The metaphor of the “Three Cs” (context, characteristics, and consequences) is employed to derive a framework around which to view the phenomenon of tourism. Each element is closely related to the others, and each is affected by and embedded within the others. As an ensemble, the Three Cs determine the configuration of tourism at particular destinations. It is a simple yet analytically powerful mechanism that brings a multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of tourism problems, enabling a more nuanced understanding of international tourism issues and challenges. The paper attempts to make two points. First, the tourism style or character in a given destination is a function of a complex interrelated set of macro socio-economic and historical forces -the contexts- that differ from destination to destination (or island to island). Second, the interplay between the contexts and characteristics largely defines the consequences or results that are observed, both positive and negative. To illustrate the Three Cs approach, contrasting analyses were made between the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos, with extensions to Cuba. We suggest the Three Cs model is sufficiently broad to fit a variety of destinations and can result in better regional policy conclusions.