A BAHAMIAN non-profit organisation teamed with a university lecturer to present a paper at the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation (WTO) conference. Shaun D. Ingraham, the One Eleuthera Foundation's (OEF) chief executive, and Elizabeth Mackay, lecturer at the University of the West Indies (UWI), presented a joint paper, 'One Eleuthera Foundation: Building Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism'.
The panel session was moderated by Jennifer Griffith, permanent secretary at Jamaica's Ministry of Tourism. The conference provided a useful platform from which to provide information on One Eleuthera's work, as well as raise awareness about the importance of civil society as a partner in inclusive and sustainable development.
The presentation focused on One Eleuthera's role, through partnerships, in overcoming critical barriers to inclusive participation in Eleuthera's tourism sector. This included improving tourism and entrepreneurial skills, and knowledge, through the provision of hospitality training and education at the Centre for Training and Innovation.
Other initiatives involved facilitating access to capital and business development through the One Eleuthera Cooperative Credit Union; the enhancement of linkages between tourism and agriculture through Eleuthera Community Farms; Island Journey's role in developing the volunteer tourism market; and the support of local culture and the preservation of the natural environment and heritage through efforts to protect - and sustainably develop - Lighthouse Point.
The UNWTO conference featured 100 speakers and more than 1,500 delegates, under the theme 'Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism'.
The Jamaican prime minister, Andrew Holness, gave the keynote address, while retiring UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai; Allen Chastenet, prime minister of St. Lucia; Edmund Bartlett, Jamaican minister of tourism, were among the speakers. Dionisio D'Aguilar, the Bahamas' minister of tourism; Joy Jibrilu, director-general of tourism; and Travis Robinson, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, were among several Bahamians who attended the three-day event. The conference was convened in partnership with the UNWTO; the World Bank Group; government of Jamaica; and Inter-American Development Bank. Other collaborators included the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Chemonics and The George Washington University.
Arising out of the conference, the Montego Bay Declaration on 'Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism', calls for inclusive and sustainable tourism growth to be priortitised.
It recognises the vulnerability of, and special circumstances of, small island developing states.
The declaration identifies financing, partnerships and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as critical factors in tourism planning and development.
It further recognizes the global importance of tourism, and presents guidelines for harnessing the industry's potential to create positive and sustainable change in countries, communities and lives.