The United Nations General Assembly at its 70th Session proclaimed 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and nominated the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to facilitate its implementation.
As such, the UNWTO created a roadmap outlining the objectives and lines of action for all stakeholders globally.
As we know Tourism is one of the largest and growing socio-economic sectors and can stimulate economic growth, create job opportunities, address poverty and improve livelihoods. Therefore, the International Year aims to:
• Raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development
• Mobilise stakeholders in making the sector a catalyst for positive change
• Foster change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour in tourism
The International Year, then, seeks to explore and highlight Tourism’s role in five (5) areas.
Hence, each country has been asked to focus on activities that seek to promote and strengthen the role of Tourism in:
• Inclusive and sustainable Economic Growth
• Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction
• Resource efficiency, environmental protection and Climate Change
• Cultural values, diversity and heritage
• Mutual understanding, peace and security
With this being their focus, the UNWTO has established four (4) Lines of Actions which will determine the activities that countries should be undertaking.
1 Advocacy and Awareness-raising
2 Knowledge creation and dissemination
3 Policy Making
4 Capacity Building and Education
Antigua and Barbuda has therefore come up with several activities to mark the year with the hopes that we will have full support of all stakeholders.
Activities/Projects to be undertaken by Antigua/Barbuda:
In relation to Advocacy and Awareness-raising:
a We will be forming the Destination Stewardship Committee – This committee will act as a multi-sectoral advisory body to Antigua and Barbuda’s National Tourism Authority (The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Development, Energy and the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority). The primary function of the Committee would be to advise on and ensure the implementation of the destination sustainability projects which would involve assisting in finalizing the scope of work for sustainability projects, supporting fundraising efforts, leading project implementation and monitoring on-the-ground impacts of the projects.
b We have developed a comprehensive Public Relations Campaign where a Sustainability activity/event for Antigua and Barbuda is highlighted every month in all Marketing campaigns
c There is also a Local Sustainable Tourism Development Campaign that we will be rolling out among employees within the Ministry and locals – This will be done in the form of infomercials and documentaries to be aired on all stations as well as Workshops geared towards awareness-raising and creating advocacy
Knowledge creation and dissemination:
a We will be implementing the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Greater Caribbean (STZC) indicators for Barbuda and the Sustainable Destination Alliance of the Americas monitoring indicators for Antigua and Barbuda – Both are monitoring mechanisms which will enable us to better monitor the destination’s progress towards sustainability
b We will be sharing best practices among stakeholders to assist them on their road to sustainability
a We will be looking more closely at the Policies and Strategies that are in existence ensuring that specific programmes related to Sustainable Tourism are an integral part of the action strategies
b We will also be encouraging adherence of Tourism operators to sustainability certification schemes
Capacity Building and Education:
a There will be several training sessions related to Sustainable Tourism development and operations as it relates to each Sector operating within or affected by the Industry. •