June 29, 2004
  • Climate Institute alerts Caribbean
  • Time to push tourism up the global agenda
  • Enrique E. de Marchena in CHA board
  • Caribbean recognizes Dominican journalist
  • Travel philanthropy – doing it right
  • 4th July in Puerto Plata
Climate Institute alerts Caribbean
The Caribbean’s islands stand to lose half a meter of land to rising sea levels in the next 50 years, and at least one meter in the next 100 years, said the Climate Institute’s Tom Roper during the recently held Caribbean Media Exchange in St. Lucia. Because the expanding sea level will have a definite impact on beach developments, it is an issue that needs to be taken into consideration now. Roper urged the international community to reinforce its commitments to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in order to slowdown the pace of erosion. But meanwhile he said island countries will have to take measures to adapt to the changes.
A UN report indicates that the global average sea level has risen about 10 times faster over the past 100 years than in the previous 3,000. Roper, as the project leader for the Global Sustainable Energy Islands Initiative of the Climate Institute, also said that the Caribbean will experience higher temperatures as a result of global warming.
The frequency and intensity of hurricanes is expected to increase, while hurricanes are expected to shift slightly to the north. The greater frequency and magnitude of tropical storm cycles is a major concern for small island states, as they in turn intensify the risk of flooding, accelerate existing rates of beach erosion and could cause displacement of settlements and infrastructure, according to the United Nations.
According to the United Nations report released during CMEx, “Most countries are already experiencing disruptive changes consistent with many of the anticipated consequences of global change, including extensive coastal erosion, droughts, coral bleaching, more widespread and frequent occurrence of mosquito-borne disease and high sea levels, which in addition to affecting valuable beach property is also making some soils too saline for cultivation of traditional crops.”
Roper said that small islands have caused the least amount of damage, but will suffer the greatest effects of global warming. He then spoke of the pressure for Caribbean leaders not to speak out on the issues.
The CMEx conference focused on how small islands with fragile resources are facing a challenge to bring in tourism and all the associated economic benefits without destroying the very product tourists have come to experience.
For more information, see http://www.climate.org
Time to push tourism up the global agenda
Geoffrey Lipman, the Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), said that tourism should be the leading issue for Caribbean states in trade and development strategies. Lipman was making a keynote address to the CMEx (Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism), an event that was organized by Counterpart International in collaboration with the Caribbean Hotel Association. Lipman mentioned that it was only in December 2003 that the WTO was raised in rank to become a specialized agency of the United Nations, thus enabling the world tourism sector to grab a share of UN funding. Lipman urged the Caribbean region to be more proactive in pushing for its share of the funds that will become available for research and projects in tourism, as African and Asian countries will also be staking their claims on the available funds.
Speaking to the Caribbean, European and North American media and tourism industry leaders gathered in St. Lucia, Lipman contrasted the worldwide fall in basic commodity prices over the past three decades and the reduction in trade preferences with the sustained growth of tourism services and increasing developing state participation in this sector. He urged countries to support the work performed regarding the Travel Satellite Account, so that the new statistics may decipher the real importance of tourism in each economy.
He said the world economy needs a successful Doha Development Round and tourism should be an important part of the final package, with balanced and structured liberalization to help develop the export economies of the world's poorest countries. He explained that “in 18 months’ time, when the big countries are all sitting around the table for the Doha Agenda discussions, and newspapers are saying there will not be an agreement because rich countries will not give in on agriculture, Caribbean countries can push for putting tourism in the basket, requesting technology and capacity support and balances in the leakages to tour operators. “You can make a huge difference to the sector, so, at the end, trade negotiators are doing something,” he said. For more information, see http://www.counterpart.org
Enrique E. de Marchena in CHA board
Dominican lawyer Enrique Eduardo de Marchena was elected as the regional vice-president of the Caribbean Hotel Association in the 16 June vote held during the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC 2004) in Puerto Rico. De Marchena will work on the 2004-2006 board that is now headed by Berthia M. Parle of St. Lucia. Other members of the board include Peter Odle (Barbados), Allen Chastanet (St. Lucia), Jeremy MacVean (Bahamas), Richard Dourmeng (St. Thomas), Peter Webster (Curacao), Jag Mehta (Jamaica), Cheryl Hugues (Anguilla), Emmanuel Schreibmaier (Sol Melia), John Lynch (Sandals), and Joan Lamanna (Hyatt). De Marchena is also the president of the Tourism Promotion Council in the Dominican Republic. Parle takes the helm of CHA following the two-year term of Dominican Simon Suarez.
Caribbean recognizes Dominican journalist
Dominican investigative reporter Arelis Pena Brito of El Caribe newspaper captured a second regional award on 27 June during the Caribbean Media Exchange held in St. Lucia. Her award at the 6th CMEx was for journalistic excellence in her coverage of the struggles between commerce and the environment in the Dominican Republic.
Just days earlier, on 17 June, Pena Brito was honoured with the overall Caribbean Tourism Media Award at the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference held in Puerto Rico. Sponsored by the Caribbean Hotel Association and American Express, this award recognized her work in reporting topics related to tourism with a sharp business focus that highlights the economic, social and environmental impact of the industry in the DR. Much mention was made of her recent coverage of the efforts of the Dominican Congress to enact legislation that would reduce the National Parks and Protected Areas in order to allow controversial touristic development of the Southeastern Coast. Pena Brito has been following the progress of the controversy from the standpoint of all stakeholders, developers, government and the community.
The Caribbean Tourism Media Awards is part of the commitment being made by CHA and American Express to increase awareness on the importance of the sustainable development of the tourism industry, for the economic and social wellbeing of the region and its people.
Travel philanthropy – doing it right
The Dream Project continues to move ahead with its objectives of merging education and mentoring with tourism. Tricia Thorndike Suriel, formerly of Iguana Mama Excursions in Cabarete, reports that during their first full year they have hosted over 100 volunteers who have come down – not to soak up sun, but to spend time at schools and libraries to work with underprivileged children. The effort sprung from a practice of Thorndike’s while living in the DR to offer 25% off all tours to clients who brought down children’s books in Spanish. Now, through the Web, word of mouth and a growing base of partners, the non-profit organization has attracted over 500 suitcases filled with books and school supplies. The Dream Project defines itself as the fastest growing, non-profit organization on the North Coast. The Dream Project is a 501(C) which means all donations are tax deductible for US citizens.
Thorndike stresses that travel philanthropy has been practiced by many operators in the travel and tourism sector for a number of years, in these days of globalization the generosity of travelers has the potential to reduce the staggering economic inequalities of the contemporary world.
For more information on how to get involved, please see:
4th July in Puerto Plata
Sea Horse Ranch, the Puerto Plata upscale residential community, announces they will be celebrating US Independence Day in Cabarete, Puerto Plata on day ahead, on Saturday, 3 July. For the event, a jazz concert with the best musicians from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, plus Mediterranean dinner with Chef Pasquale is scheduled. Jazz performers for the evening are: Ramon Vasquez, bass (Cuba); Yan Carlos Artime, piano (Cuba); Moncho Rios, guitar (Puerto Rico); Paoli Mejia, conga (Puerto Rico); Felle Vega, percussion (Dominican Republic), Pablo Pena, drums (Dominican Republic). Buffet dinner (RD$500 buffet + glass of wine) will be served at 8 pm, and reservations are required. The concert starts at 9 pm. For more information, contact Jennifer Kirkman at [email protected]

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