BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Caribbean and international tourism stakeholders will seek to explore ways to balance the economic benefits of the industry and the environment at the region’s premier sustainable tourism conference in Puerto Rico later this month.
Tourism, Economic Development and the Environment is the topic of discussion at the first general session of the 8th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, also called the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-8), which takes place at the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, from 25-29 April.
There have been concerns, particularly among environmental groups, that if tourism is to bring real economic rewards it will be to the detriment of the environment, said Mareba Scott, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s sustainable tourism product specialist. She said this general session will address these concerns and will offer practical suggestions on how to minimize any impact on the environment.
“The reality is that both tourism and economic development involve the process of promoting, supporting, initiating and facilitating the creation of employment opportunities and wealth, and tourism can serve to promote conservation” Ms. Scott said.
“Land use planning, maintaining biodiversity, the impact of global climate change are economic development priorities and are inextricably linked to tourism,” she added.
Other sessions during the conference will deal with creating sector linkages and financing sustainable tourism projects, among others. The entire first day will be dedicated to disaster management and preparedness, with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) leading the discussion in this area of critical concern to the region’s tourism industry.
The programme also includes a series of workshops, as well as study tours to some of Puerto Rico’s most exciting sustainable tourism sites.
The 8th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development is organized by CTO in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PTRC), and co-sponsored by American Express and the European Union within the framework of the Caribbean Regional Sustainable Tourism Development programme (CRSTDP).