Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy????

Barbados’ hosting of the 11th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, here in May, is being seen as a critical response to challenges faced by the global economic crisis.

This was intimated today by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as he addressed a press conference, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, on the May 9 – 12 conference.

While pointing out that tourism was deemed as the one economic sector capable of arresting the economic situation, Mr. Sealy said: "… if tourism is to lead the economies of Barbados and the region on the path to recovery, a forum such as this CTO Sustainable Tourism Conference must be convened, where we as tourism policy makers and practitioners can discuss the strategies and measures required to chart this recovery path."

Acknowledging that the solution to this challenge could not be found by Barbados or any one country alone, but collectively as a region, Mr. Sealy stated that a similar strategy had been employed in 1994. This, he recalled, was when Barbados and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) sought to identify solutions to address the challenges which they faced through the United Nations Small Islands Developing States Conference.

??He explained: "As a result of this conference, the Barbados Programme of Action was developed and it outlined specific actions and measures that should be taken at the national, regional, and international levels, in support of sustainable development. To this day, this document continues to be referred to and is very much in use.

"The same attitude with which the sector’s players have approached these aforementioned challenges to the industry’s existence must be employed in the face of the ongoing challenges, most notably the global economic crisis."

The 11th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development or STC-11, which is being held in Barbados for the first time, is expected to attract approximately 150 regional and international delegates.

A collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), it represents part of the information dissemination and regional awareness component of the CTO’s strategy for sustainable tourism.

It will examine how member states can design and implement sustainable tourism policies and programmes, while offering a forum for information exchange on the successes and pitfalls at the national, regional and international levels.

The theme of this year’s conference is "Keeping the Right Balance: Creating Opportunities through a World Class Sustainable Tourism Product". ??According to the Tourism Minister this is a philosophy which Barbados has adopted and is committed to pursuing as articulated in the Green Paper on Sustainable Tourism Development – A Policy Framework.

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