Barbados continues to make solid progress toward achieving global standards in sustainable tourism.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Donna Cadogan, confirmed that in January 2016, the island commenced the second phase of the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA) initiative.
The SDAA partners include the Organization of American States (OAS), Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Central American Tourism Integration Secretariat (SITCA), Sustainable Travel International (STI), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), and the United States Government through the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.
Through this initiative, seven Caribbean and Latin American destinations are receiving assistance toward ensuring that their tourism sectors remain sustainable and internationally competitive.
Last May, local industry partners collaborated in the initial assessment phase to implement the Rapid Destination Diagnostic Tool, a signature programme of the STI. Then, Barbados??? performance was assessed against 80 internationally-recognised indicators for sustainable destination management.
Following the completion of this Rapid Destination Assessment, the island launched into the second phase, Action Planning, on January 19, when an Action Planning and Validation Workshop was held. Approximately 40 destination stakeholders representing public and private sector entities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) participated.
Chief of the Organization of American States??? Office of Tourism, Richard Campbell, spoke positively about their recent appraisal of Barbados, stating:?????[Its] evaluation highlighted areas of good practice and opportunities for improvement.
The destination is performing well in important areas such as energy management, tourism management, and coastal management. At the same time, critical areas to address include evaluation of visitor satisfaction, economic monitoring of tourism and solid waste management.???
In the coming months Barbados will enter phase three of the initiative. At that time, partners will be assisted in the utilisation of a Destination Monitoring System (DMS) to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of policies and resource allocation.
They will also identify, monitor and report on sustainability performance indicators, which are expected to lead to improved decision-making and management based on the data.
In this final phase, the focus will be on developing strategic marketing and communications plans to position the island as a leading provider of responsible travel experiences.