“In order to achieve sustainable tourism and poverty alleviation we must each adopt development strategies that are sustainably best and Guyana is a land that is leading by example”, said Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Rickford Skerritt as he presented the feature address at the opening of the conference held last evening at the Guyana International Con-vention Centre, Liliendaal.
Held under the theme ‘Keeping the Right Balance: Sustaining our Resources’ organizers are hoping that from Guyana’s sustainable tourism blue print the world will recognize that each person has a role to play towards a greener earth.
“Guyana has emerged as a leader on the global stage to reduce carbon emissions… Guyana’s decision to better manage its vast forest resources and to be responsible in its development strategy is attracting more and more attention from the world of travel and tourism, especially the adventure tourism markets,” said Skerritt as he used the example of the Low Carbon Development Strategy to highlight a country that did not yield to global economic pressure.
He said “Guyana could have easily succumbed to the temptation to expand extraction of lumber and other resources of its vast rain forests for economic gains …recognizing the longtime environmental impact of deforestation Guyana even with the scary storm clouds and recession still hovering over the region … stood its ground.” He urged participants to take full advantage of the numerous educational and business opportunities that the conference presents while stressing that they should realize that it’s only through their individual participation that the sustainable tourism goal could be achieved.
“The healthiness and attractiveness of our forests, coastal zones and marine eco-systems are major assets in our quest for economic wealth. Let us, therefore, do whatever is necessary to protect and to manage these same assets” he urged.
Minister of Tourism, Irfaan Ali reiterated that Guyana was well-placed to take advantage of opportunities for the tourism sector while at the same time pushing the need for a sustainable tourism industry.
Adding to this he opined that it was best if CTO members work together to embark on a master tourism marketing strategy since with tourism being the major revenue earner for the Caribbean they could not individually compete with the rest of the world. “Our hope and recommendation would be that we utilize our time and energies to move towards an integrated marketing plan for the entire region,” Ali said.
Over 150 international and regional participants from over 35 countries are here for the conference. Just over 45 locals are also participating. The conference continues today and will end on Wednesday.