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CTO and Caribbean Development Bank Partner with Ministry of Tourism, St Kitts to Stage Successful Climate Smart Tourism Forum

 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (19 December, 2017) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) in collaboration with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism hosted the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum, as the first regional activity related to implementation of the Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry  (CSSCTI) project, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).  The landmark event, in observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development was held in Basseterre, St. Kitts from December 12-14, 2017.

The Forum brought together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies for three days of dynamic and interactive engagements. It examined climate change adaptation, mitigation, and opportunities for sound management of Caribbean destinations. Key Forum Sessions included: Tourism Resiliency through Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation; Innovative Models & Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism; S.M.A.R.T Destinations: Using Climate as an Opportunity; The Tourism Recovery Roundtable; and Roadmap to Disaster Management. The keynote presentation was delivered by Mr. Greg McKenzie, senior news presenter, producer and television broadcaster from the BBC, London U.K, who explained that as more Caribbean countries developed their tourism industry, it would produce significant impacts on their natural resources, consumption patterns, as well as ecological and social systems. He therefore argued that sustainable and responsible planning and management was imperative for the industry to survive. “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. More importantly, sustaining development must include the interests of all stakeholders, including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industries and of course more importantly, government united in the effort to mitigate and combat global climate change and its related impacts” Greg McKenzie, BBC.

The first two days of activities included presentations by experts showcasing best practices for a climate resilient sustainable tourism industry; the sharing of experiences and benchmark initiatives by country representatives; practical workshops to reinforce lessons learnt; and experiential field visits showcasing key initiatives in St. Kitts. Presentations were received from Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Mr. Hugh Riley, CTO’s Secretary General and CEO, Dr. Yves Robert Personna, Project Manager for the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank- Natural Disaster Risk Management (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) in CARIFORUM Countries programme, at the CDB, and Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, best known for serving as commander of the Joint Task Force Katrina responsible for coordinating military relief efforts post Hurricane Katrina in the United States, who presented on the topic, Lessons from Katrina.

On the third day a tourism sector strategic consultation workshop was held for the CSSCTI project, chaired by the CTO Sustainable Tourism Specialist and CSSCTI project Manager, Ms. Amanda Charles. Also presiding over the meeting was Dr. Yves Robert Personna, who delivered a presentation on the NDRM programme highlighting ongoing activities to include support given to countries.

“CBD has partnered with CTO to help incorporate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction considerations into national and regional tourism policies, plans and operations. While the tourism industry is crucial to the economic growth and development of the Caribbean, one must also recognise that this sector is highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. These events have adversely affected the flow of environmental goods and services on which the sector is largely dependent. Therefore, it is essential to develop and implement sound initiatives to increase the tourism sector resilience to climate-related risks to ensure its sustainability”, said Dr. Personna.

The Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum was an opportunity to share and exchange best practices, hear and learn from experts and engage in rich dialogue and networking with tourism industry stakeholders, as well as regional and international partners, in seeking to enhance climate resiliency and strengthen disaster risk management strategies in the Caribbean Tourism industry. “We are indebted to the CDB for their support of the Caribbean tourism sector in providing the financial and technical assistance for the implementation of the Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project, which facilitated the convening of the Forum. The threats posed by global warming and climate change require a well-coordinated and urgent response, given the vulnerability of the Caribbean region and the tourism sector specifically.” Hugh Riley, Secretary General and CEO.

This CSSCTI project will support the mainstreaming of climate and disaster risk reduction considerations in tourism business operations and destination management, and through the delivery of training and tools, enhance regional competencies for climate change adaptation and disaster risk management.

Funding for the project and related activities 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.

For information and photos from the event please visit www.caribbeanstc.com

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About the Caribbean Development Bank

The Caribbean Development Bank is a regional financial institution established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). In addition to the 19 BMCs, CDB’s membership includes four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela and five non-regional, non-borrowing members; i.e., Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. CDB’s total assets as at December 31, 2016 are USD2.89 billion (bn). These include USD1.59bn of Ordinary Capital Resources and USD1.29bn of Special Funds. The Bank is rated Aa1 Stable with Moody’s and AA+ Stable with Standard and Poor’s and Fitch. Read more at caribank.org.

