Antigua and Barbuda will implement a new tourism action agenda, following consultation with more than fifty tourism stakeholders, in the private and government sector.
The action plan will focus on three destination stewardship initiatives: the development of a sustainable tourism strategy, new community-based cultural tourism products, and the mapping of cultural heritage sites.
Stakeholders developed the action plan in August during a sustainable destination assessment workshop coordinated by the Ministry of Tourism, The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority and conducted under the banner of the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA), supported through funding from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Ocean Fund.
“Based on the assessment, Antigua and Barbuda is performing well as it relates to its prioritization of Sustainable Tourism”, said Antigua and Barbuda Minister of Tourism, The Honourable Asot Michael.
“However, the findings did indicate that there are some critical areas we need to address to include: the need to establish quality and sustainability standards for key sectors of the industry, improving visitor management planning and monitoring and coastal zone management.”
The new action projects were selected based on their potential to increase the long-term viability and positive impacts of tourism in the destination.
A dedicated Sustainable Tourism department in the Ministry of Tourism is working along with technical working groups, comprised of stakeholders, to bring the three key initiatives to fruition, with a goal of producing tangible results within the next 12 months.
The Tourism Minister said, “We are confident that we can further improve the way we manage tourism - our most critical sector – to ensure its long-term sustainability.”
Antigua and Barbuda has worked closely with Alliance implementation and convening partner Sustainable Travel International on this comprehensive regional initiative, which will continue in the coming months. In addition to implementation of the Action Agenda, the destination will receive an online monitoring tool, a sustainable tourism knowledge training program, and support with the development of Antigua and Barbuda’s sustainability story, to be used in marketing and communications.
“We believe that responsible tourism can play a role in fostering sustainability,” said Rich Pruitt, Vice President, Safety and Environmental Stewardship, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are optimistic about the actions Antigua and Barbuda is planning to take toward ensuring its long-term viability as a place to live and work and as a travel destination.”
The full list of SDAA partners include: Sustainable Travel International, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), the Organization of American States (OAS), Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and the United States Government through the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.