Sustainable Tourism Development

In the Caribbean, Sustainable Tourism is understood as the optimal use of natural, cultural, social and financial resources for national development on an equitable and self sustaining basis to provide a unique visitor experience and an improved quality of life through partnerships among government, the private sector and communities. This section contains documents, reports and studies related to research or projects on sustainable tourism development, at both regional and international levels.


Caribbean Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Awards 2016

These CTO Awards are aimed at identifying and showcasing Sustainable Tourism Good Practices in the Caribbean. The awards recognize individuals, groups, organizations or companies in any of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Member Countries which have developed responsible and unique tourism products or are engaged in implementing sustainable tourism-related initiatives which embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values. These initiatives should also help to enhance the country’s tourism product offerings and advance sustainable and responsible tourism in the Caribbean. Read more: CTO CEST Awards

Sargassum and the Effects of Climate Change

View presentation by Kelly de Schaun, Executive Director, Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees and CVB, who is responsible for the maintenance of 32 miles of beaches and seven major beach parks:

Sargassum Resource Guide

The Guide is intended to serve as an initial resource for the Caribbean, in particular to inform the tourism industry, local governments, environmental groups and residents about Sargassum seaweed, its impact and uses, and best practice mitigation and management measures which are being undertaken. Provided this is a new and natural occurrence, there are ongoing studies on the tracking, use, effects and mitigation of Sargassum seaweed. The following pages seek to provide additional information to further educate the tourism sector and other stakeholders.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC)

The Caribbean Tourism Organization has been staging its Annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC) since 1997. This Conference is part of the information dissemination and regional awareness component of CTO’s Strategy for Sustainable Tourism and examines how member states can design and implement sustainable tourism policies and programs, offering a regional forum for information exchange on the successes and pitfalls of national, regional and international initiatives.

View conference proceedings on the conference website:

Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA)


SDAA website:

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Organization of American States (OAS), Sustainable Travel International, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, and the US Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States launched the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA) in March 2014.

The SDAA aims at ensuring that tourism within the Caribbean and Central America regions continues to prosper and achieves the quality necessary to compete effectively with other international destinations by promoting sustainable destination management. View video:

Sustainable Destinations Alliance of the Americas from Sustainable Travel International on Vimeo.

For more information on SDAA, visit:
Gail Henry, former (CTO) Sustainable Tourism Product Specialist, spoke with TravelMole Publisher about SDAA:

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Event on Renewable Energy Application for Island Tourism presentations:

CTO CARPHA Regional Tourism Health Programme

CARPHA and CTO Launch Tourism and Health Programme in the Region

In 2014, CARPHA and CTO launched a Regional Tourism and Health Programme geared at strengthening the links between tourism, health and environment for more resilient and sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.

View full CARPHA media release on launch:


Attendees at launch.

IDB Disaster Risk Management CCA

Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Tourism Sector (IDB DRM CCA)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), in April 2010, formalized the terms of a US$ 750,000 grant that supports the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean Tourism Sector Project.

The project’s goal is the reduction in vulnerability of the Caribbean tourism sector to natural hazards and disasters, including associated adaptive capacity for climate variability and climate change. The executing agency is the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

August 2012 : The First Regional Meeting

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) sponsored project “Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean Tourism Sector” reached a milestone on August 8-9, 2012 when the Executing Agency, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) convened the First Regional Meeting at the Pegasus Hotel, Kingston Jamaica.
The objectives of the meeting were to discuss and recommend for endorsement the outputs of Component 1 of the project, “Development of the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework”. Specifically, two main sub components were reviewed and discussed they were the Revised Regional DRM Strategy and Action Plan which incorporates CCA and the outputs from the national stakeholder meetings.

The regional meeting also facilitated the face to face meetings of the arms of the project’s governance structure, these are the National Focal Points (NFP), the Board of Management (BM) and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

The success of the meeting was demonstrated by the general support for the Draft Revised Regional Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action for the Tourism Sector in the Caribbean and the enthusiasm with which information, comments and suggestions were exchanged. Representatives from the participating states, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), the Inter American Development Bank and the CDEMA CU agreed in principle with the revised draft (SAP).

