In St. Kitts, sustainable tourism is way forward
Basseterre, St. Kitts – “Sustainable tourism is an industry committed to making a positive impact on the environment, society, culture and the economy, by residents and visitors alike, so that future generations would not be negatively compromised.” That’s the paradigm the Ministry of Tourism has implemented as it currently works on employing best practices to ensure the success and sustainability of the tourism industry on the island.
On the government’s weekly radio/television programme “Working for You” Aug. 23, representatives from the Ministry of Tourism spoke about the ministry’s initiatives to promote sustainable tourism in St. Kitts and Nevis, including the hosting of the upcoming Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum Sept.6-08 in St. Kitts.
Several renowned experts in sustainable tourism and climate change will present at the forum, including Dr. Halla Sahely, environmental consultant and CWWA representative; Diannille Taylor-Williams, assistant secretary in the Ministry of Tourism; Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization; Kimberly Connaghan, VP, Global Travel Partnerships, National Geographic; and keynote speaker, Andrew McCarthy, who is a director, award-winning travel writer and editor-at-large, National Geographic.
Taylor-Williams noted that the forum will be an invaluable experience for various tourism stakeholders, including students and local small business owners.
“We are encouraging all tourism stakeholders to be involved,” she said. “In a small economy such as ours, everybody is a tourism stakeholder.”
She also spoke about the importance of best practices in tourism and noted that the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis can have a lasting economic driver in the area of tourism by protecting the environment and keeping “our” home clean. She noted that the idea surrounding sustainable tourism is creating year-round attractions to bring different types of visitors to the island, which includes diversifying the tourism product. She also mentioned that medical tourism is a growing area of focus for the ministry.
Taylor-Williams spoke about the ministry’s efforts to limit the slow seasons in the tourism industry with the hosting of events such as Music Festival and Restaurant Week. These events have been successful not only in promoting local, regional and international talent, but in creating jobs and increasing profits for local businesses in an otherwise slow period.
She explained that the Ministry of Tourism is employing sustainable development goals to ensure that the industry continues to thrive. “Tourism is seen as an economic driver, so we have to be mindful of these sustainable development goals,” she stated.