Vulnerability is dynamic: Enhancing adaptive governance to climate change for Caribbean tourism through interactive modelling

Millions of tourists visit Caribbean islands annually to enjoy resort properties, beaches and coral reefs. Coastal tourism destinations, however, are under threat from climate change (e.g. more severe storms, higher temperatures, sea level rise) as well as local environmental change (water pollution, coral reef depletion, beach erosion). While tourists have a relatively high adaptive capacity in terms of choosing the timing, place and alternatives for travel, local tourism providers are limited in the scope of activities they offer, the resources available and the conditions required to supply tourism services. Adaptation is crucial to limit harm to local people.

Tourism adaptation policies are informed by an expanding yet static scientific understanding of the ecological and social vulnerabilities involved. Interactions among stakeholders and with the local and global environment shape the emergence of vulnerabilities. This research takes a dynamic approach and uses agent-based modelling (ABM) and role playing simulations through companion modelling to engage local actors and better understand these interactions. This interactive modelling approach analyses emerging vulnerabilities and adaptive governance strategies as they change over time in response to natural processes and social interactions. Two case study islands, Barbados and Curaçao, are used to develop this approach.

The project is funded by the NWO Talent Search 2014.

You can find a blog post about Jillian's work here.