Contact:

Sueann Tannis

Head of Corporate Communications

Mobile: 246-826-3343

Office: 246-431-1882

Email: [email protected]

 

Posted in: 2018 News, Blog, Climate Smart Forum

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Representatives of Hurricane-Battered Countries Share Invaluable First-Hand Information

From left to right: Angela Burnett, Environmental Officer (Climate Change), Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour, Government of the Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands; Roland Royer, Chief Technical Officer, Ministry of Tourism, Dominica; Gina Brooks, Tourism Planner, Ministry of Finance, Economic Development, Investment, Commerce &Tourism, Anguilla; Vashti Ramsey-Casimir, Senior Tourism Officer, Sustainable Tourism,  Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development, Investment and Energy, Antigua; Rolando Brison, Director of Tourism, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau; Brian Been, Senior Product Development Officer, Turks and Caicos Tourist Board

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (15 December 2017) Delegates attending the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum (CSSTF) held this week heard some dramatic stories that demonstrated the resolve and resilience of the territories worst affected by the hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, during the Tourism Recovery roundtable at the Forum.

The discussion focused on four areas: destination access, supply capacity, marketing and public relations, and how destinations can get television coverage. It was one of the highlights of day two of the three-day conference.

The panel featured representatives from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Maarten and Turks and Caicos Islands.  It was hosted by the Forum’s keynote speaker, Gregory McKenzie and his twin brother, Michael, both of whom are BBC presenters and producers.

The countries’ representatives shared with the audience the national and international efforts following the storms, including how the countries worked closely with agencies on the ground to restore ports and tourist sites, as well as how partners in markets across the region and around the world assisted with raising funds and awareness of their situation. They also gave detailed updates on their room stock and general timelines for the re-opening of hotels.

The panellists were also able to speak about the channels being used to let others know that the countries are open for business and the ways in which they seek to manage visitor expectations.

The session’s hosts gave suggestions on approaches that could be adopted to improve the chances of media coverage on the various destinations, advising that the officials would first need to consider how to attract the particular audience’s attention to the story.

The McKenzie brothers recommended, as well, that the stories must be about people, and to build on those stories by creatively weaving in information about the territory, what it has to offer and how it aims to achieve sustainability.

In a true Caribbean fashion, the participants also used the Forum as a storytelling opportunity, sharing first-hand accounts of the devastation and recovery efforts that might not have fallen within the discussion areas. They also committed to keep providing the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) with regular updates to be shared with the wider public.

The roundtable was the latest effort by theCTO to provide avenues for impacted countries to disseminate detailed, first-hand accounts of their status, including the efforts to rebuild and reopen their countries.

In addition to being the hub for reliable information for both media and the general public before and after the storms, the CTO also facilitated the sharing of information on what was needed to recover and rebuild stronger by organising a special session at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference in Grenada last October.

A number of key entities and partners, including the Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, airlines, cruise lines, and telecommunications companies, shared invaluable details at that session.

“The CTO was both proactive and reactive in providing regular updates and granting interviews to virtually every major media outlet in our key markets during and after the hurricanes on a daily basis using information provided by official government sources from the destinations that were both adversely impacted as well as those that were spared any damage from the storms,” according to Hugh Riley, the secretary general.

“Our use of social media has been prolific. In addition, we worked closely with the private sector through our partner, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, to gather information from the hotels in order to properly inform all media which hotels were open and which facilities were damaged. In this way, a daily report was provided to the media with real-time information on the hotels and the destinations following the hurricanes.

“The roundtable at the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum was one more such opportunity provided by the CTO as we continue to seek avenues to help all our member countries tell their stories. Of the six destinations on stage, three had been visited by us immediately after the hurricanes, so the details we were able to provide in those critical early stages were also first-hand accounts,” Mr. Riley explained.

