This research is not about tourism development. It is instead concerned about enriching and developing cultural and human capital within tourism environments. It is a study which recognizes the ?place? of tourism in vulnerable economies operating within the confines of a global marketplace. The research acknowledges the inextricable linkage of heritage assets as primary resources in tourism. It underscores the socio-cultural factor, which is rarely contemplated in scholarship involving heritage tourism ? the intrinsic value of cultural heritage and its relationship to sustainable tourism development. The ?intrinsic value? of heritage speaks to the inherent worth that is placed on cultural identity, an issue that impacts the implementation and sustainability of management strategies at the local level. The study shows that the lack of intrinsic value impacts individual knowledge and appreciation of heritage; and hampers development approaches applied at the macro level. While it becomes important to be guided by global management trends in heritage, the study concludes that development models must be shaped by specific vulnerabilities unique to individual island states.