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Caribbean Tourism Sustainable Policy Framework

Posted in: Documents | 15 April 2005

The Caribbean Regional Sustainable Tourism Development Programme (CRSTDP)
The Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework is an output of the Caribbean Regional Sustainable Tourism Development Programme (CRSTDP);an intervention of the 8th European
Development Fund (EDF) implemented in the period 2005 to 2008.
The overall purpose of CRSTDP has been to foster the sustainability and competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism sector through the establishment of a sustainable development policy framework,  upplementing and strengthening of regional institutional capacities, development of skills and human resources, support to small operators through business development services, and strengthening the links among CARIFORUM/ CARICOM, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), national tourism/hotel associations and academic institutions.

The Caribbean States share key challenges on the path to achieving a sustainable economic growth in the future. The globalised economy has steadily eroded the trade preferences obtained in the past. This has lead countries to diversify their economies by opening new areas of economic activity, whilst at the same time implementing measures to improve the competitiveness of those economic sectors already in operation. As the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has pointed out, one of the defining developments of the last century has been the staggering incremental growth in travel and tourism, and the Caribbean has been well positioned to tap into that phenomenon, driving the process of economic diversification. Today tourism is one of the engines of economic growth in the region and a major employer. The need for the sustainable development of the tourism industry has long been recognised, enabling the right balance to be struck between realising the potential of the tourism industry to contribute to national economic development goals, without damaging the very resources that attracted the visitors in the first place. Bearing in mind the importance of the tourism sector for Caribbean countries, the complex inter-relationships between tourism and other areas of the national and regional economy, the impacts of tourism on destinations and the common identity of the region, the purpose of this Policy Framework is to put forward guidelines for the sustainable development of tourism in the Caribbean.

Development

The Policy Framework development process began with the hosting of two inter-sectoral policy planning workshops in 2005 (Barbados) and 2006 (St. Lucia). At these meetings, stakeholders met to discuss the concept and design of the Policy Framework. Six thematic areas were identified as being critical to the sustainability of Caribbean tourism: tourism management capacity, marketing, transportation, environment, linkages, and health, safety and security issues. CTO released the first draft in July 2007 for stakeholder review, and a period of consultation commenced culminating in the Sub-regional Policy Consultation for the South and East Caribbean in November 2007 (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and for the North and West Caribbean in January 2008 (Antigua and Barbuda). Based on the feedback and guidance provided by the stakeholders, a final draft Policy Framework was released by CTO in March 2008 for stakeholder review. The Policy Framework was ultimately finalised following further stakeholder feedback and guidance. In addition the development process has benefited from the work done within the other CRSTDP programme components as well as by the consultancies implemented within this component. Finally an in-depth review of the demand and supply aspects of Caribbean tourism was undertaken to inform the Policy Framework, the results of which are included in Annex 1 to this document. The Policy Framework consists of an overarching vision, ten guiding principles, and six integrated policies relating to the critical areas identified in the stakeholder consultations. Each policy is comprised of an overarching development goal and policy guidelines clustered into specific policy objectives.

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