The Bahamas tourism product will be strengthened through an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) tie-up with European and regional experts to develop certification systems that bolster sustainable practices.
The technical co-operation between the IDB, Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and the Ministry of Tourism has hired a group of specialists from Europe and the Caribbean to analyse, recommend and develop an implementation plan for sustainable tourism certification schemes in the Bahamas.
For decades, tourists have flocked to The Bahamas for the islands beautiful natural attractions and rich cultural heritage, said project lead, Rachel McCaffery, of Green Case Consulting. This plan will aim to cultivate local expertise to preserve that beauty for generations to come.
The project, which is expected to last until January 2022, will research and analyse certification systems relevant to the tourism sector in The Bahamas before recommending the most suitable certification scheme or schemes. A strategic and operational implementation plan will then be developed and validated with Bahamian stakeholders.
This technical co-operation represents a strong commitment to achieving measurable impact in the tourism industry of The Bahamas, said the IDBs Bahamas country representative, Daniela Carrera-Marquis. Tourism is the driving force of the Bahamian economy, and has registered unprecedented challenges in the last several years following Hurricane Dorian and the global pandemic.
The long-term consequences of these experiences are still unfolding, but through our Vision 2025 strategy, the IDB is committed to supporting our member countries during the recovery process. This project will build capacity in the countrys tourism industry, and foster a sustainable and inclusive recovery that maximises the efforts of the Government in The Bahamas and around the region.
Managed by the IDBs Juliana Bettini, with TDC chief executive/executive director, Janet Johnson, acting as co-ordinator, the team of sustainable tourism specialists includes Sea Going Green, a Dutch sustainable marine tourism consultancy; Green Case Consulting; a UK-based sustainable tourism specialist; Oceanic Global, a US-based non-profit and sustainability verification programme, and climate change experts JF Clarke Consulting from Barbados. Involved in project delivery are three highly experienced Bahamian sustainable tourism practitioners, Rashema Ingraham, Kendria Ferguson and Dr Jennifer Edwards.
The project aims to produce a certification programme that:
Increases the resiliency and sustainability of The Bahamas as a tourism destination.
Enhances the state of the natural environment.
Improves destination competitiveness.
Ensures that revenue from tourism reaches a greater proportion of Bahamian communities.
Positions The Bahamas as a climate-resilient destination by implementing climate risk management policies and implementation frameworks.
Certifications indicate that the business is registered with the TDC and has met the quality assurance standards necessary for the hospitality business, said Ms Johnson. Obtaining certifications for your business puts you on the cutting edge and encourages larger conglomerates to engage your services, such as cruise ships and hotels.
It is the mandate of the TDC to raise the standards of all tourism-related businesses in the islands of The Bahamas. And so, this collaboration with the IDB and all of the other experts involved will act as a springboard for the development of sustainable tourism businesses with implementation of global best practices.
Amid increasing worldwide climate change impacts, sustainable tourism has become crucial in preserving profitable coastlines and ecosystems. Certifications are considered an vital way to get an industry or destination on the same page. Certification schemes have the potential to level the playing field, ensuring that every operator is adhering to the same standards and requirements.
Once finalised, the plan will be presented via webinars to interested parties around The Bahamas.
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