The next steps include the finalization of the SAP and the movement towards national level adaptation.

July 2012: The SAP

The “Regional Disaster Risk Management Strategy and Plan of Action for the Tourism Sector in the Caribbean” (SAP) developed under the IDB sponsored “Regional Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Tourism in the Caribbean” project is currently being reviewed specifically to incorporate climate change adaptation. This is part on the ongoing IDB sponsored project “Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean Tourism Sector”.

The main idea of the SAP is to create a strategic framework by which the countries of the region can support tourism amidst natural hazards and climate change. If well adapted into the national development programme, the SAP creates the foundation on which the monitoring and evaluation system can be built.

“The purpose of the Regional DRM and CCA Strategy for the Tourism Sector (SAP) is to reduce the vulnerability of the Tourism sector to natural hazards and climate change through integrating/ mainstreaming comprehensive disaster management and climate change adaptation. The Strategy identifies Regional Strategic Objectives (RSOs) and key activities for the Caribbean Tourism sector.

The Plan of Action details those measures that can be undertaken by Tourism stakeholders at the regional and national levels to meet the RSOs. To fully attain the RSOs, measures are required to be undertaken by stakeholders who are bound by national parameters. Therefore, to be a fully effective instrument, the Regional Strategy and Plan of Action are dependent on National Strategies and Plans of Action for the Tourism sector,” the Draft Revised Regional Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action” pg 12, 2012.

Therefore, the adaptation of the SAP at the national level as a policy approach to DRM and CCA in the tourism sector is fundamental for progress and sustainability.

In a review of the SAP critical climate change issues such as, rising sea levels (0.36 to 2.5 ft), altered patterns of agriculture, increased extreme weather events, the expansion of the range of tropical diseases among others were the topics for discussion. Specific measures to either adapt or mitigate were also considered in order to ensure that the SAP provides the required framework for improvement. Current initiatives undertaken by Caribbean countries were captured in order to gauge the challenges, successes, risks and implications. In this way the SAP becomes a tool that encapsulates the reality of adaptation to climate change and managing natural hazards in the Caribbean.

Further information on the Draft Revised Regional Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Plan of Action can be obtained from the CDEMA CU: [email protected] Details on the process of review will be provided in subsequent articles.



CARIBSAVE is a partnership between the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the University of Oxford. The CARIBSAVE Partnership addresses the impacts and challenges surrounding climate change, tourism, the environment, economic development and community livelihoods across the Caribbean Basin, using an integrated and holistic approach.

Visit the CARIBSAVE website:

View report: CARIBSAVE Seed Funding Project ~ Caribbean Climate Change, Tourism and Livelihoods: A sectoral approach to vulnerability and resilience.

 View paper: CARIBSAVE Partnership & Climate Change  ~ Dr. Murray Simpson, CEO CARIBSAVE Partnership

View the CARIBSAVE Partnerships for Resilience climate change film series.

The Caribbean is the most tourism-dependent region in the world with few options to develop alternative economic sectors. The region is one of the most vulnerable in the Map of Caribbean world to the impacts of climate change including sea level rise, biodiversity loss and impacts on human health.

The CARIBSAVE partnership is providing practical strategies, and implementing capacity building and skills transfer activities across the region for pro-poor and national economic development in the Caribbean in an era of economic restructuring and climate change.

CTO is a partner of this project.

Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Programme

The US$2 million Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Programme (CHENACT) is meant to drive the Caribbean hotels to implement energy efficient practices and to generate their own renewable energy. This, in turn, is expected to improve their competitiveness through improved energy use.

The region’s public and private sector tourism groupings, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) – through its environmental arm, the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) – have launched a 24-month project to help the Caribbean hotel sector move towards energy efficiency.

One of the main components is the design and preparation of the energy efficiency programme and institutional strengthening. Using Barbados as a case study, this component involves performing detailed energy audits and understanding energy consumption patterns among Caribbean hotels.

