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Jamaica Tourism Board recognises the importance of sustainable holidays in Jamaica

  • 23-Aug-12 12:55
  • Jamaica
  • Caribbean News Now

With more and more Jamaica hotels being developed along the nation's beautiful coastline the exposure to environmental risks such as natural disasters and climate change, Jamaican tourism officials have highlighted their commitment to developing sustainable holidays in Jamaica. The island is now one of 10 nations to participate in an IDB funded project aimed at establishing a regional monitoring and evaluation framework for the Caribbean tourism sector.

Jamaica Tourism Board recognises the importance of sustainable holidays in Jamaica

Jamaica has shown its commitment to supporting the eco friendly Jamaica holidays industry with the recent announcement that the Caribbean island will be one of ten nation states participating in an Inter-America Development Bank (IDB) funded project aimed at establishing a regional monitoring and evaluation framework for the Caribbean tourism sector. The project seeks to effectively manage the potential environmental risks to the region’s tourism sector stemming from natural disasters and climate change.

The project, funded to the tune of US$750,000, has been labelled the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation System for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in the Caribbean Tourism Sector and is being spearheaded by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in collaboration with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the University of the West Indies. Elizabeth Riley, Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA noted of the initiative, “the CDEMA co-coordinating unit is pledging its support to working side-by-side with our Tourism sector partners in empowering this sector to drive the mainstreaming process”.

Jamaica’s involvement in the project underscores the island’s commitment to developing a market for sustainable holidays in Jamaica especially in light of the island’s increasing vulnerability to environmental risks as a result of the expansion in coastal tourism. Jennifer Griffith, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment has stated, “[Jamaica is] fully convinced of the importance of integrating disaster risk management, climate change adaptation and tourism development. This is especially so as we have had significant expansion in recent years, and are constantly expanding our coastal tourism plan”

 Jamaica - Dunns Falls
Image by: The Morris Clan, on Flickr

During the first regional meeting for the programme, the CTO’s Gil Henry noted the importance of developing sustainable holidays in Jamaica as well as in the other Caribbean islands as holidaymakers are increasingly aware of the risks that natural disasters pose.

“Would potential travelers willingly travel to a destination that is not perceived to be safe and secure? Would they travel during the hurricane season? Would they travel to a destination that has been recently ravaged by a natural disaster? What assurance can we give them that our destination is prepared to competently handle the occurrence of natural hazards and to expedite recovery in the aftermath...These are considerations that tourism agencies have to factor into how they plan and manage sustainable tourism development in this not business as usual environment” stated Ms Henry.

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