The Impact of Tourism on Crime in a Small Island Developing Tourist Destination

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The Impact of Tourism on Crime in a Small Island Developing Tourist Destination: The Case of Tobago.


The main objective of the study was to examine the relationship between tourism and crime in a developing tourist island destination, namely Tobago. It also attempted to provide evidence for or against studies advocating that tourism leads to increases in crime and criminal activities in host communities. Data was obtained from the Central Statistical Office, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and Ministry of Tourism. A numerical record of tourist arrivals to the island along with the crime rates will be presented for the prediction of an upsurge in criminal activities on the island. Crime was tracked over two separate periods and tourist arrivals were charted using visitors, the living variables, as a proxy for the study, to test whether there is a relationship between the high crime rates currently being experienced in Tobago and tourist arrivals on the island.

The methodology utilised was trend analysis and is based on the premise that as tourist arrivals to the island increases there will be a corresponding increase in the crime rate. A high correlation was found between tourist arrivals to the island and the upward, negative movement in criminal activities on the island. As a result of the study it now seems more correct to infer that the continued influx of tourists to a destination will lead to increases in crime.

Keywords: Wendell C. Wallace; Impact of Tourism; Crime; Small Island Developing Tourist Destination; Tobago.


For many developing nations, tourism is viewed as an easy way of generating much needed income, particularly foreign exchange. In some instances, little capital expenditure is required by the host society as external investment is usually available. The economic spin-offs and benefits of tourism are viewed as the most...