Other key components include support for the preparation of policy in energy efficiency for the tourism sector; assessing Caribbean energy service companies and their potential to service the tourism sector; and energy consumption surveys. The CHENACT project was conceptualized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is contributing US$1 million to the budget, with the remainder coming from a number of participating agencies and the government of Barbados.

The CTO will be the executing agency, while CAST will implement the project.

In seeking its goal of achieving higher energy efficiency, the project will also explore the possibilities of obtaining carbon credits for reduced carbon dioxide emissions through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Synergies have also been constructed within the CHENACT project with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), ensuring compliance among the participants to both the Kyoto Protocol by reducing carbon emissions, and the Montreal Protocol, in relation to the phasing out of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.

The ultimate goal of this project is to make the CHENACT participants eligible for the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) managed by the World Bank and regional banks such as the IDB for very soft for programs that can show transformation towards a low carbon foot print. This fund (approximately US$5 billion) could be used for the financing and final implementation of relevant projects.

Other international agencies collaborating with CHTA and CTO on this initiative include:

  • German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
  • Centre for Development Enterprise (CDE) based in Brussels
  • Inter American Development Bank (IDB) through the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative (SECCI)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP)

For more information on CHENACT, contact:
Loreto Duffy-Mayers
CHENACT Project Manager
CHTA Office -4th Avenue Belleville
St. Michael, Barbados
Tel: 246-4350847, Fax: 246 -4350845
E-mail: [email protected]

Energizing the Caribbean Hotel Industry ~ Gail Henry; Sustainable Tourism Product Specialist, CTO – World Tourism Day 27th September, 2012, Barbados

CHENACT poster #4

CHENACT poster #5

CHENACT Presentations

Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Program (CHENACT) Presentation, March 30, 2012

Save the Planet, Save Your Money: Cutting Costs Through Responsible Resource Use ~ Bill Meade, TetraTech

What is CHENACT?~ Loretta Duffy-Mayers

Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Program ~ Loretta Duffy-Mayers, October 2010

March 2010 CHENACT Hotel Clean Energy Training Workshop Presentations

New Rate Structure – Encouraging greater efficiency ~ Stephen Worme, Barbados Light and Power

How Can CHENACT Help Barbados Hotels? ~ Loretta Duffy-Mayers
Ozone Depleting Substances ~ Grantley N Parris MASHRAE, MIstR

Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Caribbean Hotels ~ Andre Escalente

View CHENACT Newsletters – “Watts New”

UNEP CTO Caribbean High Level Sustainable Tourism Symposium Project

The overall objective of this UNEP-CTO project is to assess CTO member country sustainable tourism-related priority needs and current and past institutional sustainable tourism programming and investment. A participatory high-level regional Symposium and consultation process to discuss identified needs took place in October 2012.

View Symposium proceedings.

The STPS has provided additional support to IUCN, Switzerland by distributing its 2012 publications:

Biodiversity: My Hotel in Action – A guide to the sustainable use of biological resources in the Caribbean

View guide

Biodiversity: My Hotel in Action – Hotel Manager’s Checklist

Siting and Design of Hotels and Resorts – Principles and Case Studies for Biodiversity Conservation


Agro and Culinary Tourism Product Development

Under the OAS-funded “Gastronomic Product Development and Promotion for Caribbean Destinations – Developing the Tourism Industry Human Resources”, an introductory workshop on agro and culinary tourism took place at STC-13 in Guyana.

View Presentation by Ena Harvey, IICA

The project’s overall objective is to build the capacity of Caribbean tourism agencies to enhance their culinary tourism product development and marketing efforts and to strengthen the linkages between culinary tourism and the agro, cultural and heritage tourism niches. This project will seek to build on the results of the (CTO, CARICOM Secretariat, IICA, OAS and Government of Barbados supported) agrotourism workshop which took place in Barbados from 19-22 September, 2011. The regional agrotourism strategy which emanated from it is being fine-tuned.