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Seminar: Wasted Paradise

Managing tourism-driven growth and waste generation: the case of the Maldives

by Florian Kapmeier and Paolo Goncalves

The German Chapter of the System Dynamics Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für System Dynamics) awards excellent work in the field of system dynamics originating from institutions in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland with the Gert-von-Kortzfleisch Award. This year’s winners are Florian Kapmeier and Paulo Gonçalves for their publication “Wasted paradise? Policies for Small Island States to manage tourism-driven growth while controlling waste generation: the case of the Maldives”, published in the special issue of the SDR to the field’s 60th anniversary in 2018.

Florian and Paulo analyze the tension that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face between economic growth and environmental impact. Their case example is the beautiful, paradise-like Maldives, which seeks to double the existing hotel capacity within only 6 years. Florian and Paulo assess the tension between tourism-driven economic growth and environmental degradation from a limits-to-growth perspective. The model is calibrated to 38 years of data from the Maldives to estimate parameters and Monte-Carlo methods are used to assess the sensitivity of results to uncertainty. They contrast development paths for the next three decades under three sets of policies focusing on promoting growth, managing tourism demand–supply balance, and improving waste management. Findings are counterintuitive.