You get exactly whats on the tin for Bertram’s (2018) article, Why does the Cook Islands Still Need Overseas Aid? He asks, in a context where the private sector revolving around tourism is booming(at least prior to COVID-19), why would the Cook Islands require large amounts of Overseas Development Aid (ODA)? In 2018, the Cook Islands received close to 80 million dollars worth of grant aid. Bertram (2018) attributes the need for overseas aid on austerity measures that were enforced onto the Cook Islands in the structural readjustment period of the 1990s. Specifically, the Cook Islands were forced into a policy by the New Zealand government and the Asian Development Bank in 1998 whereby tax revenue should not exceed 25% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This has left the Cook Islands with a very small revenue pool to draw upon to service its expenses which consistently stand at 40% of GDP. Overseas aid is currently relied upon to service this gap in national revenue and expenses which limits what the Cook Island’s can do fiscally, as well as limits their general national autonomy. In this review we explore some thoughts which Bertram’s (2018) article has inspired.
Tourism is now widely acknowledged to be a global phenomenon. The world population has grown rapidly, and improved standards of living have allowed more and more people to participate in tourism. There is a strong hunger for new destinations that require people to travel further, due to loss of authenticity, a desire to be original, or a longing for escape. Tourists have become much more demanding, expecting higher accommodation standards and engaging in increasingly energy intensive activities. Societies around the world have transformed into consumer-based entities, and international tourism often means that cultural differences are part of the attraction, and that cultural items are the center of the tourist gaze (Urry, 1990). Furthermore, the global tourism industry suffers from planned obsolescence – a condition in which a consumer good rapidly becomes obsolete and thus constantly requires replacement, or frequent changes. But what happens when this consumer good is a host country’s cultural identity, and the tourist product is consumed at the place it is produced?
In the public imaginary, Oceania is a remote region of tropical paradise, perfect for a family holiday away from the troubles of everyday life. As much as Oceania’s geographic, political and economic remoteness defines its islands as alluring holiday destinations, Chris Ryan (2001) argues that it is this very remoteness that also defines the tourism sector in Oceania as a “case of marginalities”. He argues in his article; Tourism in the South Pacific – A Case of Marginalities, that Oceania’s multifaceted remoteness marginalises its peoples, communities, and nations involved in the tourism sector. In this journal article review, Lucas Watt, Roxane de Waegh, and Greg Watt critique Ryan (2001) in reference to the current context in Oceania.