Coral reefs provide substantial economic services to many coastal communities in Tobago. The Buccoo community is most impacted. The Buccoo Reef Marine Park (BRMP) is Tobago’s main tourism attraction with over 50% of the island’s tourists visiting the site. The economic contribution of tourism associated with the reef alone has been estimated at USD 7-8.8 million per year.
In addition to Buccoo Reef’s tourism value, it protects a low-lying and developed section of Tobago’s shoreline from erosion and storm damage, avoiding an estimated USD 5.6-10 million per year in damages.
Over the years the ecosystem has been negatively impacted by overcapacity of visitors to the site and excessive land-based pollution. Additionally there are more recent negative impacts related to climate change in which mass coral reef bleaching events. These impacts will most likely be exacerbated if measures are not put in place to alleviate the level of stressors to the ecosystem. As such, the Inter-American Development Bank retained our team to carry out a Financial Feasibility Study on the implementation of a proposed Underwater Art Installation to drive traffic away from the sensitive Buccoo Reef.