Caribbean tourism practitioners and policymakers in the public and private sectors now have a practical tool to help them prepare for, and manage, multiple hazards that pose a risk to the industry.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) – the region’s tourism development agency – has produced the ‘Multi-Hazard Risk Management Guide for the Caribbean Tourism Sector’, which addresses all phases of the disaster management cycle.
The guide provides frameworks, guidelines and strategies, including recommended actions for each of the eight CTO-recognised sub-sectors of tourism: accommodation providers, food and beverage operations, transport services, recreation and entertainment businesses, event and conference facilities and providers of tourism support services, which include the travel trade and national tourism organisations.
“The CTO is highly cognizant of the changing needs of tourism in the region, and through this initiative, we are working to better serve our member countries by providing them with the knowledge and tools to more effectively mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the multiple threats posed by natural and man-made hazards,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general. “The current COVID-19 crisis emphasises the importance of initiatives such as this one taken by the CTO to aid in successful tourism management and enhance resilience and sustainability.”
In order to help prepare member countries to use the guide effectively, the CTO recently hosted a regional disaster management workshop for 33 public and private sector representatives from member countries whose role includes support for disaster management at the national and/or enterprise level.
A significant outcome of the training – facilitated by international consultant, Evan Green, who finalised the guide – was that each participant would complete a tourism emergency assessment plan for a tourism business or destination. They were also asked to produce an interim operations strategy which includes messaging to communicate business interruption following a hazard, as part of business continuity planning.
A training-of-trainers workshop was also held for a core group of seven participants from Dominica – the first in a series of such workshops planned in order to create a pool of trainers at the national level.
These exercises formed part of the CTO’s ‘Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry’ project being implemented with funding and technical support to the tune of €460,173 from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through the African Caribbean Pacific and European Union- funded Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) programme.
“Climate and disaster risks pose serious challenges to the sustainability of the Caribbean tourism industry. The training on the multi-hazard risk management guide is critical to equip key tourism stakeholders with the tools and skills needed to manage these risks. We are pleased to collaborate with CTO and support such an important initiative,” said Dr. Yves Personna, the CDB’s project manager for the NDRM program.