News & Views > Reflections from the UNWTO sustainable tourism conference Reflections from the UNWTO sustainable tourism conference
In November, the United National World Travel Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Jamaica and World Bank Group, held a conference on sustainable tourism in Montego Bay. The meeting was a result of a collaboration between 800 tourism decision makers from 157 countries and drew in 1,500 participants over the three days. Five of our our team members took part and here’s what they had to say about it…
"I was pleased to hear so much discussion around creating better links between Caribbean islands from a transport perspective but also in terms of general co-operation and sharing best practice. The idea of multi-destination travel within the Caribbean, other than via cruise ships, is exciting and would create great opportunities for the islands to diversify whilst creating products with providing more local benefits. I imagine it would also encourage longer stays in the region which again would generate more local revenue."
"There was frequent mention of millennials as a key market segment for driving change towards more sustainable travel and tourism – a catalyst for change in the sector. Millennials love to travel and want the opportunity to be immersed in genuine sights, sounds, and experiences. As such, they are a key market segment to tap into and provide the tourism product to meet this demand – resulting in better products, better tourism revenue for the destination and increased potential for more sustainable offerings."
"There was a general consensus that the future of tourism, particularly within the Caribbean context, requires a greater need for collaboration and partnerships - multi-destination partnerships and public-private partnerships. The presentations in many of the sessions featured models where public-private partnerships have helped to shape tourism development in various destinations."
"There was a genuine positive movement towards Community Tourism, fueled in part by the huge surge in Airbnb. This dovetailed nicely with Minister Bartlett’s statement that travellers now are looking for differentiation and genuine experience. However, I think there needs more discussion on how experiences should look to appeal to people who have purchased all inclusive packages."
"Some of the region's challenges for innovation in tourism were stated to be predominantly 'a lack of research and a lack of collaboration.' Later in the conference, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart stated that the industry has enough policy - what was needed was a collaborative strategy.”
"It was good to hear Allan Chastanet, the Prime Minister of St Lucia, saying that measuring the success of tourism by measuring tourism arrivals is inherently flawed. He stated that if we don’t understand the revenue that these tourists are generating then we can’t measure success. Whilst this stance might not yet recognise the environmental and social costs of tourism, it’s certainly a big step forward in thinking about the real impacts of tourism."