The aim of this project was to provide useful information to visitors about the many attractions and activities available in Tobago, while providing clear guidelines on how to reduce the harmful environmental and social impacts of tourism activities on the island. The project involved the production of a short film and leaflet designed to deliver the relevant information to the target audience in an entertaining, efficient and cost-effective manner.
Tobago is still considered to be one of the most beautiful and least spoilt islands of the Caribbean. According to many guide books and tourism publications the environmental and social fabric of the island remains largely pristine and untouched by the harmful effects of tourism. The numbers of visitors coming to Tobago, while modest in comparison to neighboring islands, is increasing steadily and so the threats to the islands fragile eco-systems and traditional lifestyles become more visible. Already the impacts of deteriorating coastal water quality in South-West Tobago have had substantial detrimental effects on the islands fringing coral reefs, particularly Buccoo Reef. The increasing demand for freshwater is a major concern during the dry season. Increasing production of solid waste, erosion of foot paths, over-fishing of reef species (e.g. conch and lobster) are just some of the symptoms of tourism that are being seen and documented.
A short high-quality film of approximately 10 minutes was produced to show to international and domestic visitors arriving at the Crown Point International Airport in Tobago. This high-quality digital film, which is shown continuously on ceiling and wall-mounted monitors, welcomes visitors to Tobago and shows them some of the colourful environmental and cultural highlights of the island. It provides relevant information for an enjoyable, enlightened and safe vacation, and depicts the wide-range of recreational activities the island has to offer. It also provides recommendations for where, when and how to pursue these activities, as well as clear guidelines for how to minimise any harmful environmental or social impacts these and other activities may cause. For instance, simple guidelines will be provided for responsible scuba diving and hiking (e.g. do not litter, do not touch) while activities like reef-walking and spear-fishing will be strongly discouraged. Cultural events, local customs, and sensitivities (e.g. dress code) will also be included to prevent unintentional offence. The main rules of the Main Ridge Rainforest Reserve, Buccoo Reef Marine Park and the Bird Sanctuary on Little Tobago are subtly inserted while showing the splendour of these natural reserves.
To reinforce and compliment the messages contained in the film, an information leaflet will be produced for passengers arriving in Tobago. The leaflet will contain illustrated information about Tobago’s culture and environment, with examples of its characteristic fauna and flora. Similarly to the film, the leaflet will contain suggestions and recommendations for excursions, and practical suggestions for a safe and enjoyable stay on the island.
The project was funded by the Travel Foundation, a UK-based foundation that was created in 2003 with the aim of making tourism more sustainable. The Foundation’s trustees, which include some of the UK’s largest tour operators, have chosen to focus much of Foundation’s effort on Tobago.