Sustainable tourism discussed

Helping people make better lives for themselves

The ins and outs of sustainable
tourism have been discussed by Caribbean tourism leaders at a conference in
Jamaica for the past four days.

CMEX – the Caribbean Media Exchange
– began in Kingston on Thursday through Monday, 4 October. The long-running conference
brings together Caribbean, North American and European representatives from the
hospitality, civil society and government sectors plus media from throughout
the region.

This year’s theme is Tourism:
Linkages for Growth and explores the impact of tourism on economic development
plus its relationship with other sectors including manufacturing, agriculture
and enterprise.

Panellists at the 19th annual CMEX
include Noel Brown, a former director of the United Nations Environment
Programme and Nigel Harris, vice-chancellor of the University of the West
Indies.

“Noel Brown is so widely respected
and awarded on the global stage it is an honour for us to return him to his own
country to lead our talks, which we hope will help Jamaica and the Caribbean
identify options for harnessing tourism to help the region’s people build
better lives for themselves,” CMEx Vice President, Lelei LeLaulu told
reporters.

Education priority

High on the list of priorities is
the discussion of tourism education, both in terms of how it is linked to other
sectors and academic subjects as well as whether the industry is being afforded
academic respect, explained the vice president.

“Tourism education is key to
reminding decision makers of the real economic value of the industry and its
importance in informing the general populace how the industry directly benefits
communities.

“Universities should be graduating
thought leaders for the region’s most important industry as well as educating
students about climate change, voluntourism, in addition to destination
management and marketing. But first we must teach tourism at the primary school
level so that the best and brightest of our youth select tourism as their
first, and not last, resort for a career,” said Mr. LeLaulu.

The conference comes at the end of
Tourism Week 2010, the theme of which was Biodiversity and Tourism.

Another conference takes place in
Jamaica the following week. Montego Bay will host the inaugural Caribbean
Meeting and Incentive Travel Exchange from 7 to 10 October, an invitation-only
event that brings together suppliers and buyers in the group and conference
travel market.

Emissions management

Meanwhile, The International Air
Transportation Association has called on governments to reach a consensus on a
global management of the aviation industry’s emissions. Speaking at the
Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Giovanni Bisignani
highlighted key elements that he said could help. They were place and process,
accommodating developing nations and facilitating growth in the industry as
well as reducing emissions.

“The biggest challenge for this
Assembly is to reach an agreement on a global solution to manage emissions from
international aviation. A united aviation industry of airlines, airports, air
navigation service providers, manufacturers and general aviation has made ambitious
commitments to cap and eventually cut its emissions. To be successful,
governments must endorse these commitments in a globally agreed framework,”
said the director-general of the air association.

He added that $3.5 trillion in
economic activity is dependent on the aviation industry, plus 32 million people
worldwide. Should agreement not be achieved, it would lead to fragmentation,
strained relations between territories and a patchwork of uncoordinated
taxation. The planned inclusion of aviation into the European emissions trading
scheme in 2012 has helped to focus governments on the urgency of a global
solution, said Mr. Bisignani.

The airline industry’s three
targets are a 1.5 per cent average annual improvement in fuel efficiency up to
2020, capping net emissions with carbon-neutral growth from 2020 and cutting
emissions in half by 2050, as compared to 2005.

“Major blockers are being removed.
The industry is ready. And most governments agree that a global framework is
needed. There are still some hurdles to overcome, but we are moving in the right
direction,” Mr. Bisignani added.

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