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Garraway: Undertake tourism development with care

Garraway: Undertake tourism development with care

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Caribbean policy makers need to be careful not to destroy the social and environmental fabric of their countries as they explore the tremendous potential of the tourism industry.

This is the advice of the Director of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) Sustainable Tourism Directorate, Jasmine Garraway.{{more}}

In a recent interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Garraway, a career tourism executive with roots in Union Island, said that there was nothing wrong with Caribbean leaders continuing the exploration of new tourism development ventures and projects.

“Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world so it is an obvious area for continued exploration,” Garraway said.

Garraway who was in St Vincent and the Grenadines for a Visitor Safety and Security forum, however noted that in the past, tourism development had been pursued without thorough examination and a weighing of the pros and cons.

The forum was part of a Visitor Safety and Security pilot project that is being conducted in five Caribbean countries including St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The other countries where the estimated EC$350,000 European Union sponsored project is being conducted are St Lucia, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.

The project was birthed following a regional conference held on Enhancing Tourist Safety and Security in 2003 in Trinidad by the ACS and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

The pilot project that arose from that conference will seek to examine three categories of hotels and major tourist attractions in the particular countries.

The crime risk to tourists would be examined along with the legislation and administrative framework for tourist safety management.

Garraway said that as the region becomes more developed and educationally advanced, that Governments are now in a better position to make sure that the checks and balances are in order as they enter into tourism development agreements.

Garraway, who has served as the director of Trinidad and Tobago’s North American Tourism office said that the key is to make sure that the tourism sector is sustainable on all fronts including, and especially, environmentally. This, as the tremendous economic benefits are derived.

She noted that the maintenance of the social and cultural identity of the region is also crucial.

“Policy makers need to take measures that will minimize the impact environmentally and socially on their territories,” said Garraway who was at one time an advisor to the Government of Montserrat on tourism.

She however noted that despite leaders’ best efforts that loopholes will always remain.