The 8th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development opened in Puerto Rico on Tuesday evening with a call for Caribbean states to re-evaluate the manner in which they measure standard of living.
Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, said that there was ‘a central myth’ that Gross Domestic Product is the best way to measure a people’s standard of living, said a CTO press release.
The Caribbean must eradicate this myth in order for its people to embrace sustainable development, the secretary general said.
‘The same way we have come to recognize in tourism that head count does not measure success, many people are now coming to understand that G.D.P per capita is not a complete measure of people’s standard of living,’ Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace told delegates gathered at the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan.
‘In many cases, when people talk about places with a high per capita standard of living, they are very much the same societies where there is very much a high standard of killing – killing of the environment, killing of natural resources and killing of cultures,’ he said.
Making reference to a quote from the famous German physicist, Albert Einstein, the CTO secretary general warned the Caribbean about the dangers of placing too much importance on things that can be counted while dismissing those that can’t.
‘There is a great tendency in the Caribbean to inflate the value of those things that can be easily counted and deflate or dismiss the value of those things that cannot be easily counted,’ he said. ‘As far as the Caribbean is concerned, sustainable development is the most important thing that counts that cannot be easily counted.’