Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 06, 2016 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Tourism has sharpened focus on the development of sustainable tourism which has the objective of preserving the culture and heritage in relation to the environment, while giving consideration to socio-economic issues.
This is according to Diannille Taylor-Williams, Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, who was one of the guests from her ministry on the government programme “Working for you.”
She further noted that oftentimes sustainable tourism is used interchangeably with eco-tourism which is inaccurate. Instead, she reiterated, it is that balance between the environment and social issues that positively impacts locals. She said the creation of jobs and other benefits were to be done in a measured way so as not to destroy an eco-system.
“How do we get our people to start thinking that you might have done this thing this way traditionally, but here’s an alternative way of doing it,” Mrs. Taylor-Williams said.
She informed that the Ministry of Tourism was addressing this matter in a targeted manner.
“We have created a group from the Ministry of Tourism – we call it the Inter-agency Sustainable Destination Management Council,” Mrs. Taylor-Williams said, noting that it was decided not to call it the Inter-agency Sustainable Tourism Council because it needs to be more specific. “We want to manage our destination in a sustainable way. So that when our local residents benefit, visitors can also benefit.”
The council consists of persons from different agencies, encompassing the public and private sectors as well as Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs.) The function of the group is to advise the Ministry of Tourism on relevant issues. As explained by Mrs. Taylor-Williams, “they understand the issues we’re dealing with and they act as our champions in those other areas.”
“The Ministry of Tourism is small, we can’t be everywhere – but we can be everywhere at the same time by providing the awareness, being involved with the community, and getting people to understand that what we have now, we want to preserve it for future generations. And the only way we can do that is by taking action now, and doing it right the first time, so we don’t have to pay later on.”
To this end, the ministry undertook training sessions in Sustainable Tourism for a wide cross-section of agencies including several located in Nevis as well as training in Sustainable Tourism Communication for both public and private sector representatives. The Tourism Assistant Secretary emphasized that it is very important that the destination’s story is told and that positive things that are done are marketed.