The Organisation of American States attaches great importance to sustainable tourism for its role in transforming lives and communities and linking key productive sectors in the economy.

That orgaisation???s Deputy Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, made this observation as he addressed scores of delegates attending the just-concluded 22nd Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-level Authorities on Tourism at Hilton Barbados.

Ambassador Ramdin said the sector has had, and continues to have, an important role as a driver of economic activity, and as a ???catalyst for achieving other strategic development objectives???.

???I applaud the theme that the Barbados authorities have chosen: Tourism Competitiveness ??? An essential Element for Sustainability. It will give delegates the chance to discuss how their countries can respond to the challenges and opportunities of competitiveness, including the value of being able to measure competitiveness; the importance of tourism infrastructure; maximising tourism???s synergies and inter-sectoral linkages; and critical elements of destination management,??? he underlined.

Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy, mentioned the importance of sustainable tourism within the context of tourism competitiveness.

???For Barbados, as for all Small Island Developing States which are heavily tourism-dependent, tourism competitiveness remains a critical issue and the detriments of it must be harnessed and optimised if these destinations are to be classified as sustainable in an intensely competitive global sector,??? he stated.

The two-day meeting was held at Hilton Barbados from September 3 to 4.

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