In many cases, small islands of different countries are important tourist destinations, where number of visitors can exceed number of local people. For such islands tourism might be the main or one of the man income sources and is strongly supported by local authorities. Tourism also offers an opportunity to introduce more diverse economic activities and employment and have advantages that are not directly related to the economy: “…renewed interest in local arts and crafts, improvements in educational, leisure, communication, medical and other facilities in the host countries, a general awareness of the man-made and natural aesthetic assets, and a broadening in the outlook of the islanders [Briguglio, 1996]. “ On the other hand, carrying capacity* of small islands is usually low; therefore tourism can causes physical, ecological, economical and socio-cultural harm to the environment of the island and can result in the ecological deterioration of island systems [Baorong, et al., 2008]. In other words, the sustainable tourism system of small island needs to have an ecological and environmental balance and it is important to find ways to achieve it without making any harm to other sub systems.
*Carrying capacity is the maximum population size of the species that the environment can sustain indefinitely, given the food, habitat, water, and other necessities available in the environment [Carrying capacity (n.d) in Wikipedia].
Briguglio L., Briguglio M., “Sustainable tourism in small islands. The case of Malta”, in: Sustainable Tourism in Islands and Small States: Case Studies, London, UK: Cassell/Pinter, 1996
Baorong H.,Zhiyun O., Hua Z., Huizhi Z., Xiaoke W., “Construction of an eco-island: A case study of Chongming Island, China”,in: Ocean&Coastal Management 51, 2008 (575-588)
Wikipedia contributors. Carrying capacity.. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. July 22, 2004, at 10:55 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity, Accessed 14-11-2014.