Do you live in a tropical island and want to start a business but you lack ideas? If YES, here are 50 small business ideas & opportunities for tropical islands.
What is a Tropical Island?
A tropical island is an island situated within or close to the tropics. The tropics are said to be the parts of the world that lie between two lines of latitude, the tropic of Cancer, 23½° north of the equator, and the tropic of Capricorn, 23½° south of the equator.
The tropics are typically warm all year round, averaging 25 to 28 degrees Celsius because it gets more exposure to the sun, and it mostly records two seasons which is the dry and wet season.
When one mentions vacationing on a tropical island, it generally brings to mind lush green vegetation, hot weather, pristine clean beaches, picturesque sceneries, great seafood, scuba diving, rainforest exploration, heavenly spas… you get the general idea.
All these magical experiences that are gotten from tropical islands do not come on their own accord; people, most especially entrepreneurs are the ones that make it possible for the purpose of making profit.
If you live in an island in the tropics, there are myriads of ways you can take advantage of the suitable climate to establish a profitable business for yourself. Here are 50 of the best of them.
50 Best Small Business ideas for Tropical Islands
- Start an island resort
An island resort is a resort located on an island. Island resorts offer beaches and water sport activities such as sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing. You can always rely on the natural beauty of the island such as pristine beaches, rich biodiversity of coral reefs and forest, or its secluded and private location, to attract visitors to your resort.
To diversify or to get people of various tastes, you can install spas, amusement parks, casinos or night clubs to take care of nightlife. To get patronage from tourists, your island resort should be the perfect description of a tropical paradise – a remote and all-inclusive getaway.
You can have various kinds of rooms to suit various pocket sizes such as guest rooms, suites, villas and unique lofts that offer modern amenities and spectacular scenery. This business is very capital intensive but can offer great returns on investment if properly promoted.
A beach hotel is a hotel overlooking a beach. To build an appealing beach hotel, you should choose a land mass with beautiful settings of palm trees and where lodgers can view colorful island sunsets. Tropical islands if well-kept do draw tourists and fun seekers and all these people would need somewhere to lodge.
The more picturesque your hotel is, the more likely for you to get bookings all years round. Ensure that your rooms overlook lush tropical gardens, pools or green lawns, with the best rooms giving a view of the shimmering ocean. This is another capital intensive business that can only be carried out by established entrepreneurs.
- Conduct rainforest tours
A rainforest is a luxuriant, dense forest rich in biodiversity, found typically in tropical areas with consistently heavy rainfall. Tropical islands are blessed with lush rainforest that are teeming with plant and animal life, but most locals living in tropical islands do not care about this as they go ahead to implement harmful environmental practices.
You can purchase a particular area of the rain forest and keep it in its wild state so the plants and animals can thrive. You can then conduct ecotourism tours to raise awareness for your cause. Ecotourism is giving people tours of the forest and showing them what we are losing by cutting them down. Alternatively, you can just conduct people on tours around your rainforest for a fee as part of their experience in the island.
- Build a mini golf course
Miniature golf, also known as mini golf is an offshoot of the sport of golf focusing solely on the putting aspect of its parent game. It is played on courses consisting of a series of holes (usually a multiple of 9) similar to its parent, but characterized by their short length (usually within 10 yards from tee to cup).
A mini golf course would be a great addition to an island resort, so you can approach a resort and strike a deal with the owners. After a deal has been taken out, you can build your mini golf with acceptable artificial materials. Golf players would not mind paying to use your course, and you can equally use it as a training ground for new players.
- Island ballooning business
Ever since the beginning of time, people have been longing to fly and they are always grateful for any opportunity to lift up to the sky. With that in mind, one profitable business one can start in an island is a ballooning business. Here, people, especially tourists would come to ride in your balloons for a fee.
You can offer tethered balloon rides for the more cautious, and free flowing balloon rides for the more adventurous. You need to make sure that your balloons are safe and you have recorded no accidents. You may also need to obtain licenses and permits before you can carry out this business. This business is indeed a money spinner if well promoted and it does not need much startup capital.
- Start a destination wedding service
A popular trend for adventurous couples is destination weddings, or getting married in a faraway location. One of the most sought-after destination wedding locations is tropical islands with pristine lakes and scenic views, making a destination wedding service a smart business to start. You can offer wedding planning, or help couples who decide to get married on the spur of the moment during vacation get the necessary paperwork they need including an officiant, a location, photographers etc.
