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CTO: Statia Sustainability Conference to focus on culture, festivals and economy

CTO: Statia Sustainability Conference to focus on culture, festivals and economy

The St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation (STDF) has confirmed a number of industry experts among the list of speakers for this year’s Eight annual Statia Sustainability Conference (SSC) themed “Culture, Festivals, the Economy – A Sustainable Way Forward.” Presenters Allen Cooper, Anthony Reid, and Gerjanne Voortman will inform and educate delegates of ways you can ensure that events are sustainable under a general session dubbed “A Step Beyond Sustainability – Fashioning a Regenerative Festival Model for the Caribbean.” The conference will be held at the Mike van Putten Youth Centre on world tourism day, Friday, September 27.

Cooper has substantial experience in innovation and entrepreneurship for a “green economy”. A Trinidad native, Cooper has worked in more than 16 countries. He is a member of the Caribbean Action Learning Group for the Green Economy, and board member of Future Fishers and the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival Association. In 2018, he was selected as part of a thinking group responsible for greening aspects of CARIFESTA 2019, and, also last year, he established his own cultural enterprise which focuses on small high-quality cultural events that highlight social and environmental responsibility.

Also listed on the roster of speakers is Anthony Reid. He has worked in several fields, both in the public and private sector. Between 2009-2010, Reid worked by National Women’s Movement as an agricultural consultant for the fair Economic Development Program teaching new farming technique to Marrons of the hinterland of Suriname. Between 2011 and 2013, as program manager, Reid guided local organizations into economic development prospects under the umbrella of Foundation Federation Heepi U See. In 2015, Reid migrated to Statia where he served as unit manager at the Agriculture Department before taking up the responsibility as Interim Director of Economy and Infrastructure in 2017.

Gerjanne Voortman has specialized in the impact of tourism and international volunteering. She works as an independent consultant in the fields of communication, society, and sustainability. She has conducted ethnographic research, mainly in Central America, studying small-scale communities from a local and global perspective. Both her scientific work and her ample personal travel experience led to her interest in the possibilities for tourism to grow more sustainable or to even contribute to destinations.

For Green Destinations, a non-profit foundation for sustainable tourism, she audits destinations in the Caribbean region to examine ways they can make their destinations more sustainable and more pleasant for visitors and inhabitants alike. During her presentation at the Sustainability Conference, Voortman will focus on practical do’s and don’ts and explore with delegates the possibilities for celebrating events and festivals in a more sustainable way.