Can Ecotourism Help Achieve Sustainable Development? A SWOT Analysis of the Marine Ecotourism Sector on Andros Island, Bahamas
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Small islands face a more difficult task in developing their economies as compared to their continental counterparts. Low populations, scarce resources, and limited land make development on small islands highly difficult. Things become even more complex when factoring in environmental concerns. The question then becomes: how can small islands develop their economies without sacrificing environmental and social well-being? Tourism has been the development answer for many small islands; though conventional tourism does little to promote sustainability. For some, ecotourism provides the solution, promoting nature-based tourism activities that benefit communities and protect the environment. This paper examines ecotourism as a method for achieving sustainable development in small island states. This will be carried out through an analysis of the marine ecotourism sector on Andros Island, The Bahamas, using SWOT Analysis to determine whether or not ecotourism is viable as a sustainable development option. The success of ecotourism as a strategy for sustainable development depends on the ability of planners to balance economic growth and development with social and environmental concerns, ensuring that growth does not come at the expense of the natural environment.