Caribbean Delight: Moving Beyond the Sustainability Discourse in Tourism

In the tourism literature a lot of attention is paid to different approaches towards tourism development, especially when it comes to developing countries. Often it is argued that it is necessary to come to a sustainable approach, whereby it is stressed that attention should be paid to the way tourism organizations influence (and are influenced by) the natural environment as well as the cultural, and economical context in which they are situated. Although the debates on sustainable forms of tourism development are a positive direction for the tourism field, we will argue in this paper that these debates will not really contribute to the progress of the field as long as there is a lack of local accounts of actors in such tourism destinations. By presenting empirical data from Belize and the Dominican Republic, the aim is to move beyond the dominant ‘sustainability discourse’ in the field of tourism in which mass-tourism is per definition ‘bad’ and small-scale tourism is ‘good’, and gain an insight into what is actually going on at the micro level.

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