The CSSTF, which was organised jointly with the St. Kitts ministry of tourism, was the region’s bespoke event in observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, themed, “Good for Use, Better for All”.

Read coverage of the Climate Smart Forum:

https://paxnews.com/news/other/ctos-climate-smart-sustainable-tourism-forum-addresses-link-between-consumers-and-climate-change

https://paxnews.com/news/other/special-report-roundup-caribbean-recovery-efforts

https://paxnews.com/news/tourism-board/cto-resilient-caribbean-key-fighting-climate-change

Posted in: 2017 News, Climate Smart Forum

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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 Announces Winners of Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (2 August, 2017) – Four Caribbean primary school students ranging in age from 8-12, will be honoured for excellence in tourism writing at next month’s Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum in St. Kitts.

The four –  Kassie Haley-Shai of St. Augustine Roman Catholic School in Montserrat, Ariah Khobie Diamante Darroux of  Convent Preparatory School  in Dominica (both in the 8-10 category), Jhe’auti Belyca Craigg of Belmont Government School in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Gabriella Lewis of Atwell’s Educational Institute in Trinidad and Tobago (10-12 category) – emerged winners among 44 participants  from 26 schools who participated in the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Caribbean Primary Schools Tourism Writing Competition.

The contest, held as part of activities for International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the CTO’s Year of Adventure, was organised to enhance primary school students’ awareness of tourism and its value and contribution to the region’s social and economic development. It was also meant to challenge the students to think of creative ways to make tourism more sustainable.

The winners can be viewed here: http://www.onecaribbean.org/primary-school-tourism-writing-competition/

“I am very pleased with the level of interest exhibited in this initiative, as evidenced by the diversity of participating schools,” said Amanda Charles, the CTO’s sustainable tourism development specialist, whose department spearheads the Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum.

“The submissions were all of a high calibre, with the students displaying depth and creativity in their compositions. It is clear that even at the primary school level students are aware of the importance of tourism to the region, can speak eloquently about tourism in their countries and have some insight into the opportunities and challenges associated with tourism development.”

The students in the 8-10 category were asked to write about what sustainable tourism meant to them or how visitors and locals should act towards each other to promote peace, while those in the 10-12 category were challenged to conceptualise and describe a new adventure tour or to suggest ways that the CTO can help make tourism in the Caribbean more sustainable. The students in both categories were also given the option of writing on whether they felt tourism does indeed contribute to making the Caribbean region a better place, or to identify an adventure tourism activity in their countries and deliver a sales pitch to encourage tourists to experience that activity.

Themed, Good for Us, Better for All, the 6-8 September Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum is being held in observance of International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and will bring together local, regional, and international representatives from public and private sector tourism entities, as well as development agencies that offer programming in sustainable tourism, for three days of interactive engagements.

Major elements will include best practice sharing and strategic consultations for a CTO climate adaptation project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, in order to strengthen holistic destination management approaches in the Caribbean. The programme will also include experiential field visits, a meeting of CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Technical Committee, and winning presentations from CTO’s Primary School Tourism Writing Competition. The event culminates with the presentation ceremony for CTO’s 2017 Sustainable Tourism Awards which recognise regional sustainability champions.

Organising partners include the CTO, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, and Sustainable Travel International.

The winner of the 2014 CTO/Travel Mole Sustainable Tourism Award in Destination Stewardship, St Kitts is one of the first destinations in the world to be accepted as an early adopter of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s criteria for destinations. It also is a founding member of the Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas, an initiative by the CTO, the Organization of American States, Sustainable Travel International and Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited to promote sustainable destination management in the Caribbean and Central America.

Its many initiatives include the establishment of the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation and Sustainability Charter, which helps businesses understand how their operations contribute to destination-wide sustainability, and to support community projects that make St. Kitts a more sustainable place to live and experience.

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

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