CTO seeks to enhance regional community-based tourism with launch of Caribbean Community Tourism Network

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — In a move to further support the expansion of community-based tourism (CBT), the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has launched the Caribbean Community Tourism Network (CCTN).

In a statement, the CTO noted, “The network is one of the initiatives of the CTO, which has identified CBT as a regional tourism development strategy and is seeking to optimize its role in supporting local livelihoods, stimulating entrepreneurship and community social and economic development, while also creating authentic experiences and unique product offerings for visitors.”

The CCTN aims to aid CTO member countries with CBT development by facilitating the exchange of information, best practices, strategies, recommendations and other initiatives; and also helping members identify and gain assistance with their challenges, potential opportunities and capacity-building needs.

Speaking to the initiative’s potential, CTO Sustainable Tourism Specialist Amanda Charles said, “Community-based tourism offers an opportunity to bridge the social and economic gap of local communities, allows community members a path to sustainable livelihoods and is a conduit for the active participation and empowerment of local people in the tourism [sector].

“This network provides an avenue for CTO members to share knowledge, resources and best practices to improve community tourism experiences and economic impact.”

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    The CTO has been consistently deepening its efforts to enhance regional CBT, even more so in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    Commenting on the push towards CBT, CTO Acting Secretary General Neil Walters said, “As the region seeks to revitalize and reposition the Caribbean tourism product, it creates an opportunity to generate more tangible and direct local benefits from tourism for the individuals and smaller enterprises in the regional tourism sector. This must be supported by relevant policy directives and the necessary community consultations and engagement.

    “CBT is a conduit for active participation and empowerment of local people in the tourism economy, acting as a stimulus for the production of goods and services to visitors, and allows community members a path to sustainable livelihoods.

    “Indirect effects also occur through the tourism value chain, since tourism draws on inputs from the food, beverage, construction, transportation, creative industries and other service sectors.”

    Walters asserted that CBT has the potential to be “a key contributor to the competitiveness and appeal of Caribbean destinations, and by extension the region as a whole”, but he underscored that community participation “is a significant part of distributing the benefits of tourism to all aspects of our societies”.

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    Links:
    Livestreamed UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Regional Dialogue IV “Future Tourism: An Inclusive Value Chain” — https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=286128949903470&ref=watch_permalink

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