clear dialog with the community in the sense that it is seen as inefficient and corrupt. It has also been observed that the weight the organization puts on tourism, given that it is by far one of the most important industries in the Archipelago, does not represent the importance

Introduction In this chapter, conclusions and recommendations will be made around the three main objectives of the research. In addition, limitations and weaknesses of the research will be addressed, Some recommendations will be made to industries, various stakeholders or other researchers, and in some cases further relevant research will be highlighted.

this industry encompasses for the area. The local governing body, which represents the Archipelago, elected every four years, is responsible for envisioning a regional development plan. Although it is common practice, envisioning plans of development as governments change can only be classed as unsustainable. This approach defers the purpose and jeopardizes consistency and continuity creating inadequate, short term development.

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It is important to consider that, when limited inWith this said, the main objective of the gov-

dicators are chosen, often translates in mislead-

ernment development plan 2012-1015 is to

ing results. This could be seen as “Greenwash”

create sustainability in the tourism sector. How-

and not “Development for all.”Therefore, it is

ever, there are no signs of measurable objec-

recommended to introduce a model of sustain-

tives, and the plan seems to neglect certain as-

ability indicators to establish a framework to

pects of formulation and indicators and meas-

work upon.

urement tools. Furthermore, the local tourism authority seems to be negligible.

Some tools, which have proven somewhat successful, such as Community Capacity building

It is recommended to articulate an in depth plan,

and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR),

not only including detailed data collection and

amongst others could be implemented. Moreo-

thorough transparency but also combining ef-

ver, creating a transparent network seems im-

forts and expertise amongst the organizations.

perative.

The proposed plan should include a clear sustainability impact assessment of the industry

Although there are several initiatives around

pertaining indicators and goals for each specific

training in tourism there is a need to generate

segment of the industry. Furthermore, a holistic

cohesion and strengthen the networks, trust

approach in the planning that includes social,

and relationships between the people in the

cultural and environmental indicators along with

community.

the economic ones could prove beneficial. Some critical factors to the successful sustainable development of the Archipelago have been identified throughout the research; These include: Carrying Capacity assessment and imple-

Analyze critically the community initiatives and/or readiness to participate in sustainable tourism development by identifying the existent tools to develop and aid sustainable tourism and the methods used to promote the destination.

mentation Local stakeholder collaboration, coordination and participation tools need to be implemented. Tourism impact assessments to develop sustainability indicators

The research has shown that Archipelago is not only having to cope with the deficit of government initiatives, but also with serious issues pertaining poor human resource availability within the tourism supply chain and deficient tourism

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infrastructure, these also combined with evident economic leakages.

For diffusing information with other biosphere reserves and share knowledge with other desti-

It is recommended to establish agreements with

nations with similar characteristics.

national and international organizations, that are proven to have sustainable achievements to create alliances of several types these are as

Encourage education, information and participation

follows: Have Champions in the localities, Villages and Establish linkages to human resources.

schools. Create a ‘real’ challenge for organizations within the Biosphere reserves in interna-

Work with organizations and industry profes-

tional networks and programs, to promote

sionals to achieve development on consultancy

cutting-edge linkages in education and public

basis. This would help to foster human re-

awareness.

sources without generating a burden on the overpopulation at the Archipelago. Create collaboration programs

Create incentives at national government level Tax concessions, and other similar tools could prove useful to increase participation by tourism

Such as internships or Volunteering in conjunc-

and hospitality businesses in mainland Colom-

tion with national and international organizations

bia who have sustainability practices, know how

that have programs such as Sustainable Tour-

and replicable business practices to create

ism Development and similar fields.

placement programs, conduct training sessions, etc for tourism stakeholders in the Archipelago.

Encourage collaboration Regulate the ‘cut throat attitude’ of all incluBetween the World Biosphere Reserve Network

sive enterprises

and other research and educational networks. Facilitate the use of biosphere reserves for col-

Some of its practices of heavy reductions

laborative research projects of consortia of uni-

should be sanctioned. There is very good evi-

versities and other institutions of higher educa-

dence in the literature, that this form of tourism,

tion and research, in the private as well as pub-

not only jeopardizes local community but also

lic sector, and at non-governmental, as well as

creates an immense impact on the ecosystem

governmental levels.

while deteriorating the human cohesion and creating a marginal access to tourism benefits

Promote collaborative networks and systems

of local enterprises. Furthermore, contributes to

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wear out the infrastructure without generating

such as San Andrés and Old Providence suc-

any returns into the community. The resources

cessfully competing in that market is very un-

that generate from such activity are leaked to

likely, if it is to keep the sustainability agenda in

‘other’ economies and obstructs the potential

check.

rejuvenation through niche markets, the destination could achieve. Further research on this matter is recommended as it is fair to establish that by addressing the “Type of the tourist” the Archipelago attracts, some issues the destination is facing could be effectively improved. Making sure more linkages across the tourism supply are built

Examine the existent use of applications Web 2.0 such as, collaborative trip planning tools and social networks in the Archipelago and analyze how they shape the tourist perception on the destination and if they encourage sustainability. There are several aspects to consider when examining the use of web applications in the Archipelago. These include limited access to the

Combined with adjusting the tourism offer, labeling the pricing structure and investing on creat-

internet and narrow web knowledge reflected in the destination’s performance.

ing awareness on their sustainability goals. The destination would not need to concentrate on increasing the number of tourist arrivals. In other words, it is not about how many tourists they get, it is about how much they spend, and how much of this money stays at the destination. This could prove beneficial in the sense that aspects such as infrastructure could be improved and the carrying capacity issues could be addressed. People will long for untouched destinations as the tourism development around the world is takes its toll on over developed destinations. Niche is the way forward as the mass market is saturated. Furthermore, the competition is

Although the Archipelago presents some good examples of how successful UGC could impact upon businesses and destinations, these are not the norm. Effective communication, awareness and ownership building with the tourists at all stages of the “value chain” would help meeting the goals of sustainability in the Archipelago; through applications of examples of the existent know how on Web 2.0 systems in the field based upon growing a global community sharing thoughts, products and concerns, the achievements and limitations could generate a multiplier effect. Touching upon issues such as visitation patterns and visitor profiling would prove beneficial.

enormous; sandy sunny resorts are abundant in the Caribbean. The likelihood of a destination Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence by Tatiana Velez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License


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Since the great majority of tourists the Archipelago attracts are from mainland Colombia, and considering their demographics, it is fair to assume they fit into the category â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;of low or noâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; access to internet from the internet penetration study discussed on chapter four. Therefore it could be surmised that awareness campaigns are bound to be more effective if, conducted on traditional media, including trade magazines, brochures, radio, television and guerilla marketing. These could also be streamed online towards social media to encourage UGC. Furthermore, the available statistical information on the subject could prove useful while designing a marketing strategy to transmit the sustainability message. It is important to highlight that it would be beneficial to carry out an in depth demographics study of the tourist arrivals and a grounded tourist typology analysis with a mix of quantitative data and qualitative methods, to produce an accurate destination strategy. Due to the nature of this study, the typology suggested on Table 1 was based on in depth interviews and web monitoring only, and could present limitations at the strategy formulation stage.

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Building Sustainable Tourism: A Case Study of the Archipelago of San Andrés and Old Providence  

This paper seeks to understand the tourist’s importance to The Archipelago of San Andrés, Old Providencia and Santa Catalina as a destinatio...

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