- Start a bird guide/tour company
Because of the different species of birds that can be found on tropical islands, you can start a bird guide or bird touring company to take visitors on tours to watch the birds in their natural habitats. You can start small at first and just offer bird tours where you guide visitors to some great bird watching spots that people would likely not find on their own.
Book everyone yourself, take care of everything yourself until the idea catches on and you have too many customers to handle all alone. You can then hire guides and start selling the package with travel agencies on commission basis.
- Open a steam bathing center
A steam bath is a steam-filled room for the purpose of relaxation and cleansing. Having regular steam baths is said to provide a variety of health and beauty benefits, and it is suitable for almost anyone. It is a fact that anyone who visits a tropical island for vacation would take advantage of the period to relax and as such they are always eager to go for a steam bath.
In order to supply this necessity, you can open a steam bath in a tropical island. To make your business profitable, you can choose to locate it next to a hotel or resort and you can also arrange with the management of the hotel or resort to make it part of the services they offer their clients when they pay to stay at the hotel or resort, so your money can be deducted by the hotel and paid to you.
Pests are unwanted plants, animals, insects, or other organisms that interfere with human activity. They may bite, destroy food, damage property, or otherwise make our lives more difficult. Because of the climatic conditions of tropical islands which is wet and highly humid most months of the year, it provides the right environment for pests to breed.
To make sure people who live in the island and tourists who visit the island are comfortable, you can start a pest control service. You can offer your services to households and establishments within the island. Since pest control and extermination services are done from time to time, you would never lack income.
- Organize wildlife tours
Just like birds, a lot of wildlife can be found in tropical islands especially in tropical rain-forests. You can take advantage of nature to start a wildlife tour service. Because wildlife tends to be potentially dangerous, you need to have local expert guides in your team so that they can handle any situation that crops up. You can organize foot or vehicle tours but vehicle tours are safer than foot tours. You get to charge a premium fee for your services because wildlife tours are for the more adventurous at heart.
- Open a food mart
It is a known fact that food businesses are profitable business because people would always eat. This saying is also true for tropical islands not only for locals but for visitors also. When starting a food mart in a tropical island, you should take account of the different tastes of the visitors that flock to the island and endavour to stock food and produce that would appeal to them.
You can specialize in quick, convenient, ready to heat and ready to cook items; you can go for instant lunch, dinner and school snacks; or you could just go for desserts and other frozen foods. While picking foods for your mart, ensure to make provisions for Halal products so as to cater to those that prefer it.
- Start a waterslide center
With the heat and high humidity typically experienced in tropical islands, people easily get drawn to water recreation. You can open a center where people can come to ride water slides. There are different types of water slides, and to get tourists and locals coming back, you can pick the ones that are more entertaining. You can also include fast-food restaurants, bars, game centers to your water slide center so as to offer your visitors varieties of entertainment.
- Build takeaway hotels
As mobile home technology advances, those wishing to travel to remote areas are offered more and more possibilities. If you live in a tropical island, you can build mobile hotels that people can set up in any location that appeals to them in the island – you can call it a mobile tent. You should be able to deliver mobile hotel rooms to any location picked by the customer.
Your guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, the usual room service, and even breakfast in addition to the beautiful scenery. This is a recent innovation in the tourism sector and some fast thinking entrepreneurs are already making money from it.
- Start an ethnic eatery
Tropical islands get a lot of visitors all year round and these visitors come from different ethnic backgrounds. If you are a chef that lives in a tropical island, you can start an ethnic eatery to cater to the different types of ethnicities that visit the island.
You have to first conduct a survey to find out which ethnic group frequents your island so that you would not prepare meals that nobody would eat. You can equally serve food from two or three ethnic groups, or as much as you can handle. A lot of people who miss their traditional dishes will definitely love to patronize you
Yoga is getting ever more popular, which means yoga centers are more in demand than ever—making this another physically rewarding business idea for tropical islands. If you are a certified yoga instructor, you can open your own yoga center where you get to teach people this ancient art of relaxation and meditation. This business would surely pay your if you have the patience to grow your center.
