03 June 2012

Islands of the World XII Conference 2012

Returned from the Islands of the World XII Conference held in Tortola, BVI this past week.  A good conference with great papers, lectures, field trips and opportunities to share.  The next Islands conference will be held in 2 years in Jersey UK.

The organizers are expecting to post videos and pictures on the website, so stay tuned.  I delivered the paper:

Management of Island Restaurants:
Applying the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria

R. S. Bristow1; B. Conz1; I. Jenkins2

1Westfield State University, Westfield, Massachusetts, USA
2Les Roches Gruyere University of Applied Science, Bulle, Switzerland


There are unique challenges in the management of island restaurants. While it may be reasonable to procure local seafood as part of the cuisine, other meats, produce and beverages may have to be transported great distances.  Further, in a declining economy, sustainable management practices may be less important.

The purpose of this study is to compare and contrast the sustainable management practices found in a sample of restaurants found on the islands of Providenciales, North and Middle Caicos in the Turks and Caicos (TCI) to those found in the US.   Selected for this study was the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). These criteria are designed to be the minimum practices to insure sustainability for the business as well as protect the natural and cultural resources.  Given the lack of local food products on this Caribbean island, it is hypothesized that island restaurants may be more susceptible to sustainable practices.

Data for this study come from a questionnaire administered to a sample of restaurants in both locations.  The survey is designed to collect general information about the restaurant, what kind of cuisine offered, sources of food and concludes with a few questions asking about the sustainable practices. Excluded from the sample are chain and fast food restaurants.  At present 40 restaurants have been surveyed yielding a 25% response rate in TCI and 20% rate for the region in the States.  Additional restaurants are being sampled at the time of this writing and a plan for sampling restaurants in Europe will occur in the spring of 2012.

Preliminary results indicate that for the island restaurants most food comes from either the United States or the Dominican Republic.  Exceptions to these two sources would be the local seafood, produce grown at a local hydroponic farm and most baked goods.  While many managers desire specialized foods, e.g., organic, chemical free, grass-fed or free range food, these are not readily available.  On the other hand, price, uniformity, availability and quality are important to most managers.

Management’s assessment of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria found that energy and water use were of most concern.  Electricity use, for example, was quite expensive and restaurants had few alternatives for more sustainable practices.

Encouraging prospects do exist for the island restaurants.  Potential farm land on the neighboring North and Middle Caicos could be cultivated to meet the local needs.   Most island restaurants would purchase this local food providing the cost, availability, and quality were dependable.

Keywords – global sustainable tourism criteria, restaurants, islands, local food, sustainable development

Subtheme – Sustaining Tourism after the Global Financial Crisis

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