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Friday, September 5, 2014

Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas Announces First Seven Destination Partners

Seven destinations in the Caribbean & Central America region will receive support to enhance the long-term viability of their tourism sectors. Today, the Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA) announced its first seven destination partners: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Honduras, Jamaica, and Nicaragua.

This announcement was made during the Organization of American States' 22nd Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism in Barbados.

“Sustainable tourism development is considered a driving force for development of the local economy and well-being of Nicaraguan families, as well as for raising awareness of the importance of protection of natural and cultural heritage,” said Mayra Salinas, Executive President of the Nicaragua Institute of Tourism. “We are confident that this initiative will help us to strengthen public-private partnerships for shared and improved management of the destination."

Destination partners will receive support in the form of a Sustainable Destination Toolkit, which was developed by alliance implementation partner and convener Sustainable Travel International. According to an official statement by the SDAA, this program aims to enrich the lives of the people in these destinations and to protect the region for many generations to come.

The Toolkit includes a destination assessment, an action agenda with short and long term solutions, online training courses for capacity building, a destination monitoring system to ensure on-going success, and marketing support.

Funding for the Toolkit is provided by two founding SDAA partners, the United States Government through the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. through its Ocean Fund.,

“The Bahamas' participation in the initiative is important because tourism alone provides an estimated 60 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and employs about half the Bahamian work force. Additionally, approximately five million tourists arrive annually at the Port of Nassau,” shared Joy Jibrilu, Director General at The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. “Whatever we can do to improve, grow, and ultimately sustain the Port in a responsible way, will benefit everyone, including visitors, cruise lines, and Bahamians.”

The SDAA, which launched earlier this year, is the largest-scale effort to date through which public and private entities have united to focus on destination sustainability in the Americas.

The full list of SDAA partners include the Organization of American States, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Central American Tourism Integration Secretariat, global NGO Sustainable Travel International, leading cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and the United States Government through the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.

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