- Rent out your living quarters
Do you have a spare room or loft in your apartment, then you can make a comfortable business out of it in a tropical island. It is a fact that most people travel on a budget and as such cannot afford the exorbitant room fees being charged in hotels and resorts.
You can start renting out spare rooms in your house for a small fee to visitors. Not only is house renting a great way to make money, but you get to meet new and exciting people while you do it. Note that you are on call whenever you have a guest and you will always need to keep the place clean for your next visitors.
On top of just renting, you can take this business idea to the next level by offering your guests add-on and personalized experiences like private tours for an extra charge.
- Become a tour guide
A tour guide is a person who provides assistance, information on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage to people on organized tours. If you live in a tropical island where travelers frequently visit and if you love meeting new people, starting your own local tour company is arguably the best business idea that will give you both of those perks.
You can comfortably start guiding people on tours while still working your own full time job. If you have a trusty van or vehicle, you can arrange to take people to tour the island at your convenience. Tropical islands always have places to explore so you should ensure you know these places and maybe a little history about them.
A travel agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism related services to the public on behalf of suppliers such as airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, hotels, railways, travel insurance etc. A travel agency is one good business to set up in a tropical island because it is a place that witnesses a lot of travel and tourism activities. You can help tourists arrange their trips, accommodation and tours for the duration of their stay.
Residents and visitors to tropical islands would always need a means to move around. You can start a transportation service to fill this need. You can make available taxis to take people to their various destinations. Effective publicity and good service is what would enable you carve a comfortable niche for yourself in the island.
Some people are very independent and would always want to drive themselves around no matter which continent they are at any particular point in time. This set of people would always want to rent cars when they arrive at new places in order to explore the scenery the way they want.
You can start a car rental service to cater to visitors who would prefer to ride themselves. You can make available cheap as well as expensive cars in your rental service and you can as well rent motorcycles and bicycles to cater to every pocket.
A laundry service is a company which does laundry for its clients, and what better place to set up a laundry service than a tropical island where loads of people that would be visiting would not want to be bothered about dirty laundry.
You can even take island visitors as your major clients, and print flyers and drop in places where you know they particularly lodge. You can offer pickup and delivery services in order to further appeal to customers and to stand out from other laundry services.
A craft is an activity involving skill in making things by hand. If you have any artistic skills or crafty hobbies, you might just have one of the essential building blocks of a successful business, especially if you reside in a tropical island because visitors always value indigenous crafts. If you have accumulated quite a number of handmade crafts, you can set up a small shop in the city shopping center where you get to sell your crafts.
- Become a photographer
People always like to preserve unique experiences for life, and when people visit tropical islands, they always want to have reminders of that experience. This would make a photography business a sure hit in this area. You can position your services in places where tourists frequent.
You should be able to take artistic photographs to keep your customers coming back. For example, if you are able to take well-timed pictures of someone riding the waves, diving or doing just about anything, then you would succeed with the business.
- Open a surf shop
If there are surf beaches close to you, this can present a great business opportunity for you as an entrepreneur. You can make money by opening a surf shop that is stuffed with various surfing equipment. Most tourists who are visiting your island would like to surf but they may not come with their surfing equipment, which allows you to make money from this business. Your surf shop needs not only sell but could also carry out rentals of surfing equipment.
- Organize fishing tours
Most tropical islands are usually fishing hotspots, and most tourists like to engage in the fishing activities when they travel to such islands. If you have a boat and are business savvy, you could turn this activity into a money spinner, by offering fishing tour services and taking tourists out to the reef.
This will really be beneficial to your business especially if you have unique fishing spots that tourists would love. You need to be smart in this business, and ensure that you are always on the lookout for special spots.
Coffee cafés do well in tropical islands because a lot of tourists are almost addicted to coffee. This is a good business an entrepreneur who is looking towards making money can start. The key thing for this kind of business is location; you would have to be located in an area where you can easily be accessed.
However, if you do not have the finances for a brick and mortar building, you can start a mobile/cart coffee shop business. You need to endeavor to serve different brands of coffee if you want to get and keep your customers.
- Sale of local merchandise
Most times, tourists usually buy local items to take back home with them. They are usually attracted to items that are unique in nature and not readily available in their cities and hometowns. This therefore presents an opportunity to any smart entrepreneur. You would need to go into really unique items if you want to make money from tourists and fun seekers, your items might vary depending on the kind of clients that you are targeting.
