Tourism and Development in the Senian Context in Aruba: Does It Help or Hurt SIDS?

Since the closure of its oil refinery in 1986 and the recognition of Aruba’s status within the Dutch Kingdom, tourism development has been a vital role in the island’s economic growth. Many tiny island independent states and those classified as small non-independent jurisdictions (SNIJs), such as Aruba, rely heavily on tourism. The purpose of this article is to investigate whether and how tourism aids or hinders island development. The economic repercussions of tourism have been researched around the globe; however, we chose to focus on one destination, Aruba, and contextualise our findings by comparing them to other Caribbean islands. This is because tourism is more essential to the Caribbean in terms of economic dependency and tourism intensity. Aruba is an attractive case study because of its high tourism density and mono-economical development paradigm. 1 Our method is based on an ontological investigation of the relationship between tourism and economic development, which uses a contextualised understanding of development in line with Amartya Sen’s philosophical perspective. In that setting, prosperity was measured not just in terms of GDP growth, but also in terms of better social welfare for its population and distance from Senian unfreedom. For the sake of this article, unfreedom is defined as the inability to shift paradigms despite the fact that the current paradigm promotes vulnerability, fragility, and limits options for its population. As a result, despite its economic impact in terms of foreign cash, investments, and jobs, tourism has considerable and widespread externalities that should be included when considering the total impact of tourism on economic and social development.

Author (S) Details

Don Taylor
University of Aruba, Oranjestad, Aruba.

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