CHTA calls for global action to tackle climate change following devastating hurricanes

CHTA calls for global action to tackle climate change following devastating hurricanes Tourism, the lifeblood of the Caribbean, has been hard hit by recent severe weather

The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association is backing calls by Caribbean leaders for the international community to keep the devastating impact of climate change on the global development agenda.

As the region’s prime ministers and presidents gather in New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, CHTA president Karolin Troubetzkoy said: “We must continue to let the world know how parts of the Caribbean are beginning to be devastated by the effects of climate change and the urgent need to strengthen our resilience to such assaults.”

Together with CHTA director general Frank Comito, Troubetzkoy expressed continued sympathy for the hardship following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria and urged everyone in the projected path of Maria to take serious precautions.

The tourism officials want to see a united front to bring immediate aid, calling on regional organisations, governments, relief organisations and multilateral organisations to pursue a more coordinated effort in responding to the needs of the region’s people following these devastating weather events.

Addressing the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on some of the islands in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and now the eastern part of the
Dominican Republic, the CHTA president observed that: “These are the very real consequences of humankind’s inattention to climate changing excesses and it’s time for the industrialised wealthier countries, which are major contributors to climate change, to recognise the need to help the region to strengthen our defences against future disasters, including not only hurricanes but extreme weather events which bring flooding and landslides.”

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Let us not forget the fact, she said: “That we in our small island nations contribute the least to climate change - yet we suffer the most from it.”

Building a more resilient Caribbean will require an assembly of the international community, but also the Caribbean countries themselves, she added.

“We keep talking about the importance of public and private sector collaboration, but we need to do more, together, to address this momentous task.

“We need to be respectful of our ecosystem and find ways to strengthen the marine environment.

We need to educate. We need to look at how and where we build and how we protect our people and their livelihoods.”

The travel and tourism industry has launched the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund, uniting CHTA with the noted Tourism Cares organisation, which has helped to lead private sector efforts globally following crises.

The fund allows tourism industry stakeholders and friends of the region throughout the world to pool their resources in support of vulnerable, devastated areas of the Caribbean that welcome millions of visitors in a region that supports 2.4 million tourism-related jobs.