Barbados has been recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for its commitment to sustainable tourism.
Secretary General of the UNWTO Taleb Rifai presented an open letter to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on the sidelines of the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) which wrapped up at the Hilton Barbados Resort last evening.
Rifai stated that while the tourism sector has been a major transformative force in the world, it is still very under-utilised and under-recognised in many parts of the world.
“In each and every meeting with the presidents and prime ministers there was a session on awareness building and facts-finding. I find myself here in a very special situation, because usually what we do is try to make it clear to the heads of states and heads of governments, how important tourism is.
“Prime Minister today, we don’t have to do that. You will have to teach us; you’re more knowledgeable, you’re more a believer in this than we are,” Rifai said.
Prime Minister Stuart noted that the presentation is testimony to the fact that there is worldwide recognition of the importance of an alliance between the WNWTO, the WTTC and global governance.
“The WTTC represents a unifying force among the major players in the travel and tourism industry. This promotes public and private sector partnerships, and awareness of travel and tourism as a top priority of governmental agendas.
“As far as governments are concerned, we must establish and facilitate effective regulations and mechanisms to encourage private sector-led investment, and the adaptation of technological and innovative solutions. This would assist in developing the tourism industry and ultimately in developing our economies,” Stuart said.
The Open letter initiative was started in 2011 to highlight the importance of the industry. Since then it has been presented to 82 heads of governments and heads of state around the world, including the Caribbean countries of the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. (MCW)