World Tourism Day: Celebrating the Caribbean

We’re working with our partners in the Caribbean to plan their own path toward a better future so that the magnificent beaches, magnetic cultural traditions and verdant forests that attract millions of visitors each year contribute to the well-being of communities, the creation of jobs and the protection of resources.

Q&A with Seleni Matus, Vice President of Global Programs

One of the most effective ways of  addressing the interrelated issues that impact a tourism destination’s economic, social and environmental well-being is to take a region-wide approach to planning and to equip local people with the information and tools they need to prepare for their future. Here, Sustainable Travel International’s Seleni Matus provides an overview of the regional alliance model and its promise for improving lives and protecting lands through tourism.

Communities in Suriname Tap the Potential of Tourism

We have been working with IICA-Suriname, community and business leaders, local NGOs, and donors in Suriname since 2013, helping to facilitate a vision and path forward for the country’s indigenous groups. With few options available to them, the Arawak and Carib peoples—who live in the country’s vast and heavily forested interior—are determined to maintain their cultural traditions, protect local biodiversity and to create economic opportunities where few exist. Tourism provides the most promising path forward.

Tourism Supports the MesoAmerican Reef and Surrounding Communities

  • MesoAmerican Reef
    The tropical climate and white sand beaches along the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula have given rise to a tourism industry that draws millions of visitors each year.
  • Cruise Ships Passengers Sunbathing On Magens Bay In Saint Thomas
    A steady flow of tourists and migrant workers seeking employment has put significant pressure on the fragile MesoAmerican Reef — the longest reef in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Fishing Net in MARTI
    A group of representatives from local NGOs, businesses and the state government established the MesoAmerican Reef Tourism Initiative, MARTI, in 2006 to protect the threatened reef and the interests of the two million people who rely on the it for their income, cultural identity and livelihoods.
  • Loggerhead Sea Turtle in MAR Region
    Now in its 10th year, MARTI is a good example of the potential of a collaborative approach to destination stewardship.
  • Caribbean Resort Hotel
    Sustainable Travel International serves as the secretariat for MARTI, facilitating continued partner development and funding for the initiative. Additionally, we are helping communities in the Riviera Maya develop projects that will help improve the overall sustainability of tourism in the region.
  • Amigos de Sian Ka'an
    Local NGO Amigos de Sian Ka’an, a MARTI member, has pushed through local zoning plans to help protect fragile ecosystems while limiting over-development from tourism.
  • MARTI waste management
    Waste management is a growing concern in the MARTI region. The Coral Reef Alliance is working on improving Roatan’s connection to municipal water and sewer systems.

Tourism Impact Monitoring Climbs the International Agenda

Last week in Washington, DC, the World Bank’s Sustainable Tourism Global Solutions Group organized a high-level meeting on “Measuring for Impact: Convening Thought Leaders in Tourism,” with support from Sustainable Travel International. Besides the World Bank and us, participants included the United Nations Environmental Programme, the World Economic Forum, the UN World Tourism Organization, the World Travel and Tourism Council, industry leaders such as Wyndham Resorts and PwC, the world’s largest professional services firm, as well as the World Wildlife Fund and Harvard, Cornell and George Washington Universities.