NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Tourism has engaged its local and regional partners in forging strategies aimed at continuing the sustainable growth of their respective economies, during the Small Island Developing States Conference.
The Rt Hon Perry Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas officially opened the two-day conference at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.
The two-day conference held under the theme: “Tourism is a Key Sector for Development in Island States”, attracted approximately 250 delegates from around the region, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme.
The conference is being held as the country celebrates 50 years of Tourism and the observation of February as Sustainable Tourism Month. Delegates enjoy a cultural performance at the opening ceremony of the Small Island Developing States Conference at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.
Minister of Tourism the Hon Obie Wilchcombe in his welcoming address observed that although tourism is the “cash cow” for The Bahamas and other Caribbean economies, it is imperative to look at sustainable measures.“We need to discuss what we can do to make this industry thrive and to generate opportunities for our people,” he said.
The focus of the conference is to build up on the conclusions on Sustainable Development of Tourism in Islands held in Reunion Island in September 2013. Its purpose is to serve as guidance to National Tourism Authorities and the international community as an input to the Third International Conference on SIDS, schedule to be held in September 2014 in Samoa.
During panel discussions, presenters and delegates engaged in wide-ranging issues impacting island destinations such as competitiveness and sustainability perspectives, travel facilitation and risk management, the enhancement of the benefits of the industry, utilising those benefits to alleviate poverty and increase the quality of lives of the local communities, analyse under what conditions the link between tourism and poverty alleviation is likely to be strongest, amongst other things.
By: Lindsay Thompson