CTO News

Archive for STC

CTO Honours Eight Tourism Entities with Sustainable Tourism Awards at #STC2019

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (30 Aug. 2019) -The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has recognised eight tourism entities from CTO-member countries with its top awards for embracing sustainable tourism principles. The awards were presented on 29 Aug. during CTO’s Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Following a rigorous judging process by an esteemed panel of judges, across various tourism development and related disciplines, the winners for the eight awards were selected out of 38 entries and are as follows:

  • Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award recognises a product or initiative that contributes to a better quality of life in the destination and provides a unique visitor experience. Winner: True Blue Bay Boutique Resort in Grenada.
  • Destination Stewardship Award honours a CTO-member destination that is making solid strides towards sustainable tourism management at the destination level. Winner: Guyana Tourism Authority.
  • Nature Conservation Award commends any group, organisation, tourism business or attraction working towards the protection of natural and/or marine resources. Winner: Kido Foundation in Carriacou, Grenada.
  • Culture and Heritage Protection Award honours a tourism organisation or initiative making a significant contribution to protect and promote heritage. Winner: Maroon and Stringband Music Festival Committee in Carriacou, Grenada.
  • Sustainable Accommodation Award recognises small or medium-sized (less than 400 rooms) tourist accommodation facilities. Winner: Karanmabu Lodge, Guyana
  • Agro-Tourism Award recognises a business that offers an agro-tourism product incorporating elements of food/agriculture production, culinary output and visitor experience. Winner: Copal Tree Lodge, Belize
  • Community Benefit Award honours an entity that manages tourism well for the long-term benefit of the destination, local people and visitors. Winner: Jus’ Sail, Saint Lucia
  • Tourism Social Enterprise, a special award recognising an initiative by an individual or group/association which addresses social problems by applying innovative tourism development ideas. Winner: Richmond Vale Academy, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Sponsors of the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards include: Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Barbados; International Institute of Tourism Studies, the George Washington University; Massy Stores, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; the Mustique Company Ltd., St. Vincent and the Grenadines; National Properties Ltd., St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission.

“The CTO is pleased to recognise and promote the pioneering sustainability initiatives being implemented in its member countries. The region’s public and private tourism industry stakeholders continue to exhibit a high level of interest and commitment to sustainable tourism development, making the region a world leader in responsible travel and tourism,” said Amanda Charles, CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist.

The Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (#STC2019), was organised by CTO in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA) and was held 26-29 Aug. 2019 at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines hosted #STC2019 amidst an intensified national thrust towards a greener, more climate-resilient destination, including the construction of a geothermal plant on St. Vincent to complement the country’s hydro and solar energy capacity and the restoration of the Ashton Lagoon in Union Island.

 

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, STC

Leave a Comment (0) →

Acting CTO Secretary General Neil Walter’s Remarks for STC-2019

Good morning, everyone. It is with great regret that I am unable to join you today at the official opening of this year’s Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development. Given the arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian I was unable to fly to St. Vincent to participate in person in one of the CTO’s most important conferences, which, given the present climatic circumstances, is very timely.

Despite this hiccup, there are quite a few things for which I am grateful. I am grateful that to date, the impact of the weather has remained minimal and the Caribbean continues to – quite literally – smile through the storm. I am grateful for the technology which has allowed me to have at least a virtual presence at this conference. Most importantly, I am grateful to you, the delegates, who despite the challenges posed by the weather, have decided to attend the conference, which is a testament to your commitment to the development of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean.

We at the CTO would especially like to thank the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for agreeing to host this important event. This event is the first CTO event of its kind being hosted by St. Vincent and the Grenadines and we would like to thank you for your hospitality, especially in the face of the weather conditions earlier this week. We also commend you on your resolve to host the conference given the delay by one day.

It gives me great pleasure to speak to you at the opening of what promises to be a very interesting, thought provoking few days. More importantly, we hope that at the end of this period, the discussions will lead to actions and collaborations which will in turn assist with the reshaping of this industry we rely on for the sustainability of our regional economies.

Indeed, the concept of sustainability, almost unheard of just 30 years ago, has now become a buzz word, as it should. More and more, we realize that this word, hardly spoken in previous generations is now a powerful focal point since it clearly and succinctly defines how we should manage our own lives, in addition to the world around us.

The Caribbean is our slice of the earth, and like everywhere else on this planet, it comes with its own unique blend of natural characteristics. It has sustained life for thousands (maybe millions) of years and continues to do so even as life everywhere becomes more complex. We as custodians have a responsibility to ensure that we contribute to the sustenance of life now and in the future.

It is very instructive that this conference’s theme includes the phrase ‘Keeping the Right Balance’. We must keep at the forefront of our minds the delicate balance between our development as the human race and the changes we have caused in the world around us. In the latter part of the Iron Age in which we now live man has seen exponential levels of mechanical and scientific development. In fact, it is clear that man’s development in the last one hundred years has essentially outpaced the earth’s adaptation to this development. This has led to some dire consequences such as climate change which we face today.

So now, we come to tourism. As the most tourism-dependent region in the world, there is no doubt that tourism is – to a large extent – the region’s economic lifeblood. Millions of our citizens depend on tourism in both direct and indirect ways. In addition to the jobs which have contributed directly to the wellbeing of Caribbean households, tourism has also contributed to the construction of schools and medical facilities, the upgrading of utilities and roads, and has generally improved the quality of life in the region. This has translated, in some cases, to almost phenomenal levels of development in some countries in the last thirty years, especially when compared to the previous thirty years. And, like the global human development versus natural adaptation relationship I referred to earlier, the development of tourism in the Caribbean has at times not been in sync with the environment in which this growth has occurred.

