Cayman aims for sustainable tourism

| 30/05/2015 | 1 Comment

(CNS Business): Tourism stakeholders in the Cayman Islands said they are committed to adopting best practices in sustainable tourism for the country, and announced on Friday the islands will undergo a destination sustainability assessment by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Cayman will be the 15th country in the world to participate in the GSTC assessment and 3rd in the Caribbean. 

Starting now through 8 June, a GSTC destination expert will analyse the Cayman Islands’ policies and practices and decide what needs to be strengthened, added or disregarded to move the island forward, officials explained. Leaders from the tourism, agriculture, investment, environment departments and more met on Friday for an introduction of the assessment.

“The Global Sustainable Tourism Council in the international standard setting body for the sustainability of tourism worldwide,” GSTC Destinations Program Director Kathleen Pessolano stated. She said tourism leaders in Cayman approached GSTC asking “to undergo an assessment of their policies and practices to understand where they are now with respect to sustainable development so they can chart a path forward, and understand how to improve in order to safeguard their destination as a top quality place to visit and live for years to come.”

The push towards sustainable tourism in the islands has grown in importance with the recent increase in tourism numbers, significant new infrastructure under development, including five-star resorts, luxury residential properties and more.

“The Cayman Islands, like many destinations around the world particularly in the Caribbean, is at a critical juncture of development. There has been a huge growth over the last several years, especially in the last five and it’s really time to intervene and plan strategically for what the destination is going to look like not next year, not in five years but for the long-term because otherwise it’s too late,” Pessolano explained.

However, the GSTC Destinations Program Director also stressed sustainable development of destination involves much more than just the tourism sector and that it would require collaboration from stakeholders from both the public and private sector, as well as across all major industries.

“It’s not enough just to bring the tourism sector together. It requires collaboration and commitment, ongoing from everyone in the destination because tourism is such a valuable economic driver here,” Pessolano said.

CNS Business

Welcome sign, Grand Cayman

Over the next 12 days she will meet with these leaders, as well as visit both Sister Islands, to learn the strengths and weakness of Cayman as a tourism destination.

“I have to look at the policies and practices for the destination along 105 indicators to understand the implementation of the policies to see where are the current best practices versus areas of risk and attention. For example if there are policies on the books and they’re not well enforced at the moment,” she explained.

In order to achieve this, Pessolano told CNS Business, it’s a permanent work in progress that requires strong political leadership and an active involvement and participation.

“Substinablity is not something a destination just achieves, it’s never finished. This is about putting into place the policies and practices that will need to be implemented on an ongoing basis for forever and improved upon,” she said.

The GSTC Destinations Program Director added the results of this assessment will not be made public,  however tourism leaders will have access to the results and can share them as they see fit. After the findings are presented to tourism leaders, a process will be set in motion to start implementing the GSTC recommendations.


Category: Featured, Sustainable Tourism, Tourism, Video

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Well they can start this ‘commitment’ by canning the cruise dock plans and re-instating the old building height restrictions.

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