Governments must craft policies to secure the future of the tourism industry: Guyana's President RamotarListen /
Tourism is an important economic sector that is pivotal to the economic growth of many Caribbean economies and consequently to the livelihoods of its peoples. So says Guyana's President Donald Ramotar. He told delegates to the 13th Sustainable Development Conference STC-13 that governments and other stakeholders must therefore make the necessary investments and craft policies that would secure the future of this vital industry.
Ramotar: To this end, our biodiversity and eco systems, which form the foundation of the regional industry, must be protected. We, in Guyana, with our own unique tourism product, have long recognized the importance of the environment to the development of a sustainable tourism product. We have more importantly acknowledged the overarching responsibility to promote economic growth through effective environmental stewardship. Our Low Carbon Development Strategy seeks to find the right balance between our push for economic prosperity and the maintenance of sound environmental practices.
Bobb: President Ramotar urged regional stakeholders to make Guyana's Low carbon development Strategy an object of study since he believes it offers a model that can be adapted to the economies of the region by promoting sustainable environmental policies and leveraging our ecological assets for the development of tourism.
Ramotar: Given the vulnerabilities of our countries to rising sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns and the devastating impacts of natural disasters, it is in our interest to support environmentally sound policies, including such measures within the tourism and hospitality sector. Sustainable tourism development also entails ensuring that the benefits of tourism reach down to grassroots. This is why here in Guyana we also plan to have a strong focus on community-based tourism by supporting measures that strengthen and expand community involvement in the development of our tourism product.
Bobb: President Ramotar stressed that Guyana with the distinctiveness as well as the diversity of its tourism product, has a lot to offer.
Ramotar: I see a great future for tourism here in Guyana and for us to create the linkages and synergies with our regional counterparts to also boost regional tourism efforts. This is another area we can look to for broadened cooperation and integration of our region. This annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development therefore afford all of us the opportunity to reflect on how regional tourism can rebound after the deleterious effects of the global crisis which led to a slowdown in the industry. We must use this opportunity to rethink our approach, embrace new strategies and seek new vistas in tourism development.
Bobb: President Ramaotar said that if the conference has stimulated ideas on the way forward for sustainable tourism development, then he believes that it would have been an immeasurable success because, as he put it, great achievements originate with good ideas.
This is Donn Bobb reporting