The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between agriculture and tourism in the promotion of economic identity at the turn of the twentieth century and again at the turn of the twenty-first in the case of two Eastern Caribbean islands: Grenada and Dominica. From the beginnings of export-oriented agriculture in the Caribbean until recent decades, agriculture was the dominant economic activity in the islands. Consequently, the economic identity of these islands has also been tied to their agricultural produce. Initially the emphasis placed on sugarcane cultivation in the region gave rise to the idea of the “sugar islands,” but as sugar declined, many islands began the search for a new product that would provide an economic base and a sense of distinction. Now, tourism provides an economic base for the islands, and creating a sense of distinction from other islands has never been more important. This paper examines the divergent approaches in this process for the two islands. In the case of Grenada, the identity created during this early time period has been extraordinarily pervasive, despite a decline in agriculture and growth in tourism starting in the mid-1900s. For Dominica, boom-and-bust cycles in agriculture and the need to develop an alternative to mass tourism led the island to promote a new identity that conceals its agricultural past, despite the continued importance of agricultural industries.


tourism, agriculture, economic identity, Grenada, Dominica