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Climate Change and Caribbean Tourism

September 18, 2013 | 4:23 pm | Print

By the Caribbean Journal staff

What will the impacts of climate change mean for tourism in the Caribbean?

That’s precisely the subject of a new project being carried out by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean states and USAID.

The OECS/USAID Climate Change Project recently held a forum on “Rallying the Region to Action on Climate Change” in St Lucia, focusing on the effects of and adaptation to climate of changefor tourism and agriculture.

While the region produces less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is disproportionately vulnerable to the potential effects of climate change, with low-lying coastal areas, fragile marine eco-systems and steep slopes.

Yendi Jackson, who works as a sustainable tourism officer at Antigua and Barbuda’s Ministry of Tourism, said his country needed to place “more emphasis on awareness and the inculcation of best practices into the minds of the population with regards to Climate Change and its likely effects on tourism-dependent nations such as ours.”

“We understand the importance of sustainable tourism and (the importance) of taking measures and steps to go about combating the climate change phenomenon, likewise our stakeholders but the broader population may not fully grasp the concept and all of the difficulties and potential hazards that can be caused by climate change as well as the mitigation procedures that can be undertaken in order to combat these occurrences,” he said.

So how can the region increase awareness of these potential issues? For Jackson, social media is one way, particularly to target young people in the region.

“We need to focus more on our youth and not just at the tertiary and secondary level but at the primary and kindergarten age,” he said. “If we get that engraved into their minds from an early age then we could influence the mindset of the new and upcoming generation.”

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