BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- Sustainable tourism can be a source of competitive advantage for the region as more visitors choose to invest in green vacations, according to the chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Beverly Nicholson-Doty.
In a message to mark World Tourism Day on Friday, the CTO chairman challenged regional decision-makers to ensure visitors enjoy a sustainable tourism product.
USVI Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty
World Tourism Day, proclaimed by the global tourism body, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), will focus on the world’s precious water resources, their role in tourism and all that can be done to protect them to the benefit of future generations.
“Increasingly visitors are becoming conscious of their carbon footprint when they travel. We need to ensure that they view the Caribbean as a desirable location, where they can engage in initiatives such as agro-tourism, educational tours, volunteer opportunities and other sustainable activities while they are on holiday,” Nicholson-Doty said.
She reiterated the CTO’s commitment to leading sustainable tourism through a number of programmes including standard setting and certification; the annual Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC); and the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Programme (CHENACT), which the CTO has managed in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) since 2009.
The latter is a public-private sector programme sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that has saved region’s hotel sector over US$270 million annually in utility costs.
Nicolson-Doty challenged governments, private sector partners and Caribbean communities to work together to ensure sustainable tourism moves from a theoretical concept to become a part of our daily operational practices.
“We need a multi-sectorial approach – combining public policy and incentives; private-sector financing and endorsement; backed by effective community and visitor education and awareness programmes,” she said.
World Tourism Day is observed on 27 September each year.