BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS—How to develop partnerships that result in an innovative, profitable and sustainable product will be the main topic for discussion when tourism planners, policymakers and stakeholders in the tourism sector meet in Trinidad & Tobago in April for the Caribbean’s premier sustainable tourism gathering.
The 14th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-14)—to be held from April 15 to 18—will explore ways the Caribbean can enhance destination sustainability and competitiveness in the current global environment by examining a number of critical issues. These include enriching visitor experiences beyond stereotypical urban and rural tourism products; intelligent destination branding and marketing designed to showcase these experiences; engaging and partnering with key destination stakeholders for successful destination planning and management; increasing year-round visitor spend on local goods and services; and learning from winning destinations’ good practice models in tourism sustainability.
“As the world slowly embraces new models of economic development, including green and blue economies, Caribbean destinations will need to find complementary models of destination sustainability,” said Gail Henry, the CTO’s sustainable tourism product specialist.
Creating a Desirable Destination
“Greater attention to how our destinations are planned, managed and marketed will also be critical for positioning the Caribbean as the most desirable, year-round warm weather destination by 2017,” Henry added in a reference to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s new vision.
It is for these reasons, she said, that the CTO, which organizes the conference, has chosen as its theme, “Keeping the Right Balance: Enhancing Destination Sustainability through Products, Partnerships, Profitability.”
The conference program will feature focused panel discussions, special presentations and interactive workshops to create opportunities for delegates to interact with leading local, regional and international experts and tourism practitioners. A full day of study tours is also being planned to reveal the diversity of Trinidad & Tobago and the various sustainability models being employed. Also not to be missed are the Stakeholder Speak Out and youth-focused sessions which add to the rich sustainable tourism discourse.
As a third-time STC host, Trinidad and Tobago is again eager to showcase its many wonders. The government has identified tourism as one of the key pillars to lead the diversification effort in its energy fuelled economy. The growth of the tourism sector there is being guided by the principles of sustainable tourism where there is a balance between the use of environmental resources and the cultural and socio-economic benefits derived by host communities.
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