The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) says it will highlight the contributions made by indigenous people to the regional tourism industry when it holds its Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in St Vincent and the Grenadines later this month.
It said that the August 26-29 event will discuss how indigenous communities across the Caribbean are accessing tourism markets and welcoming visitors to encounter their traditional ways of life.
The CTO said that the matter will be discussed during a panel discussion entitled “Indigenous Conversations — Celebrating Our Past, Embracing Our Future” on August 27.
“The session will look at the changing composition of local livelihoods and demonstrate how the region’s indigenous people have a tangible role and stake in the Caribbean tourism value chain. Indigenous communities are utilising tourism markets to embrace expanded entrepreneurial opportunities, adding new dimensions to their sources of income, and create niches that are increasingly sought after,” the CTO said in a statement.
It said that among the speakers will be Uwahnie Martinez, the director of Palmento Grove Garifuna Eco Cultural & Fishing Institute in Belize, a private island retreat owned and operated by local Garifuna people; Colonel Marcia “Kim” Douglas of Jamaica’s Charles Town Maroon Community; a representative of the Indian Creek Mayan Art Women’s Group of Belize and Rudolph Edwards, the toshao (chief) of Rewa village in Guyana, a small Amerindian community of about 300 people, mostly from the Makushi tribe, who founded the Rewa Eco-Lodge in 2005 in an effort to protect their land for generations to come.
The session will be moderated by magistrate Dr Zoila Ellis Browne, a Belizean, who is the head of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where she is committed to the development of her indigenous heritage.
CTO said that the sustainable development conference, otherwise known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (#STC2019), will be held under the theme “Keeping the Right Balance: Tourism Development in an Era of Diversification,” and will allow for delegates to “address the urgent need for a transformational, disruptive, and regenerative tourism product to meet ever-rising challenges.