Anguillians living abroad and friends of Anguilla traveling to the island play an important role in the local tourist industry. By supporting initiatives associated with the local culture, diaspora tourists are more likely than other international travelers to cultivate connections with the local economy. They may for example, opt for locally owned accommodations (or even stay with relatives), eat in local restaurants, or take a trip to the local grocery store. It is for these reasons that diaspora travelers are a crucial part of the Anguillian tourism industry; however, their capacity to be key players in this field is often overlooked. This can unfortunately have a negative social and economic impact, which spans from one generation to the next.
Why do diasporas matter?
Even though many people in diasporas have been separated from their home countries for long periods, many maintain ties through participation in organized cultural communities. Based on these connections, policy makers, employers, and business owners alike should regard diaspora travelers as pivotal players in their growth and sustainability. Diaspora cultures function for the interest of their origin countries, and only they are equipped with unique intercultural knowledge that can serve the needs of their home and host communities.
Diaspora Tourism and Generation Differences
Government and tourist industry leaders would do well to note the diverse interests arising in contemporary aspects of diaspora tourist communities. Second and third generation Anguillians living abroad may not have family living back home (Anguilla), but may certainly want to visit their ancestral roots. The key to growing this tourism sector is to develop appropriate campaigns, directed at this specific group. As a new socio-economic development project for Anguilla, APANY has partnered with a number of leaders in the tourist industry, and aims to promote innovative methods for attracting younger visitors.
At APANY, we can mobilize relevant resources from both the public and private sectors, including government authorities, policymakers, multilateral agencies, private businesses, Anguillians living abroad, and a wide range of civil society organizations. All of these sources can contribute to development efforts on the island. An emphasis on building partnerships among the many stakeholders is a good practice for development generally, and diaspora engagement specifically.