A program to help in the technological transformation of tourist destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America has been launched by the Inter-American Development Bank, (IDB).
The Future Tourism Program which is funded by the General Cooperation Fund of Spain, is expected to be a key tool for the recovery and competitiveness of tourism in the region.
The IDB says the Future Tourism Program opens a regional call, inviting tourist destinations to benefit from a diagnosis of their level of technological maturity, to develop a detailed action plan and pre-investment agreement with public and private sector stakeholders.
Data released by the World Travel and Tourism Council show that Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions where the tourism sector has had the greatest expansion, generating 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and nine per cent of employment in 2019.
But the IDB said the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the sector notably, producing a 50 per cent contraction of regional tourism GDP in 2020.
The Washington-based financial institution said in this context, the revitalization of regional tourism is articulated as an essential step towards the recovery, and adoption of new technologies as the necessary engine of this process.
The organization also notes that the Sustainable Development Goals consider new technologies as a basic element towards inclusion, sustainability, competitiveness, and economic development.
Caribbean countries invited to submit proposals by March 30
The IDB says all of its 26 member countries, including those in the Caribbean, namely, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago are being invited to submit proposals before March 30.
From the proposals received it will select 10 destinations that meet a number of requirements.
It said the criteria would also include, the type of eligible destinations taking into account consolidated destinations, not belonging to more than two municipalities, excluding national or regional circuits. The IDB said applicant destinations may be urban, coastal or nature destinations.
“This initiative is aligned with the IDB’s Vision 2025 – Reinvesting in the Americas: A Decade of Opportunities to achieve sustainable recovery and inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean,” it added.