How does an island with 100 000 inhabitants welcome 2 million tourists a year without damaging its biodiversity? This was the key question that the island of Saint Martin looked to address during a recent three day workshop on sustainable tourism and MPAs.
The small European overseas territory of Saint Martin welcomed protected areas’ managers from numerous islands including representatives from Anguilla, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion Island.
The participants discussed key issues surrounding island tourism and biodiversity such as the use of visitor’s management tools, regulations, revenue and fees generation and codes of conduct.
One of the main outcomes of the event was agreement amongst participants that although tourism can pose as a threat for small islands and for protected areas, environmentally responsible tourism can also act as an excellent source of revenue to help manage protected areas.
Based on these technical peer-to-peer exchanges, a french and english synthetic guide book is being developed in order to share lessons learned. This guidebook will be released next september and could be used in other overseas territories.