The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA) announced its affiliation as a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021, joining other tourism organizations around the world in the commitment to meeting global standards in sustainability in travel and tourism.
During the COVID-19 global travel interruption in 2020, BMOTA invested time in a series of capacity building and destination stewardship programs with GSTC. Setting sustainable tourism development and management as a priority for recovery and resilience building, BMOTA arranged for staff and tourism industry stakeholders to participate in an online session of GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP). Participants represented a cross-section of public and private sector organizations from various Bahamas destinations, including New Providence, Andros, Harbour Island, Abaco, Eleuthera, San Salvador, Exuma, Long Island, Bimini, Cat Island and Grand Bahama Island.
In the months following, GSTC has been working with several of The Bahamas Family Islands on workshops and programming to support the establishment of Destination Stewardship Councils which will implement the GSTC Destination Criteria. Council members have expressed excitement about the opportunity to shape more sustainable development of their local communities. Both GSTC and The Bahamas look forward to sharing the results of this work in the coming months.
Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation, Dionisio D’Aguilar, commented, “The compelling physical beauty and geographic diversity of the Islands of The Bahamas make them a top destination for travellers from all ends of the earth year-over-year. We see It as our duty to ensure that we are doing all that we can to maintain the health our country’s environmental ecosystems and protection of its biodiversity for the future generations, and our alignment with GSTC is an essential step in that journey.”
Kristal Bethel, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation’s Senior Director, Sustainable Tourism, added, “We are grateful to be a partner in GSTC’s global efforts and look forward to enhancing our commitment to sustainable tourism in The Bahamas, using their destination criteria as a critical guide to success.
GSTC Welcomes The Bahamas:
Randy Durband, GSTC CEO, remarked, “We welcome The Bahamas as a member of GSTC, joining a growing group of National Tourism Organizations from throughout the world. GSTC also applauds the initiative of The Bahamas in taking advantage of a series of GSTC training and capacity building resources to better position this island nation for a strong recovery and more resilient future.”
Kathleen Pittman, GSTC Program Director for the Caribbean, and Strategic Partnerships, noted, “The Bahamas showed strategic foresight in launching this partnership with GSTC at this critical moment. Driving our work together is The Bahamas’ priority of tourism recovery, which has local community benefits as its central objective.”
GSTC encourages National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) pursuing sustainability practices in the development and management of tourism, to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria. Destinations can eventually aim for being certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body as a sustainable tourist destination.
The Bahamas Government is a protector of both the archipelago’s pristine beauty and its endangered species and takes pride in being an eco-friendly destination. The critically important work of preserving these natural environments is managed by the Bahamas National Trust, an organization noted for its vast land-based and wetland conservation efforts on the islands of Andros, Abaco, New Providence, Exuma, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and Inagua, the latter of which is home to the largest remaining breeding colony of West Indian flamingos in the world.
For more information about eco-tourism in The Bahamas, visit: https://www.bahamas.com/plan-your-trip/ecotourism.