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Sustainable tourism gets a boost in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is set to receive guidance and funding to improve sustainable travel in the region and safeguard the long-term viability of its tourism sector. Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas are among the first nations to get support from the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA).

Sustainable tourism gets a boost in the Caribbean

Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas are among seven destinations to receive guidance and funding to support the development of sustainable tourism. In an initiative designed to preserve the long-term viability of the region's tourism sector, the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA) will introduce a toolkit including an assessment, targeted solutions, training and marketing support.

The Sustainable Destination Toolkit has been designed by tourism consultancy Sustainable Travel International, which aims to protect the future of these tourism hubs including the local people, culture and environment. Targeting areas for improvement, the toolkit will provide the framework for implementing solutions, bringing in outside expertise and monitoring the effectiveness of the system in improving tourism sustainability.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism Director General, Joy Jibrilu, commented:

"The Bahamas' participation in the initiative is important because tourism alone provides an estimated 60 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs about half the Bahamian work force.

"Five million tourists arrive annually at the Port of Nassau. Whatever we can do to improve, grow, and ultimately sustain the Port in a responsible way, will benefit everyone, including visitors, cruise lines, and Bahamians."

According to the SDAA, "The Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world. Tourism, in this region, is the single largest contributor to GDP and the biggest employer after the public sector." It said the initiative is important because "the rapid surge in tourism has presented tremendous challenges".

Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Honduras and Nicaragua will also receive sustainable tourism support through the SDAA. The organisation also hopes to extend the initiative to further countries in the future.

The SDAA, which launched in March this year, is the largest ever initiative to unite the public and private sectors to focus on travel sustainability in the Americas. The organisation's partners include the Organization of American States, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Central American Tourism Integration Secretariat, global NGO Sustainable Travel International, Royal Caribbean Cruises and the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.

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