Haiti’s experience with the January 12 earthquake and the opportunities that the disaster presents will be a key area of focus at next month’s sustainable tourism conference here.

Tourism marketing expert, Jean Marc Flambert – a Haitian involved in the tourism industry in the UK – will present Haiti as a live case study during a presentation on how to turn challenges into opportunities to develop a world class, competitive tourism product.

Mr. Flambert, who led Sri Lanka’s post-tsunami marketing in the UK, will share the lessons learned from that experience and show how Haiti – and any other Caribbean country that experiences a disaster – can benefit from the goodwill that follows such disasters.

"I’ll be sharing the experiences of the crisis in Sri Lanka and how we addressed the problem and realized that we had to build back, but also realized that we had the opportunity to build back better, to build back greener," Mr. Flambert said of what is expected to be a thought-provoking session entitled, "Recovering from a Crisis – From Adversity to Sustainability – The Tsunami Experience."

"I’ll share the stages in that process that we went through and the things that we did well and the things we did not do so well and how we can learn from the process. It’s an opportunity," he added.

Mr. Flambert, director of the UK-based tourism marketing company, Your Tourism Partner, will form part of a panel of experts who will present on the second morning of the conference. The session, entitled, Sustaining a Quality Tourism Product, will highlight the challenges of destination recovery, marketing and image rebuilding to stimulate tourist arrivals in their aftermath of a natural disaster.

"Turning the challenges into opportunities and seeking out and creating new ones are critical discussion points for this session," said Gail Henry, the sustainable tourism product specialist at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), organiser of the 11th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-11).

The theme for this year’s conference – scheduled to take place at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Barbados from 9-12 May 2010 – is Keeping the Right Balance: Creating Opportunities Through a World Class Sustainable Tourism Product.

The conference is being organised by the CTO, in collaboration with the Barbados Ministry of Tourism.

For registration and other information, visit http://www.caribbeanstc.com/.

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