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Wasted paradise? Policies for Small Island States to manage tourism‐driven growth while controlling waste generation: the case of the Maldives

Florian Kapmeier and Paulo Gonçalves

System Dynamics Review, 2018, vol. 34, issue 1-2, 172-221

Abstract: Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face tension between economic growth and environmental impact. Tourism fuels growth, but the resulting solid waste and other pollutants threaten the SIDS’ natural beauty, quality of life for residents, attractiveness to tourists, and economic success. We assess the tension between tourism‐driven economic growth and environmental degradation from a limits‐to‐growth perspective, developing a generic system dynamics model of the problem using 38 years of data from the Maldives to estimate parameters and Monte‐Carlo methods to assess the sensitivity of results to uncertainty. We contrast development paths for the next three decades under three sets of policies focusing on promoting growth, managing tourism demand–supply balance, and improving waste management. Findings are counterintuitive; policies focused on better waste management alone are self‐defeating, because they increase tourism, growth and waste generation, undermining attractiveness and growth later. Policies that limit tourism demand improve economic and environmental health. © 2018 System Dynamics Society

Date: 2018
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