It is important that all tourism stakeholders play an equal role in policy planning for sustainable tourism development, delegates to the seventh Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-7) have been advised.
ÊToo often, local policy regimes have been in conflict with some international policies and it is in the interest of all actors to achieve harmony in balance through tourism management,” Luis Chaves, sustainable tourism adviser to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) said at Wednesday morning’s plenary session entitled, Sustainable Development of Tourism Products: The Components.
Mr. Chaves, whose presentation dealt with Policy Making and Integration as a Key Starting Point for Sustainable Tourism Intersectoral Planning, underscored the importance of a multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder approach in the planning of sustainable tourism policies.
He also stressed the need for communication and consultation among stakeholders, which he said “would allow for greater coordination and minimise divergences among them.”
This position was supported by Hugh Cresser, coordinator of the Environmental Audits for Sustainable Tourism (EAST) programme in Jamaica and Deirdre Shurland, executive director of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) in Puerto Rico.
Mr. Cresser spoke on Product Development: Innovative Ideas to make it Sustainable and drew on his experience with the Destination Management Programme implemented in the Jamaican parish of Portland.
The first phase of the planned implementation strategy of the programme focused on the identification of the key stakeholders from both public and private sector groups, achieving “buy-in” from other relevant groups in the wider community. It also included the hosting of workshops on environmental best practices to sensitise the community to the concept of sustainable development.
“One of the lessons learnt from the project, was the importance in having community leadership and involvement in the development process,” he said.
Ms. Shurland dealt with Meeting Sustainable Tourism Standards: Quality Services Guidelines and reiterated the need to involve both the public and private sectors, as well as the community, in the planning process.
STC-7 is organised by CTO, in collaboration with the government of Trinidad and Tobago, the ACS and the EU, within the framework of the Caribbean Regional Sustainable Tourism Development Programme (CRSTDP).