Academic journal article Review of Business & Finance Studies

An Examination of the Economic Viability of Sustainable Business Tourism in Trinidad

Academic journal article Review of Business & Finance Studies

An Examination of the Economic Viability of Sustainable Business Tourism in Trinidad

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The aim of this paper is to provide an understanding of business tourism and how it adds to sustainability and fosters economic development for countries. The paper will discuss the concept of business tourism and how it can become economically sustainable. It examines the viability of business tourism in Trinidad and makes recommendations for the future of this niche market. Furthermore, a brief assessment of the United Kingdom's business tourism industry will be presented and its policies to determine what, if any, refinements of the UK's strategies can be made to accommodate Trinidad's unique situation in the quest for sustainable business tourism. The research has revealed that business tourism is economically viable and should be pursued as a micro sector for diversifying the Trinidad and Tobago economy. The findings also embrace the notion of sustainability as a way forward.

JEL: O10

KEYWORDS: Business Tourism; Sustainable Tourism Development; Butler's (1980) TALC Model; Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events (MICE); Economic Sustainability; Trinidad.

INTRODUCTION

Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world (WTTC 2009). The actual and projected statistics put forward by the WTO are encouraging for countries to diversify their economy to facilitate tourism development. However, this micro sector is an extremely diverse one and differs from country to country. Each country is uniquely different and their tourism strategies and plans would depend on what resources are available.

The Latin American Studies Organization and by Discover Magazine (2010) describe Trinidad as the "Little America" and the "economic tiger" of the Caribbean. This country boasts of having the infrastructure, amenities and facilities all geared toward the business traveler and over the years, it has become the main hub for international business in the Caribbean. One of Trinidad's appealing features is that, unlike many of its neighboring islands, it offers business tourists direct flights to many international destinations including the major metropolitan cities.

Business tourism has the potential to stimulate the economy through the continuous flow of foreign exchange, create job opportunities, encourage infrastructural and social development, establish linkages with other industries and play a key role in diversifying Trinidad's oil based economy. However, despite all its charming features, it also has negative economic impacts, as this sector is capable of influencing inflation, leading to excessive demand for resources, fostering unbalanced economic development and exploitation, bringing about unwanted spill off sectors, all of which collectively increases the vulnerability of countries.

Against this background, countries seeking to employ business tourism as a diversification avenue to escape their dependency syndromes need to be very selective in identifying their developmental goals. These goals should foster an energetic business climate and attract investors. Note worthy, due consideration should be given to the sustainability and the impact this form of development will have on spill-off sectors. According to Pattullo 1996; Mowforth and Munt 1998; Ateljevic 2007; Elliott 1999; Gmelch 2004; Hall et al 1999; Inskeep 1991 and Jayawardena 2005, business tourism apart from being a fragile industry is seen as a double edged sword that has potential for positive and negative impacts on a country's development.

The following sections of the paper examines: firstly, what the literature revealed in terms of business tourism and its economic viability in Trinidad; secondly, the methodology that was used to conduct this study; thirdly, the results and discussion; and finally, the conclusion which brings the paper to an end by summarizing the key points revealed in this study.

LITERATURE REVIEW

This section highlights the various work, views and studies in the areas of business tourism, sustainability, business tourism in Trinidad and the United Kingdom including the latter's ten-point plan. …

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