Tourism can make a significant contribution to sustainable development in the wider Caribbean RegionListen /
Regional Agencies of Sustainable Tourism in the Wider Caribbean Region have reaffirmed that tourism can make a significant contribution to the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental, particularly as it seeks to generate stable employment, income-earning opportunities, social inclusion and contribute to poverty alleviation.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting in Managua, Nicaragua, on 18th February 2013 said the meeting identified a core set of issues which the Regional Agencies are already engaged in, or seek to develop in the area of Sustainable Tourism, among them: Policy Implementation which covers Destination Stewardship; Sustainable Tourism Certification; Preservation and Promotion of Cultural Heritage; Inter-Sectoral Linkages and Public-Private Partnerships or Alliances.
Among other areas the meeting identified are Developing Sustainable Livelihoods and Poverty Alleviation; Tourism Safety and Security, Marketing that calls for the Promotion of Multi-Destination Tourism and Intra-Regional Travel, Promotion of Sustainable Destinations and Niche Market Development.
Other areas covered include Transport and Conservation of the Environment. This calls for the Greening of the Industry and Energy Efficiency and would also address Climate Change.
The Meeting discussed and agreed on establishing a Regional Network or Working Group on Sustainable Tourism in the Greater Caribbean. This, with the purpose of strengthening functional partnerships and ensuring the sustainability of this collective approach by: Improving existing mechanisms for communication in general, and the coordination of specific projects, activities and events to contribute to more efficient use of resources and reduce the incidence of duplication of efforts. The Regional Network also calls for agencies to Participate in each other's respective future meetings and activities to continue the dialogue among the partners and align complementary work programmes, and where possible, jointly convene meetings or develop projects for joint implementation; Sharing and exchanging knowledge products such standards and best practices, research publications and studies; Addressing mutual issues and concerns on regional and international fora; Exploring the possibility of a Regional multi-stakeholder initiative as presented by the Nicaragua Tourism Institute comprising a Pilot Project focusing on Implementation of the Regional Sustainable Tourism Indicators of the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STZC) and World Bank Competitiveness Indicators in Ethnic and Indigenous Communities of the Greater Caribbean linked to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The meeting also proposed hosting of a Sustainable Destinations Donors Forum, proposed as a joint high-level conference to facilitate an interactive exchange between the Regional Tourism Agencies and their NGO partners with the international donor community, Regional and International Foundations and individual corporations.
Views were exchanged on the challenges facing the Wider Caribbean Region including declining international flows, reduced economic activity and the impact these have on all spheres of tourism activity in the countries of this region.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.