Small island states discuss critical role of tourism in their economies

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The Berry Island in the Bahamas

The critical role of tourism in the economies of Small Island Development States is being discussed at a two-day conference starting on Wednesday in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

The meeting under the theme "Tourism as a Key Sector for Development in Island States" is being held in conjunction with the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Government ministers, experts and other stakeholders in tourism from Small Islands Developing  States, also known as SIDS, are participating in the meeting.

Earlton Mcphee is a Senior Director in the Ministry of Tourism of the Bahamas.

"We are discussing a number of issues that impact our small island developing states. For example, there is the issue of climate change that is a major impediment towards sustainable development. We are focusing on tourism because tourism plays such a very very important role in the economic development of all SIDS. The Caribbean countries, in fact, are more dependent on tourism than any other region in the world. So the area of tourism, particularly sustainable tourism is critical."

Mr. Mcphee said the Bahamas is hosting the conference at what he called "a great time" as the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of its Ministry of Tourism.

He said it is one of the oldest ministries of tourism in the region.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.


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