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Sustainable tourism key to Caribbean


Sustainable tourism key to Caribbean

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Barbados and other Caribbean destinations need to do as much as possible to ensure their tourism industries are sustainable.

Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said preserving the region’s vulnerable eco-system was important, given the “many examples where economic development often takes place at the expense of our environment”.

Sealy, who is also Caribbean Tourism Organisation chairman, was speaking recently in Germany during the official launch of the Sustainable Destination Alliance for the Americas (SDAA). Barbados is one of seven countries from the region taking part in the SDAA’s initial phase.

“I think that we have many examples where economic development often takes place at the expense of our environment. But of course in the case of tourism we can’t allow that to take place because the very tourism industry pins on the environment that we enjoy,” Sealy said.

“The Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world, it also possesses one of the most precious eco-systems in the world, the marine eco-system, and we all know that a slight mishap can be devastating and therefore it’s essential that all of us embrace the whole concept of sustainable development.

“I think it’s fair to say that the Caribbean Tourism Organisation has been on this theme for some time. We have an officer dedicated to the whole sustainable tourism concept, we do have a sustainable tourism conference every year and it has been growing from strength to strength each year.

“I think that it sends a signal that the Caribbean understands precisely how it must operate if it wants to have tourism on a sustainable footing. We acknowledge the economic value that could come to our citizens but it must come in a responsible manner…and sustainability must be the watchword.”

Sealy said Barbados had completed the project’s first stage and he was looking forward to the second.

Sustainable Travel’s senior director for marketing and communications, Jeremy Sampson, said SDAA was “the first every large scale multi-sector initiative” for sustainable tourism destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America. (SC)