KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) says it is embarking on a new programme to promote sustainable and regenerative tourism development and to strengthen regional integration and regional cooperation through tourism.
In a statement last Thursday, CAF announced that it is placing emphasis on a new portfolio of services linked to tourism and adopting an approach that focuses on the sustainable development and resilience of the sector.
“While tourism contributes to a large portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Caribbean economies, the industry is highly sensitive to climate change and the impacts of extreme weather events. It can, at the same time, be a contributor to some of the negative effects on the environment, if not properly managed,” CAF said.
During the Global Tourism Resilience Conference, which was held February 15-17 in Kingston, CAF’s regional director for the Caribbean, Dr Stacy Richards-Kennedy, asserted that “placing the spotlight on resilience as a pivotal aspect of tourism is essential for sustainable tourism development and this will require increased investment. CAF is committed to serving as the Green Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Bank that will help to drive the reactivation of economies across the region.”
CAF, which recently opened its Regional Office for the Caribbean in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, added that it is ready to support its member countries and other Caricom member states in achieving their sustainable development goals.
Through its Regional Office for the Caribbean, CAF said it is increasing support for a new form of tourism in Caricom countries that will play a vital role in protecting the environment and local culture. These, according to CAF, are essential for tourism activity since it is an industry that is vulnerable to the effects of external and internal shocks such as economic, health, social, political and climate crises.
The strategies to attain this include strengthening tourism as a key sector to improve living conditions in tourism destinations, generating economic and employment opportunities and serving as a catalyst for enhancing cultural heritage and the environment, CAF stated.
“Our member countries proudly recognise CAF as being very agile, client-focused and flexible in our approaches to work and in supporting their development priorities. We are excited to promote greater regional cooperation within the Caribbean and also between Latin America and the Caribbean while contributing to advancing sustainable, resilient and regenerative tourism approaches,” Dr Richards-Kennedy said.
Photo: Dr. Stacy Richards-Kennedy