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Carribean Minister of Tourism calls on IFIs to drive tourism recovery and growth

Noting that the tourism product in most parts of the developing world was heavily tied to the natural environment, Minister Bartlett likened tourism development to a two-edged sword, being both a victim of and a contributor to climate change.

WASHINGON DC – In a critical analysis of tourism and its importance to global economies, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has made a universal call on international financial institutions (IFIs) to invest in ideas to build industry capacity for full recovery and inclusive growth.

Minister Bartlett was one of four notable climate finance panellists addressing the topic, “The Paris Agreement: Progress or Prevarication?” at the 2023 Global Inclusive Growth Summit in Washington D.C. on April 13.

Underscoring the industry’s importance, he said tourism remained the engine of economic growth, job creation and development in many countries around the world and was especially crucial to the livelihoods of undiversified island economies. Also, for the foreseeable future, tourism would continue to be a fundamental pillar of the world economy.

Noting that the tourism product in most parts of the developing world was heavily tied to the natural environment, Minister Bartlett likened tourism development to a two-edged sword, being both a victim of and a contributor to climate change.

He stated that “the growth, development and expansion of the tourism product quite often threaten environmental sustainability. Admittedly, among other resources, the hospitality industry uses substantial amounts of energy for providing comfort and services to its guests, typically with a low level of energy efficiency.”

With concerns about sustainability and social inclusion gaining traction, Minister Bartlett said the concept of sustainable tourism had emerged as a way to balance the economic, social and environmental aspects of the industry because of its close linkages to other sectors and its ability to create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities.

In that context, Minister Bartlett told the global summit that “A key aspect of tourism resilience is socio-economic resilience, which entails maximizing the tourism sector’s ability to promote social inclusion, economic diversification, and community engagement in tourism development. Sustainable tourism should contribute to poverty reduction, social cohesion and local community well-being, and reduce inequality and marginalization.”

He indicated that strategies for enhancing socio-economic resilience in tourism destinations should include “promoting local ownership and control of tourism resources, facilitating community-based tourism initiatives, providing training and capacity building opportunities for local communities, and fostering cultural preservation and heritage conservation.”

Also, Minister Bartlett pointed to environmental resilience as another key aspect of tourism resilience, adding, “This thrust recognizes that tourism and environmental resilience are intertwined as the sustainability of tourist destinations depend heavily on the health and preservation of natural resources and ecosystems.”

In that regard, he said that for its own long-term viability, the tourism sector needed to make environmental resilience a core focus and prioritize safeguarding the natural environment and mitigating the negative impacts of tourism on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Citing the need for coordination, strong actions, and political and financial support for tourism’s transition to greater inclusivity and sustainability, Minister Bartlett said this should reflect a societal approach incorporating internal and external stakeholders, including governments, businesses, local communities, NGOs, think tanks, academia, and travellers “to ensure that the tourism sector plays a critical role in mitigating climate change by adopting sustainable practices, investing in green infrastructure, promoting responsible tourism behaviours, and raising awareness among travellers.”

Arguing that meaningful collaboration and partnerships were required to develop climate-resilient infrastructure, promote nature-based solutions, and integrate climate risk assessments into tourism planning and management, Minister Bartlett said, “There is an urgent need for increased funding and investment to enable sustainable tourism practices and infrastructure, including investments in renewable energy, green transportation, eco-friendly accommodation, and waste management systems that reduce carbon emissions, minimize environmental impacts, and promote sustainable resource use.”

Minister Bartlett spoke of the need also for greater research and innovation to develop new technologies, solutions, and best practices that can help the tourism industry adapt to climate change and reduce its carbon footprint.

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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