From Bahamas Information Services
Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and Ministry of Tourism and Aviation officials are partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and European experts to develop and strengthen certification systems in The Bahamas. The aim of the project is to increase the resiliency and sustainability of The Bahamas as a tourism destination; enhance the state of the natural environment; improve destination competitiveness; ensure that revenue from tourism reaches a greater proportion of Bahamian communities and position The Bahamas as a climate-resilient destination by implementing climate risk management policies and implementation frameworks.
Through the technical support of the entities, a consortium of experts from Europe and the Caribbean are analyzing, recommending and developing an implementation programme for certification systems.
“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 plan, 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.”
The project is being led by IDB’s Juliana Bettini with TDC CEO/Executive Director Janet Johnson as a focal point. Tourism experts participating in this project include Sea Going Green, a Dutch sustainable marine tourism consultancy; Green Case Consulting, a UK-based Sustainable Tourism specialist; Oceanic Global, a US-based, nonprofit and sustainability verification program and climate change experts JF Clarke Consulting from Barbados.
Bahamian sustainable tourism practitioners Rashema Ingraham, Kendria Ferguson and Dr. Jennifer Edwards are also playing a vital role in the project’s delivery.
“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.” Ms. Johnson said certifications are essential in the Tourism industry.
“Certifications indicate that the business is registered with the TDC and has met the quality assurance standards necessary for the hospitality business. 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,” she said.
“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.”
The project, which began in August, is expected to be completed in January 2022. At this time, a recommendation of the most suitable certification schemes will be presented, and a strategic and operational implementation plan will then be developed and validated with Bahamian stakeholders.
Once the Certification Programme is complete, in addition to a webinar campaign, TDC Certified Evaluators and executives of the Bahamas Association of Shore Experiences (BASE) will travel throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas to inform all tourism-related enterprises of the new standards.