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CTO Helps Dominica Prepare To Cope With The Impact Of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (30 July 2018) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the region’s tourism development agency, has been working closely with its member country, Dominica, to be better able to plan for, withstand and recover from the negative impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

The CTO has completed a two-day climate sensitisation and disaster risk management workshop in Roseau, aimed at facilitating the sharing of knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying sound disaster risk management approaches.

Dominica suffered a direct hit by category five Hurricane Maria last September, which wiped out 226 per cent of its gross domestic product, two years after Tropical Storm Erika passed over the island, destroying an entire village, killing 20 people and leaving behind damage to 90 per cent of the country’s GDP.

“The topics of climate change and disaster preparedness are very pertinent to us in Dominica and in the wider Caribbean. We live in a region that is prone to the effects of climate change and disasters especially hurricanes. Of course, we have first-hand knowledge and recent experience with hurricanes,” Colin Piper, the chief executive officer of Discover Dominica Authority (DDA), the island’s tourist board, said at the opening of the workshop

“Anecdotal data indicates that tourism arrivals after natural disasters reduce by up to 30 per cent for up to three years. We are in fact experiencing a reduction in promotable visitor arrivals. For some properties, their occupancy levels may be up due to aid and agency short stays, but we must address this issue which threatens our livelihood within the hospitality industry and as nation,” he added.

Thirty tourism practitioners and decision makers from the public and private sectors participated in the event, which formed part of the “Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry” project currently implemented by the CTO, with funding and technical assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank, through the joint Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) programme for Caribbean Forum states, undertaken in conjunction with the African Caribbean and Pacific Group and the European Union.

The 26-27 July workshop, facilitated by strategic planning expert Dr. Jennifer Edwards, was the latest in a series of training programmes being conducted by the CTO for Dominica.

Earlier this month a “Delivering Quality Service” workshop was held for 55 craft and souvenir vendors, hair braiders and tourism taxi service providers to help them better appreciate the importance of their roles in visitor satisfaction; improve people relations through effective communication and understand how positive visitor interactions result in satisfied visitors.

That workshop, facilitated by the CTO’s regional human resources development consultant Sharon Banfield- Bovell,  covered areas such as understanding the customer, the importance of delivering quality customer service and the ten principles of customer service, all areas which Dominica said were critical in ensuring the service providers are equipped with the necessary skill set to deliver the highest level of customer service.

In addition, 25 participants each are to be trained in the management of sites and attractions at a workshop which targets forestry park wardens and the Waitukubuli National Trail Project among others, and a management of service quality workshop for senior executives and general managers in private and public sector tourism enterprises.

The CTO’s resource mobilisation and development division offers several training and development programmes, for member countries and the tourism sector, in keeping with its mandate to assist in developing and strengthening human capital in the region’s tourism sector so as to offer high levels of professional service.

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Change, Corporate News

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BBC Presenter Encourages Broadcasters To Help People Understand Climate Change

Basseterre, St Kitts, 13 December, 2017 – The keynote speaker at the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum (CSSTF) being held in St. Kitts and Nevis, encouraged participants to think about people and how their decisions as potential and actual travellers were influenced by media reports. Gregory McKenzie, television presenter and reporter with the BBC, was the opening speaker for the CSSTF on Wednesday, December 12, which is being held at the Ocean Terrace Inn.

He explained that viewers may not want to know about climate change because they might not find it interesting or easy to understand.

“Our role as broadcasters is to…help people understand that it’s real, it’s happening,” he said. “…It’s about how we can tap into that and show people around the world on our shows that…it’s an issue. People’s lives are a at risk and many have died.”

However, he noted that while media practitioners should aim to educate their audiences about climate change, they also needed to accurately describe climate change-related events and the areas in which they occurred. For example, the coverage on the destruction in the region caused by the passage of two major hurricanes recently might have led some persons to believe that the entire region suffered severe damage.

