Caribbean Tourism Stinks – Literally

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The Tourism Minister of the Dominican Republic asked the UNWTO Executive Council for help with a foul-smelling problem.

Minister David Collado urgently asked the members to find a solution to common issues being faced in the Caribbean such as the problem with sargassum that is affecting the entire region.

“The solution to the sargassum problem cannot be individual,” said Collado in his opening remarks at the 118th meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council, which began this Wednesday in the touristic eastern region of the country and will last until tomorrow Thursday.

He said that solutions should be sought to the issues that affect the region at a general level, referring to sargassum. Collado added:

“Organizations like this one should help small countries to find solutions when we don’t have them.”

Sargassum is a large brown seaweed that floats in the ocean in great masses, sometimes for miles, but does not attach to the seafloor. While there are benefits of this seaweed, such as providing food, refuge, and breeding grounds for many animals such as fishes, sea turtles, marine birds, crabs, shrimp, and more, it does also create problems for fishermen, vessels in the ocean shipping lanes, and tourism.

The seaweed grows in the Amazon River area and continues to bloom and move with the current until it arrives in  mass in the Caribbean. Once the Sargassum reaches land, it starts to decompose and smells a lot like rotten eggs, and stench carries inland for about a half mile, wreaking havoc on Caribbean destinations that depend on sand, sun, and sea.

While Minister Collado thanked the UNWTO for choosing the Dominican Republic to hold its 118th meeting for the first time in history, he also indicated that tourism is not a luxury for the Dominican Republic. The success of tourism is something essential due to the impact it has on the economy, which represents more than 25% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

At the UNWTO meeting, Minister Collado was accompanied by the Dominican ambassador to that body, Aníbal de Castro, and the Vice Minister of Tourism, Carlos Peguero, among other officials. Nineteen ministers from 38 nations were present, including the 35 member countries and 3 observers, as well as some 200 delegates, who participated in this 118th meeting of the UNWTO, which has been in progress from last Tuesday to today.

About the author

Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.

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