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St. Lucia Hosts Second Round of Discussions On Regional Sustainable Tourism Policy

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006 – Tourism officials within the Caribbean this week gave considerable attention to the development of a Regional Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework. That framework will enable participating countries to foster sustainable tourism strategies within the Caribbean basin.

The consultative process is expected to enhance the tourism policies of the participating Caribbean states and their eventual implementation and promote linkages within the region.

The major issues discussed included tourism standards and guidelines, trade in tourism services, environmental management and product development.

It is felt these issues have become topical as a result of the tourism boom experienced in most territories of the Caribbean hemisphere. The island's Minister for Tourism Honourable Philip J Pierre highlighted a familiar issue, which he said is not unique to St. Lucia.

“The resource and the experience must be preserved for the enjoyment by the visitor and the people who live in the countries. Here lies the the essence of sustainability and the need to strike a balance between use and abuse. In this regard, issues regarding the use of beaches forest reserves and beach access for the public become relevant, and it is the duty of planners to find a balance between competing forces and interests,” Mr. Pierre said.

The Regional Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework is just one component of the eight million Euro-Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Development Programme, funded through the European Union. It is being formulated with the help of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the CTO.

Representative of St. Lucia's EDF-National Authorizing Office Yasmin Walcott highlighted a very important factor in ensuring the entire region is serviced through the framework being worked on.

“I would like to impress on this workshop that in our endeavours to enhance regional tourism policy development, CARIFORUM must not omit the other Caribbean territories in particular the French outermost regions of Martinique and Guadeloupe, said the EDF official.

It is the second time such a forum is being held. The first held in Barbados in December of 2005, covered issues of health, safety and security within the regional tourism industry as well as the issues of human resource development and information and technology.

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