Another Caribbean island has signed up to a special scheme that measures the impact of the tourism industry.
Barbados Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner commented at a meeting of various bodies that the Tourism Satellite Account was the universally recognised conceptual framework developed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization for measuring the direct contribution of the tourism sector to the economy.
“We are also constantly reminded of the importance of Tourism to the Caribbean in general and Barbados in particular,” she said.
“In addition, the Barbados government appreciates the need to develop and enhance our tourism databases to better inform its decision making. We all have a critical role to play in making sure that tourism growth in Barbados is balanced and sustainable for future generations.”
Initiatives such as this provided a platform for obtaining more timely, valuable and accurate data for strategic planning, she added. In particular, the Tourism Satellite Account had now become one of the most sought after information systems used by tourism planners, investors and other tourism stakeholders globally.
“Therefore, when the Caribbean Tourism Organisation approached the Ministry of Tourism inviting Barbados to join with the Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the Regional Tourism Satellite Account Implementation Initiative funded by a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank we did not hesitate to sign on,” said the senator.
“The participation of regional and international organisations such as Caribbean Development Bank, East Caribbean Central Bank, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, the University of the West Indies, Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre, CARICOM, Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations World Tourism Organization represented [at a special conference] is testimony of the seriousness with which we all are prepared to tackle the underlying challenges to consolidating our tourism information systems and improving standards in a coordinated way.
“We are committed to working along with our Caribbean partners and colleagues in a spirit of cooperation to establish a unified and sustainable Tourism Satellite Account system not only within our four pilot countries but one that can be eventually adopted throughout this entire region to which we all belong,” she added.
Ms. Stanford-Gardner made the comments at a special meeting which took place at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s offices in St. Michael, Barbados. It was attended by representatives of regional and international organisations, senior government officials from Barbados and the Caribbean region and senior members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the diagnosis and way forward in preparation and maintenance of a well-coordinated system of the accounts in the Caribbean. The meeting will focus on the preliminary findings of the diagnostic assessment and prescriptive work done by consultant Maureen Blokland.
At the conclusion of the meeting it was expected that participating countries, supporting agencies and stakeholders would have clarified their role, determined their position, and agreed a united way forward in the development of the system region-wide using the UNWTO recommended framework.