- Sale of tropical herbs and spices
People always like trying new things and that is why new products keep getting sold in the market. If you reside in a tropical island and you are familiar with the various herbs, roots and spices that grow there, you can start drying, packaging and selling this to visitors and tourists. A lot of people would surly want to try new herbs and spices especially if they are said to have healing properties.
- Start a community museum
If you love arts and culture, and your island has a lot of history that is worth sharing, you should consider starting a community museum, a place where the art and culture of your community can be preserved. Many tourists are bound to visit such museums whilst on vacation. Apart from the revenue that this business will generate from visitors and tourists, your business will also receive grants and funding from individuals, donor agencies, corporate organizations, as well as the government.
- Start a language translation service
This kind of business can be very lucrative for a smart entrepreneur. If you reside in a tropical island that has a huge influx of tourists from different parts of the world, you could offer this service that will ensure you not only raise your profile but income as well. All that is required for this type of business is that you are fluent in two or three languages, or more.
- Boat Rental Services
Most people like to go out on the water when they visit tropical islands, either to fish or just to have a quiet time on the boat, and most of these people don’t usually have their own boats, and will need to rent one. This is an opportunity for you if you own a boat, or know people that do and won’t mind renting out.
You could go into this business, and make money for yourself. Ensure that you print colorful brochures and distribute them to motels, hotels, and tourist attractions. The brochures should contain information such as your rates and size of boats.
Private escort firms provide security for individuals most especially tourists and other kinds of visitors who would want to move from one location to another with valuables, which could involve cash, jewelry, art and other of such kind of valuables. Before you startup this business though, you have to make enquiries about the various licenses and permits you would need. However, this is a business that is guaranteed to bring you good income.
- Open an online lodge booking site
This is another fantastic business idea that can bring in a good income. Tourists often require a place to stay, and most are comfortable booking for their lodging before they arrive. You would need to network with lodges, bed and breakfast places, hotels, motels and so on, to get them listed on your site.
To do this business and make money, you would need to agree on a commission or percentage that you will get once a customer books for lodging through your site. You would need to massively advertise your site to both lodges and customers.
- Bikini and Trunk Sales
A tropical island always has an abundance of activities that occur at the beach, and you cannot go to the beach, or go swimming for that matter without a swimwear. This is a business that a smart entrepreneur can go into, and make money especially as some tourists usually do not travel with their bathing suits, preferring to buy locally. Your shop can be located close to the beach so that it would make it easier for those that are without to get one for themselves.
A water park is an amusement park that features water play areas such as swimming pools, water slides, splash pads, water playgrounds, and lazy rivers, as well as areas for bathing, swimming, and other barefoot environments. Because tropical islands are mostly hot and humid, water parks would be more attractive to tourists, even locals more than an ordinary amusement park.
Though setting up a water park would prove very capital intensive, but you are sure to recoup your investments in a short while if you properly market your park and if your park has loads of really entertaining water facilities.
Because of the heat in tropical islands, Ice cream is one product that enjoys high patronage. If you are looking for a business to launch in any of the tropical islands, then you should consider starting your own ice cream production company. Just ensure that you have different outlets around different parts of town and you will sure make good returns on your investment.
- Open a fresh fruits mart
Another fantastic business idea that is suitable for tropical islands is fresh fruits mart. Some of the finest fresh fruits can be found in tropical islands, as a matter of fact, fruit farmers in tropical islands export their fruits to other countries of the world.
Thus, if you are looking towards launching a business in a tropical island, then you should consider opening a fresh fruits mart; a place where people can get varieties of fresh fruits. The truth is that once people are able to get fruits that are out of season still fresh in your fruit mart, you will enjoy good patronage.
- Tropical village exploration service
Tourists when they go on vacation in tropical islands often like to explore the villages. You can cash in on this desire to start a business. During peak tourist seasons, you can organize group tours to enable the visitors explore the village. It is best these explorations are guided to avoid accidents.
Thousands of tourists are drawn to tourist islands every year, which inevitably means there are many people who return home with gifts for family and friends. Opening an island gift shop is a sound business idea, and it is even a needed service. Try to differentiate yourself from other tourist shops by offering authentic merchandise instead of only selling generic items such as T-shirts, key chains, and mugs.