“The global picture is [that] the Caribbean [is] one, and people forget there’s different islands,” the broadcast journalist said. “So, a part of my role is to show people the Caribbean is open for business.”

Having spent more than 15 years working for the BBC, Gregory McKenzie said he considered his role with the entity and thought about how he could encourage editors there to think about climate change in a different way. For the past four years, McKenzie has been directing, producing and reporting content for the BBC’s flagship Travel Show which is broadcast to more than 300 million viewers a week.  In doing so he has travelled to more than 30 destinations across the world.

Where the tourism industry was concerned, McKenzie explained that as more territories developed their tourism industry, it would produce significant impacts on their natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems. Because of this, he said that sustainable and responsible planning and management was imperative for the industry to survive.

“Now we already know that global tourism is reaching unprecedented levels. The demand is huge, and, for the first time in our history, the number of tourists crossing international borders in a single year has reached over the one billion mark, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation;” he said.

“The role of the consumer in all of this really shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Consumers, he added, needed to be engaged and stakeholders needed to find ways to prompt them to think in a sustainable way.

“When you’re on holiday, probably the last thing a tourist is thinking about [is] ‘where do I put the plastic?’ or ‘what do I do with that?’, but we can change that in terms of the mindset of tourists and show them different initiatives,” he explained.

“A balance has to be found between limits and usage so that [we] continuously change monitoring and planning [to] ensure that tourism can be managed, and this requires long term thinking and realizing that change is often gradual and often irreversible for economic, social and environmental aspects. Sustaining development must include the interests of all stakeholders, including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industries and of course more importantly, government.”

The 12-13 December forum, jointly organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Tourism, is the region’s bespoke event in observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.  The conference theme is “Good for Use, Better for All”.

 

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Change, Climate Smart Forum, Corporate News

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CTO and the Caribbean Development Bank to Help Region’s Tourism Sector Combat Impact of Climate Change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (23 June, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has received a €460,000 grant from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to implement a project to increase the Caribbean tourism sector’s resilience to natural hazards and climate related risks.

Global climate change and its impacts, including the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events, pose a significant risk to the Caribbean region and threaten the sustainability of Caribbean tourism. The CTO is pleased to have the support of the CDB to implement this project which will contribute to enhancing the resiliency, sustainability and competitiveness of the region’s tourism sector. Mainstreaming climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk management (DRM) strategies in tourism development and planning is our duty to our member countries,” the CTO’s Secretary General Hugh Riley said.

The CDB / CTO partnership was formalized at a signing ceremony held on June 22, 2017 at CDB’s headquarters in Barbados. Speaking at the event, CDB President, Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, noted that the tourism sector makes an enormous contribution to the Region’s socio-economic development.

Tourism generates high levels of employment, foreign direct investment and foreign exchange for our borrowing member countries and, given its multi-sectoral nature, it is a very effective tool for promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction. However, maintaining this critical role calls for adequate safeguards to be erected against the enormous threats that climate change and natural hazards pose to the sustainability of our Region,” said Dr. Smith.

Funding is being provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Countries programme, which aims to reduce vulnerability to long-term impacts of natural hazards, including the potential impacts of climate change, thereby achieving national and regional sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in those countries.

During the 19-month project implementation period, the CTO will support the region’s tourism entities with policy formulation, the promotion of best practices in DRM and CCA, and the development of tools to enhance the tourism sector’s knowledge and awareness of disaster risk reduction strategies and the potential impacts of climate variability and climate change (CVC).

A training component will also be included to strengthen the ability of public and private sector tourism stakeholders to undertake adequate mitigation and adaptation actions to CVC. The CTO secretariat will also benefit from institutional strengthening to help provide technical assistance and ongoing support for tourism-related climate services.

The project is in keeping with 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, which has been designated by the United Nations General Assembly. 

Additional photos for distribution are available here: https://we.tl/DfEobPtNtL

Posted in: 2017 News, Blog, Climate Change

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