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Caribbean ecotourism yields economic rewards for investors

This sector is expanding annually to meet the demand of the more ecologically conscious traveler. With real estate available in 26 different Caribbean countries, Caribbean Land and Property are offering services to assist those looking to make this investment and locate the right place to suit their needs.

Caribbean Land and Property's International Property advisor, Wini Dean advises that "At present, ecotourism development is a market that is far from being saturated and it is an ideal arena for savvy investors." For many years Ecolodges have been transforming their image from rugged and basic camps to high end luxury accommodation. Some of the best in the region are charging five star rates and potential investors are seeing that these establishments are making economic as well as ecological sense.

Dominica Property advisor, Lisette Stevens, says that "Running an ecolodge or eco-resort is an ideal business for those who want to relocate to the Caribbean and at the same time give back to nature and the local community." One of the properties Stevens is currently selling is an established eco-spa business. She explains that "the property is set within one acre of landscaped gardens, in a perfect location next to a large river and with approx. 400 feet of river frontage. The spa and guest cottages generally run at around 70% occupancy all year round, with very little promotion."

Since 2002 world tourism arrivals have grown by 23% and are forecast to double by 2020. There are concerted efforts by all stakeholders to decrease the negative environmental and social effects of the industry. The most recent World Tourism Day in Lima Peru on 27th September 2008 was held under the theme "Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change." This event signaled that even mainstream tourism is realizing that it must become more sensitive to the environment. 

According to 2005 report by the Center on Ecotourism and Sustainable Development (CESD) and The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), "Many travelers seek out pristine environments to visit, and it is important to the vast majority of them that their trip not damage local ecosystems. They are interested in patronizing hotels that are committed to protecting the local environment, and increasingly view local environmental and social stewardship as a responsibility of the businesses they support." Today, forecasters of the industry predict that with increasing public sensitization to environmental issues, tourism facilities that do not incorporate some ecologically beneficial standards, will be left behind in the coming years.

In meetings to discuss the future of the region, Caribbean heads of government have been looking for ways to sustain the tourism industry in the face of global challenges. With a desire to have tourism continue to be a viable and lasting contribution to the economy of small island states, there is increased financial backing for eco-initiatives through government subsidies, concessions and loans through private banks.