CLIMATE CHANGE PRIORITY FOR TOURISM SECTOR

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A safe and secure environment for residents and visitors to Barbados is a prerequisite for the sustainability of this island’s tourism industry and the economy as a whole.

This is the view of Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, who was speaking this morning at the Fourth Annual Multi-Hazard Disaster Management Symposium on “Tourism in Barbados – Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change”, at the Sherbourne Conference Centre.

He told the gathering that safety and security is one of the three brand elements on which Barbados trades in the market place. “Given the significance of the tourism industry to this country’s economy and the ever expanding visitor population, the Government of Barbados is committed to the creation and the implementation of a sustainable tourism development programme that fosters a safe and secure environment”, said the Tourism Minister.

Stressing that climate is a key resource for Tourism, Mr. Sealy pointed out that the sector (tourism) was highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and global warming, since, he added, many of these elements were already being felt.

The increasing episodes of bleaching and death of coral reefs, declining crop yields, greater hurricane intensity and decreased water availability were some of the ways that a Small Island Developing State, such as Barbados, would be affected due to climate change.

“We need to become advocates for climate change.  It should not be seen as just a challenge; it should also be seen as an opportunity for Barbados and the wider Caribbean to develop new tourism products and services to meet the needs of our visitors, and maybe, attract visitors from new markets”, he underscored.

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