This week we asked the delegates at the 13th Annual Caribbean Tourism Organization Conference their thoughts on the presentations.
Ian Herman- Marketing Manager- Special Markets of Saint Lucia Tourist Board
`The conference has been a very good one. First of all, this has been my second attendance to the conference, I’ve been to one in Bermuda and of course the extracts and the experiences in Bermuda have been well demonstrated in Guyana, in that a number of the subject areas that were requested have been covered, especially with the youth forums to get an understanding of how they view sustainable tourism and climate change and of course to share their ideas on a way forward. I think for the Caribbean, we learnt that in some of the metropolitan countries there is not even a grouping of young people to look at these issues so coming out of this conference for me has been a lot of understanding of what is going on in the Caribbean. This experience in Guyana has been tremendous. I’m not sure who is hosting next year but they have a lot to catch up with.’
Dr. Auliana Poon- Managing Director of Tourism Intelligence International (Trinidad)
`I think it is extremely important that the Caribbean is getting together as a unit to think of the issues of sustainable tourism development because it’s a big problem, it’s a world problem and we can’t solve it individually with each one of us working by ourselves. I think it is also extremely important that we learn from each other’s experiences. When we leave this conference, we in all of our different areas are implementing sustainable tourism so when we come together let’s share that knowledge, share that information and I think we all would be better as a result of it. We really need to start putting the ‘C’ in ‘PPP’. Everyone talks of public-private partnership, we need to start working on public-private community partnerships and we need to recognize the community as an important stakeholder in this process.’
Dr. Maya A. Trotz, PhD. Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at University of South Florida
`I personally thought that the conference was really good, in terms of the sessions that were organized and the topics that persons spoke about. They were topics that are needed in the region and there was a lot of energy and excitement about things that we can do. We recognize that tourism is really important, that sustainability, in terms of making the tourism product a sustainable tourism product, like looking at environmental impact, social impact and economic impact and we really need to consider all of those. The communities
play an integral role and should be included in designing, planning, implementing and everything that we do. The community is not just where something is located but it means the training of young people and others to actually develop sustainable tourism.’
Ralph Higgs- Director of Tourism in Turks and Caicos Islands
`I thought that the conference was very exciting and we are very encouraged about the prospects of Guyana’s tourism led by eco-tourism. We think that Guyana’s future in eco-tourism is promising and we like the steps that have been taken by the various NGOs here in Guyana to promote, reserve and protect the rainforests and indigenous communities. I think Guyana is setting on the right path. I went on a few of the tours and it was very exciting but a huge country though. I understand that the new road works that have been put in place will make some of these sites more accessible which will certainly increase visits to these sites and by extension, increase economic activities in and around these sites that will benefit the broader economy of Guyana.’
Tony Fiddy- President of the Waste to Energy Division, United Kingdom
`After flying half way around the world to get here, I think the conference was very, very good. I found it very useful, good for networking, good media cover and persons did a fantastic job in putting it together. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to go on any of the tours that were provided but I’ve heard good things.’
Jessica Hatfield- Executive Director and Co-Founder of Clenergen Corporation/ CEO of Clenergen Guyana Inc.
`I think the conference was very important for Guyana. This whole conference has been focused on what Guyana has got to offer the international tourists and it has been very exciting for the people of Guyana that attended and so the response to Guyana from the international businesses has absolutely and truly been charming and they have been delighted to be here. Now I’ve had some very good comments from people that have been here and the way that it has been organized and the way that they have been exposed to parts of Guyana, they wouldn’t have had access to it. They probably won’t have had premeditated thoughts about Guyana. They are now going away with a very clear view of Guyana and what Guyana has to offer. Sure, it’s not sun, sea and sand but that has been done to death. What Guyana has got to offer is much more than that and that’s what happened at this conference, people are now aware of that.’