Regional tourism development agency, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and regional hospitality agency, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) today signed a Letter of Agreement (LoA) to join other regional agencies and institutions representing climate sensitive sectors as joint Tourism Partners on the Consortium of Regional Sectoral Early Warning Information Systems Across Climate Timescales (EWISACTs) Coordination Partners currently being spearheaded by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).
State-of-the-art, tailored climate information delivered through this agreement will better position the tourism sector to become more resilient to extreme climate events while enhancing various aspects of its business operations, including marketing.
Dr. David Farrell, Principal of the CIMH, which functions as the Secretariat for the EWISACTs Consortium, presented the LoA for signing to Mr. Hugh Riley, CTO Secretary-General and Mrs. Karolin Troubetzkoy, CHTA President during the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) at the Hilton Hotel in Bridgetown, Barbados.
"The CTO recognizes that there is an urgent need to develop initiatives to enhance tourism sector resilience to climate variability and extremes utilising a very holistic and proactive approach. Through this partnership, we will seek to develop climate information tools and services which can be used by the tourism industry, particularly public and private sector decision-makers to direct marketing efforts, inform policy formulation and guide decision-making", said Mr. Riley.
Mrs. Troubetzkoy also affirmed the engagement of the hotel sector saying, “CHTA is keenly aware that our sector is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate, and we are committed to being proactive in ensuring Caribbean tourism is more resilient. This agreement recognizes the need for smart, effective partnerships that will allow us to develop strong, strategic policies and practices for addressing climate impacts”.
In the coming months, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Agricultural Research & Development Institute (CARDI), the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will follow the lead of the CTO and the CHTA and sign the LoA to formalize their participation on the Consortium.
Dr. Farrell noted that "the signing of this Letter of Agreement by the representatives of the regional tourism sector places the region at the leading edge of research and development activities geared at identifying, designing and delivering climate services solutions to advance the regional tourism sector. The CIMH looks forward to a long and successful partnership working with the CTO, CHTA and other climate sensitive sectors through the EWISACTs Consortium."
The agreement makes the Caribbean the first region globally to officially create and implement a joint commitment between climate-sensitive sectors and a climate services provider to build climate resilience. It also makes the CTO and the CHTA the first regional sectoral organisations to formally join the Consortium, a multi-sectoral partnership established through the Programme for Building Regional Climate Capacity in the Caribbean (BRCCC Programme), a three-year project made possible through the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the CIMH.