Tourism stakeholders speak out at upcoming Caribbean Tourism Conference

GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands – The 9th annual Caribbean Conference for Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-9) will see the Chairman of the Go East Committee, Mervyn Conolly; General Manager of the Cayman Islands National Trust, Frank Roulstone and Little Cayman Hotelier, Peter Hillenbrand, share experiences and offer solutions to problems in the development of sustainable tourism with their local and regional counterparts.

The topics that the three local businessmen will discuss at the Stakeholders Speak Out sessions on May 24th — Developing Valuable Tourism Resources Within Our Communities, The Role of the National Trust in Tourism Development and the Economics of Greening your Business — are all of real significance to the local community and were chosen through private and public sector consultation.

Developing Valuable Tourism Resources Within Our Communities: The Grand Cayman Go East Initiative – Mervyn Conolly

In keeping with the overall motto of STC-9: “Keeping the Right Balance: Health and Wellness – Communities, Environments and Economies”, Mervyn Conolly will share the East End Go East Committee’s experience with increasing tourism awareness and revenue for the district of East End, while adopting a sustainable approach to the development of tourism in the district.

The presentation will address the challenges of retaining the charm, tranquility, culture and uniqueness of the East End district while embracing the benefits of economic development and growth, how the Committee is working to achieve shared values and prosperity for the economic development of the district, the importance of maintaining social harmony and protecting the environment, and efforts made to ensure that development and growth is managed in a way that not only benefits the investor/developer but that benefit and value is afforded to the residents of the district.

The Economics of Greening Your Business – Peter Hillenbrand

Peter Hillenbrand says that as a government, a business or an individual we should want to do our part to lessen our impact on our increasingly crowded Plant Earth. However, if it is not worth it in terms of dollars, if there is not a return on investment, very few of us will make the real changes needed towards this end.

“Investing in renewable energies (solar and wind), managing our water resources, recycling and buying transportation that burns less carbon based fuels require not just an investment in money, but an investment in cultural change,” says Peter. “Strong leaders can help adjust attitudes and convince the reluctant, but unless there is an economic reason, and there is demonstrable cost benefit, investing in sustainable products will not happen. The best way to have people begin living a more sustainable life is to either scare the heck out of them, or demonstrate to governments, to businesses and to families, that with the continual improvements in technology, and the decreasing costs of buying this technology, you, your business, and your government will save money.”

Not all sustainable practices have a short term return on investment and Peter’s presentation will help to show you the ones that can, and others that are still “worth it”.

The Role of the National Trust in Tourism Development – Frank E. Roulstone III

The purposes of the National Trust by law are primarily the conservation of environmental areas and preservation of historic sites. Some may question the role this plays in tourism. With more of an emphasis on “Heritage Tourism”, “Geotourism” and even “Eco Tourism”, the role becomes much more apparent. After all, there is no basis for attracting this type of visitor without protecting the long-term viability of the product offering.

Our beaches and marine attractions have long been the basis of our tourism product and steps were taken early on to safeguard some of them. Increasingly visitors are looking for more than sun, sea and sand forcing us to re-assess the need for exactly what the Trust was intended to do.

The National Trust for the Cayman Islands understands the role it can play in presenting credible, authentic and entertaining Caymanian experiences to visitors whilst preserving the history, culture and environment of this small fragile island chain.

STC-9 runs from May 21st to 24th at the Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa.

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