Conferences like this one are very relevant, as they provide platforms for the dissemination of good practices which can, if properly implemented, help to bridge the gap and ensure a symbiotic relationship between the tourism industry and the environment in which it functions.  In this region, like other regions of the world, tourism taps into several different resources, not just the sun, sea and sand. Now more than ever before, visitors are collectors of experiences and not just any experience, but an authentic experience. This places demands on the region’s cultural, heritage, human, financial and natural resources as we seek to refine our tourism product to cater to these ever-expanding needs.

With an industry such as this, which straddles such a wide cross section of our lives while relying on so many of our resources, a sound sustainable framework for tourism is essential, even as we critically examine previous tourism development and look toward the future. As you can imagine, these changes like any other form of change, come at a cost. At this point in time, change is being encouraged when most economies can least afford any additional pull on resources.

The CTO is committed to providing the good practices to its members, which can be used to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable tourism development.  Our approach has been to seek out ways to bring these good practices using the most contemporary information and methodologies which are available.

The second part of the title phrase: ‘Tourism Development in an Era of Diversification’, recognizes the requirement at this point in tourism development in the Caribbean to embrace our diverse assets. This is especially important as we note that some of our main competition, such as Asian and Pacific tourist destinations, has – to a large extent – built their tourism product from the ground up by embracing their diverse natural and cultural assets. This conference will seek to examine the economic, environmental and socio-cultural pillars of sustainability, thereby offering a holistic approach to addressing the sustainable tourism dynamic.

Sustainable tourism development efforts would not be possible without close collaboration. Consequently, In the implementation of the Sustainable Tourism Development Programme, the CTO partners with various regional and international organizations to enhance inter-sectoral linkages, expand the scope and impact of our initiatives, contribute to capacity-building of the region’s human resources and increase the competitiveness of member destinations.

Two noteworthy initiatives being implemented over the past two years have been the ‘Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry project, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) through the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme. This initiative has significantly supported the updating of the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework, the provisioning of training and tools in disaster risk management, and a regional education and awareness campaign to promote sustainability practices.

The Innovation for Tourism Expansion and Diversification project is another pioneering regional initiative being implemented with financial and technical assistance from the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). This initiative, which has a community-based tourism (CBT) focus, will culminate in the provision of a community-based tourism toolkit for Caribbean countries, in-depth primary market research on the demand and willingness to pay for CBT experiences and a project to foster the adoption of digital payments and mobile wallet technologies among Tourism Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

In the execution of its role to support regional tourism development, CTO has a mandate which takes into account the need to maintain product quality, increase profitability, promote the region effectively, engage local populations and strengthen linkages between tourism and other economic sectors. The CTO works collaboratively with its member states and partners to support the development of adequate policies and to implement strategies to maximize potential benefits and opportunities while also mitigating the threats and challenges to the sustainability of Caribbean tourism.

We look forward to continued collaboration beyond this conference. It is our fervent hope that the presentations and discussions enhance the pursuit of sustainable tourism development in the region.

I thank you.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, STC

Leave a Comment (0) →

Caribbean Pushes for Inclusive Tourism Development

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (3 July 2019) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is creating a plan for the systematic development of community-based tourism as a viable niche and will present the details during the upcoming Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development.

The event, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (#STC2019), is scheduled for 26-29 Aug. 2019 at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent and is organised by CTO in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority (SVGTA).

At a general session titled “Community-based Tourism Driving Tourism Innovations and Experiences” scheduled 11:30 a.m. on 27 August, delegates will be presented with robust market research that encapsulates visitors’ willingness to pay for innovative tourism experiences across the Caribbean. The session will also delve into how community tourism supports product diversification and differentiation and can enhance community participation in tourism, with the ultimate benefit being the creation of a distinctive and responsible tourism brand.

CTO has worked with regional partner the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) – a development programme that focuses on innovative and practical solutions that stimulate economic growth, productivity and competitiveness – to develop the market research.

Session presenters include a Compete Caribbean representative who will address the need for cooperation in tourism to ensure local enterprises, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises, are integrated in the tourism value chain. Judy Karwacki, president of Small Planet Consulting, and a community-based tourism development specialist,  will introduce a community-based tourism toolkit commissioned by the CTO.

Under the theme “Keeping the Right Balance: Tourism Development in an Era of Diversification,” industry experts participating in #STC2019 will address the urgent need for a transformational, disruptive, and regenerative tourism product to meet ever-rising challenges. The full conference programme can be viewed via https://www.caribbeanstc.com/program/

St Vincent and the Grenadines will host STC amidst an intensified national thrust towards a greener, more climate-resilient destination, including the construction of a geothermal plant on St. Vincent to complement the country’s hydro and solar energy capacity and the restoration of the Ashton Lagoon in Union Island.

To register for the conference, visit https://www.caribbeanstc.com/register. Rates are available for general delegates including CTO members and non-members, St. Vincent & the Grenadines residents, travel agents and students (both local and international rates).

Sponsorships are available for the conference and can be viewed via: https://www.caribbeanstc.com/sponsor. Contact Sylma Brown Bramble at 212-635-9530 or [email protected] for additional information.

Posted in: 2019 News, Blog, STC

Leave a Comment (0) →