After yesterday’s (Tues 17 April) study tours, the 13th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (STC-13) was back in session at the Guyana International Conference Centre for its final day on Wednesday, beginning with a plenary on the benefits of investing in greenenergy projects.
The CTO partnered with Invest Caribbean Now, a brand founded by Felicia Persaud, the Guyana-born CEO of the New York-based digital media company, Hard Beat Communications, to present the inaugural green forum.
At Wednesday’s forum, Persaud urged delegates to look at the economic prospects of green energy and renewables and what this can mean for the region.
“Guyana and the Caribbean are filled with an abundance of sunshine, wind, water and other natural resources,” she said.
“Let us be very clear that investing in clear energy is not just environmentally responsible but good business because no region offers long term prospects in growth for renewable energy than the Caribbean.”
One of the presenters at the forum – Tony Fiddy, the President of Waste to Energy Division and the Regional Vice President for Europe and Africa, Naanovo Energy Inc. – said the Caribbean represented a huge potential for renewable energy projects, primarily because of the ideal climatic conditions which exist for solar, wind and biomass power production.
Guyana president’s has his say on sustainable tourism
Guyana has reaffirmed its commitment to environmentally sound policies as it aims to improve its tourism and hospitality sector. President Donald Romator, citing the countries’ vulnerabilities to rising sea levels and unpredictable weather patterns, said that was in the interest of Guyana and the Caribbean to support such policies.
Speaking at a reception for delegates and media attending the 13th Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-13), the president noted that Guyana was focusing on community – based tourism by supporting measures that strengthened and expanded community involvement in the development of the tourism product.
He applauded the Caribbean Tourism Organization for hosting the conference, which he said “afford all of us the opportunity to reflect on how regional tourism can rebound after the deleterious effects of the global crisis which led to the slowdown in the industry.”
Governments and stakeholders, he suggested, must create linkages and synergies in order to boost regional tourism efforts. He also urged those attending to implement the recommendations from the conference for sustainable tourism development.
SG: Caribbean can lead on climate change
The Caribbean region can lead the world in demonstrating how to reduce carbon footprint, on the way to creating a carbon neutral environment, the CTO secretary general, Hugh Riley has said. Mr. Riley said that the CTO was aware of the work by member countries to increase visitor arrivals, but that “the more we do to build our tourism numbers the harder we must work to mitigate the effects of those larger numbers.”
He contended that while the developed countries search for new ways to tax the region whenever their planes come to the Caribbean, “we can in fact counter with evidence to show that we are not only among the lowest emitters of harmful gases on the planet, but that we are a carbon-neutral example for the world to follow.”
“Reducing carbon footprint doesn’t mean stopping the planes from flying here. What it does mean is finding creative ways to engage in responsible tourism,” he said.
Youth get a voice at STC
The CTO considers the youth critical partners in sustainable tourism development and their involvement in STC is a demonstation of CTO’s commitment to the region’s youth. Nina Durham of four bgb, CTO’s public relations representative in the UK, attended the youth session entitled, The Role of the Youth in Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change for Sustainable Tourism Development. Here’s her report.
The Youth Session at the 13th CTO Sustainable Tourism Conference in Guyana offered the chance to see the world sustainably from the eyes of our youth, our “leaders of tomorrow” as host, Tumeca Sukdeo-Singh so aptly put it at the start of the session.
20 year old Asha Jones, from the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) in Barbados gave a solid presentation on how youth organizations like CYEN are really giving young people in the Caribbean a chance to have their say. Members of CYEN have had the chance to get involved with numerous projects, including youth leader training workshops across the region, the development of a fantastic resource website,www.cyen.org/climatechange, which features a carbon footprint calculator and steps to carry out an energy audit in your home.
Renee Spencer, a local student from the University of Guyana told of how hands-on projects were allowing students to take an active role in research at the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. Youth participation in river and road monitoring, as well as garbage collection projects had allowed Renee and her classmates to really understand the importance of the work being carried out at Iwokrama.
Finally, the session saw an inspired presentation from Morgan Opramolla and Laura McLoughlin, students at the University of New Haven who first got involved with the CTO during Caribbean Week in New York. The pair carried out a University project to design the sustainable hotel of the future and Pandora’s Resort & Spa was the product of their work. Located in Montserrat for its tropical landscape, diverse culture, rainforest, coral reefs and beaches, the hotel would be designed with sustainable materials, such as bamboo flooring, EcoComfort mattresses and EnergyStar bulbs to reduce energy costs by 10%.
The importance of education has been a recurring theme throughout STC-13, with many talks pointing towards a need to focus on educating the youth about sustainability and the issues around it. This lively session was the perfect example of the kind of projects required to get young people thinking on their feet and inspire them to provide for the current generation while holding something back for future generations.