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Since the time of the European explorers who traversed the Caribbean Sea in the fifteenth century, visitors' written descriptions and illustrations of the islands were extraordinarily influential in forming the region's reputation. The principal component of these descriptions and illustrations, and the core of this reputation, was the tropical island landscape and the first impressions formed from onboard a ship as islands were approached from the sea. Because of the highly competitive nature of the tourism industry, this longstanding reputation was maintained. While this strategy has been effective, there has been increasing interest in diversifying the Caribbean tourism product and creating a sense of distinction between destinations. The islands' identities have the potential to form the basis of this distinction, but this has largely been prevented by the ongoing reliance on the externally-oriented reputation. This paper examines the legacy of the Caribbean's longstanding reputation based on landscape as characterised in modern tourism promotions.

Keywords: Caribbean; Identity; content analysis; landscape; narrative analysis; tourism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography and Geology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 77341-2148, USA., Email:

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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