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Region urged to sustain tourism sector


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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Sept 27, CMC – The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization is urging regional governments to introduce various policies, including legislation and tax rebates, so as to ensure the survival of the tourism industry.
In a message marking World Tourism Day on Friday, CTO chairperson, Beverly Nicholson-Doty, said there was need for a “multi-sectorial approach – combining public policy and incentives; private-sector financing and endorsement; backed by effective community and visitor education and awareness programmes” to ensure the sustainability of the industry.
World Tourism Day is being held under the theme “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future” and Nicholson-Doty said that the occasion provides an opportunity for the region “to reflect on all aspects of our vital tourism sector – the social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects – and the impact they have on our precious water resources.
“Water is such a natural part of the Caribbean, with a seemingly endless supply of both fresh and sea water, that we risk taking it for granted.”
She described the tourism sector as the region’s main economic earner relying “heavily on reliable sources of water so we should find ways to ensure sustainable supply to our hotels, restaurants, entertainment centres, and sporting facilities. Visiting cruise ships also need this precious resource to function effectively.
“Water resources serve as a direct source of employment for thousands of Caribbean people in the form of dive tourism, watersports, game-fishing and snorkeling. It’s for this reason, and the fact that we have a duty to future generations, that we must practise sustainable water-use policies,” she said, adding “the he challenges include better wastewater management practices in our swimming pools, water parks and golf courses”.
Nicholson-Doty said that the CTO has sought to provide its members with opportunities to learn and implement sustainable tourism practices, including those related to water consumption, making reference to the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency Action Programme (CHENACT) which it manages in conjunction with the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
She said this public-private sector programme helps Caribbean hotels to implement energy efficient practices and to generate their own renewable energy. 
“Since its launch in 2009, CHENACT has helped more than 80 hotels to reduce costs and to improve energy consumption patterns…saving the region’s hotel sector approximately USD $271 million annually in utility costs. We thank the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for its continued support of this vital programme.”
She said in addition, the annual Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC) engages key industry influencers on the sustainability of our destinations by operating biodiversity-friendly tourism systems.


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