GIS-based Material Stock Analysis (MSA) of Climate Vulnerabilities to the Tourism Industry in Antigua and Barbuda

In the past decades, the Caribbean economy has transformed to rely primarily on tourism with a vast amount of infrastructure dedicated to this sector. At the same time, the region is subject to repeated crises in the form of extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent, deadly, and costly. Damages to buildings and infrastructure (or the material stocks) from storms disrupt the local economy by an immediate decline in tourists and loss of critical services. In Antigua and Barbuda (A&B), tourism contributes 80% to the GDP and is a major driver for adding new material stocks to support the industry. This research analyzes A&B’s material stocks (MSs) in buildings (aggregates, timber, concrete, and steel) using geographic information systems (GIS) with physical parameters such as building size and footprint, material intensity, and the number of floors. In 2004, the total MSs of buildings was estimated at 4.7 million tonnes (mt), equivalent to 58.5 tonnes per capita, with the share of non-metallic minerals to be highest (2.9 mt), followed by aggregates (1.2 mt), steel (0.44 mt), and timber (0.18 mt). Under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) 2 meter (m) sea level rise scenario, an estimated 4% of the island’s total MSs would be exposed. The tourism sector would disproportionately experience the greatest exposure of 19% of its MSs. By linking stocks to services, our research contributes to the understanding of the complexities between the environmental and economic vulnerability of island systems, and the need for better infrastructure planning as part of resilience building.

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Antigua & Barbuda