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Caribbean Tourism minister wants action to protect region against impact of climate change

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – One of the Caribbean’s top tourism policy-makers has called for bold new initiatives to protect the region from the impact of climate change.

The Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Hon. John Maginley, said that strong, decisive action will help protect the region’s invaluable natural assets.

In an address at the opening of the 11th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-11) here on Sunday night, Mr. Maginley also reminded delegates that, like other regions in the world, the Caribbean is vulnerable to natural disasters.

Hon. John Maginley

But he told the approximately 400 delegates gathered at the Lloyd Erskine Sandi ford Centre for the event, the region must do all it can to mitigate against the impact of these natural occurrences.

“We know what it’s like to have to cope with storms. We know what it feels like to deal with periodic drought; and most recently, we have experienced the trauma of earthquakes here in our region, a phenomenon from which the People of Haiti are only now beginning to recover,” the CTO chairman told the audience, which included Barbados’ deputy prime minister, Roundel Stuart, ministers of government and representatives of regional and international institutions.

“With disasters like these the time is surely right to aggressively push for initiatives that protect and preserve our region’s unmatched assets,” he added.

Mr. Maginley, who is Antigua & Barbuda’s tourism minister, also advised delegates that in addition to tackling these challenges, the Caribbean region must also pursue opportunities to ensure the industry remains competitive.

“This after all, is the primary means of sustenance for the vast majority of the citizens of the Caribbean. This means we must produce a superb tourism product that is sustainable and which clearly distinguishes us from our competitors,” Mr. Maginley stated.

Over the next three days, delegates to STC-11 will debate issues and develop recommendations for the viability and sustainability of the region’s tourism sector. A number of high profile speakers – including the ecotourism editor of National Geographic Traveler, Jonathan Tortilla, who will deliver the feature address – will share their experiences and offer suggestions on how to develop a world class sustainable tourism product.

The 11th Annual Caribbean Conference is being held in collaboration with the Barbados Ministry of Tourism.

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