If you can, offer items made by local artists and crafters like artisan jewelry; postcards made from art prints by local artists; music CDs of local bands etc. To add more revenue to your business, launch a website where customers can buy more gifts later. By selling your merchandise online, you can reach people all over the world, and market your business to future tourists.
Tropical islands are usually home to some of the world’s most delicious, exotic, and fresh ingredients. You can take advantage of this bounty by opening a restaurant. You do not have to open a large location if you do not have the finances and sponsorship. You can instead offer intimate dining for select customers. The key to success in this business is offering tropical cuisine as opposed to other specialties. Another option is to open a bakery that serves traditional breads, pastries and desserts.
- Offer boating tours
A boat tour is a short trip in a small boat taken for tourist reasons, typically starting and ending in the same place, and normally of a duration that is less than a day. This contrasts with cruising in large ships for a number of days with accommodation in cabins. Usually, a sightseeing boat is used during a boating tour so you need to have some of these available. If there are a lot of different waterside sights in your area, you would sure make a lot of profit off this business.
- Become a travel blogger
You can blog from just about anywhere. But if you enjoy spending time at tropical islands, then travel blogging may be the right niche for you. Note that you have to move around to bring your readers news about the different places that exist in the world. So, don’t just sit at a place – you need to hull your butt around – practically. As a travel blogger, travelling is just one of the many things you need to do to keep your blog successful.
You also need to reach out to would-be advertisers, respond to potential advertisers, edit photos and videos to post, assemble promotional materials, pitch travel and tourism contacts, write for other sites, Facebook group networking, tweaking site design, tracking financials, link building, doing keyword research, reading other travel blogs, and maintaining a presence on social media
With tropical islands being a haven for tourists, there is always a guarantee for mess. If you enjoy working outdoors, then this business would pay you well in a tropical island. You can make a pretty good income cleaning up litter outside hotels, resorts, parks etc, especially for businesses that have large parking lots that need regular cleaning.
You can contact property management companies and intimate them of your services and request to be hired. This service can be carried out on foot using inexpensive equipment like pick-up tools and a broom. You can charge between $35 and $50 per hour for your services.
- Build a shopping center
One very good attraction of tropical islands are shopping centers where visitors can find things indigenous to the islands, and locals can sell their produce. You can start a full shopping center that is packed with all sorts of different shops including fashion shops, perfumeries, souvenir stores, plenty of bars and restaurants. Building a shopping center can be capital intensive, but you can get returns on your investments in a few years especially if your center is quite popular.
- Start a bird blog
One other business that can thrive in a tropical island is a bird blog. This is because tropical islands are home to hundreds of bird species. To be successful with your bird blog, you need to gather information about every kind and specie of bird to be found there and create a page for each of them in your blog. You need to mention the regions the birds can be found, their habitat, the type of trees they enjoy most and how they nurture their young.
You also need to give detail of the number of their young, size, colors and patterns and size of eggs they lay. Create a page for each bird that goes way deeper in depth than the usual Google article. If your article is in debt and detailed enough, you would loads of readers in a very short time.
- Open a sauna
A sauna is a small room or building designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions, or an establishment with one or more of these facilities. People take sauna baths to relive stress and relive various health complications. This is one good business to start in a tropical island. A lot of visitors would indeed want to take advantage of their holidaying period to pamper their skin and improve their overall health.
The world is filled with exercise buffs who would want to stay fit wherever they are. This then means that a fitness center is a necessity no matter where. If you are a certified fitness trainer and you live in a tropical island, you can open a fitness center to take care of both visitors and locals that are very conscious about their health.
- Start a boat cleaning business
Tropical islands are usually blessed with a lot of water bodies and people take good advantage of these water bodies by engaging in a lot of water activities. Because boats would always get dirty, you can start a boat cleaning service to help the owners clean their boats after each trip.
People often visit tropical islands with their whole family. But sometimes the adults might want to enjoy a private night out without the kids. So you can provide child care or babysitting services to those tourists visiting your town.
- Open a sea food restaurant
Another business that an entrepreneur can successfully launch in a tropical island is a seafood restaurant. This type of business is highly profitable in this region because of the abundance of seas and rivers on the island. If you are a skilled chef, you can whip up very delicious and unique seafood dishes that people cannot resist. From tender sushi to lobster dishes and even shrimp kebabs, you can give everyone a taste of their favorites and even something more.
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