There is a need for the Caribbean to adopt an integrated planning approach to tourism development, said hotelier and development expert Atherton Martin.
Mr. Martin, who owns and operates an eco-resort in his native Dominica, will make a presentation on Integrated Development Planning at the opening session of the 6th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development taking place in Havana, Cuba from April 27-30, 2004.
“An integrated approach to tourism development requires, for example, that we share in the responsibility for building the institutional capacity for customer service in all sectors as we journey together towards sustainable tourism development,” Mr. Martin said.
“Integrated development planning challenges us to look at the phrase ‘tourism is everybody’s business’ and recognize that everybody’s business is tourism’s business,” he added.
The Dominican hotelier and environmentalist explained that the central objective of integrated planning is to ensure a holistic approach to development, which involves all major stakeholders.
The conference opening plenary session will focus on physical planning, with emphasis on balancing development on land with marine conservation. The conference theme is Keeping the Right Balance - Land and Sea Encounters.
“There is a delicate balance between land-based activities and underwater eco-systems, particularly in small island states and coastal areas,” said Karen Ford-Warner, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)‘s deputy secretary general. “As we continue to develop the tourism sector, we must find ways to maintain this balance in order to make this vitally important industry sustainable.”