The Caribbean Regional Sustainable Tourism Development Programme funded by the European Commission under the 8th European Development Fund and through the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) is currently under implementation.
Estimated at Euro 8 million, this programme is designed to be implemented over a five year period. The Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre Y Maestra (PUCMM) in the Dominican Republic are the implementing agencies of this programme.
A tourism unit, the CARIFORUM Tourism Programme Unit, charged with the management of the programme has been established by CARICOM/CARIFORUM in Barbados and staffed with a project director, administrative assistant and accountant.
The overall objective of the Programme is to contribute to economic growth and poverty alleviation of CARIFORUM countries through increased competitiveness and sustainability of the Caribbean tourism sector. While an improved competitiveness is required, essentially based on the quality of the product offered (in terms of standards offered and in terms of its intrinsic, unique characteristics), sustainability represents the main concern of the programme. In this respect, the essential aim is to build up a real tourism economy based on high value added, niche oriented products rather than depending on an increased number of tourist arrivals.
The main programme beneficiaries should be local players, such as small-medium sized hotels and tourism operators, as well as the local population.
The activities targeted at achieving the results of this programme include the drafting of a regional policy framework for sustainable tourism development; development and enforcement of regional environmental, health and safety standards in conformity with international practices; training provided to hotel managers and staff in the region on sustainable management and operations practices; strengthening of regional and national public and private sector tourism institutions; enhancement of research capability; improvement of information technology capability.