This year’s 5th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development will look at some of the major issues pertinent to sustainable tourism, Karen Ford-Warner, CTO’s deputy secretary general has disclosed.
For example, Mrs. Ford-Warner said, the first major plenary session will look at Planning, Management and Partnerships.
“Planning involves all stakeholders and a holistic view of how you want to go forward,” said Mrs. Ford-Warner. “So we are going to be looking at how to plan sustainable tourism heritage products, both natural and built projects.”
Themed Keeping the Right Balance: Embracing our Heritage in the Greater Caribbean, will also discuss quality, authenticity and standards in developing heritage tourism products, as well as guidelines from a number of sustainable tourism products being developed globally. These include UNESCO World Heritage sites and the Caribbean Blue Flag programme with its requirements for beaches and marinas. Puerto Rico will be used as a case study for Blue Flag.
A session on marketing heritage tourism products is expected to generate much interest.
“We have to sell these things to ourselves first and foremost because the whole experience of sustainability has to do with our own people internalising the importance of our culture and our heritage and then sharing it with visitors from overseas,” said Mrs. Ford-Warner.
One of the case studies will be the Mundo Maya project, a sub-regional initiative to preserve historical, environmental, and cultural heritage in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and five Mexican states, countries that span both the CTO and the Association of Caribbean States.
One of the goals of the Mundo Maya project is to preserve and utilize the Mayan heritage in these countries. The project includes the design of an investment plan for cultural, ecological, and adventure tourism as well as environmental protection and guarantees of the participation of the Mayan community and other local communities in the process.
“The project has been very successful and we want to get the experience they have had in terms of marketing, stated Mrs. Ford-Warner.Caribbean Tourism Organization