Sustainable Tourism Capacity Strengthening through Certification Project with IDB & Bahamas Tourism Ministry

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The Bahamas’ tourism expertise will be strengthened through an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) collaboration with European and regional experts to develop certification systems that bolster sustainable tourism for the country.

The technical cooperation between the IDB, the Tourism Development Company (TDC), and the Ministry of Tourism has engaged a consortium of experts from Europe and The Caribbean to analyze, recommend and develop an implementation plan for sustainable tourism certification schemes in the Bahamas.

“For decades, tourists have flocked to The Bahamas for the island’s beautiful natural attractions and rich cultural heritage,” said Project Lead Rachel McCaffery, of Green Case Consulting. “This plan will aim to cultivate local expertise to preserve that beauty for generations to come.”

The project, expected to begin in August and continue until January 2022, will research and analyze certification systems relevant to the tourism sector in The Bahamas before recommending the most suitable certification scheme or schemes. A strategic and operational implementation plan will then be developed and validated with Bahamian stakeholders.

“This technical cooperation represents a strong commitment to achieving measurable impact in the tourism industry of The Bahamas,” said IDB Bahamas Country Representative Daniela Carrera-Marquis. “Tourism is the driving force of the Bahamian economy and has registered unprecedented challenges in the last several years following Hurricane Dorian and the global pandemic. The long-term consequences of these experiences are still unfolding, but through our Vision 2025 strategy, the IDB is committed to supporting our member countries during the recovery process. “This project will build capacity in the country’s tourism industry and foster a sustainable and inclusive recovery that maximizes the efforts of the government in The Bahamas and around the region.” 

Managed by the IDB’s Juliana Bettini with TDC CEO/Executive Director Janet Johnson as a focal point, a team of sustainable tourism experts – led by female specialists in the field – includes Sea Going Green a Dutch sustainable marine tourism consultancy, Green Case Consulting; UK-Based Sustainable Tourism specialists, Oceanic Global a US-based nonprofit and sustainability verification program and climate change experts JF Clarke Consulting from Barbados. Playing a crucial role in project delivery are three highly experienced Bahamian sustainable tourism practitioners Rashema Ingraham, Kendria Ferguson, and  Dr. Jennifer Edwards

The project aims to produce a certification program that:

  • increases the resiliency and sustainability of The Bahamas as a tourism destination
  • enhances the state of the natural environment
  • improves destination competitiveness
  • ensures that revenue from tourism reaches a greater proportion of Bahamian communities
  • positions The Bahamas as a climate-resilient destination by implementing climate risk management policies and implementation frameworks

“Certifications indicate that the business is registered with the TDC and has met the quality assurance standards necessary for the hospitality business,” said Director Johnson. “Obtaining certifications for your business puts you on the cutting edge and encourages larger conglomerates to engage your services such as cruise ships and hotels. “It is the mandate of the TDC to raise the standards of all tourism-related businesses in The Islands Of The Bahamas. And so, this collaboration with the IDB, and all of the other experts involved, will act as a springboard for the development of sustainable tourism businesses with implementation of global best practices.”

With increasing worldwide climate change impacts, sustainable tourism has become crucial in preserving profitable coastlines and ecosystems. Certifications are considered an influential way to get an industry or destination on the same page. Certification schemes have the potential to level the playing field, ensuring that every operator is adhering to the same standards and requirements.

Once finalized, the plan will be presented via webinars to interested parties around the Bahamian islands. 

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