Sustainable Tourism Strategies for World Heritage in the Caribbean

The University of the West Indies, UWI, Cave Hill Campus in collaboration with the World Heritage Center, the UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean in Kingston have launched a capacity-building national workshop on Safeguarding Heritage in the Caribbean through Developing a Sustainable Tourism Strategy, to take place virtually from 27 – 29 October 2020 via Zoom. This activity is organized with the support of the Barbados Ministries of Tourism and International Transport and Creative Economy, Culture and Sport and the Japan Funds in Trust (JFIT).

High-level politicians, the private and public sector and representatives from the academia participated at the opening of this workshop on 27 October 2020 at 8.30am (GMT -4). Remarks were delivered by Saadia Sanchez, Director and Representative, UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean, Senator the Honorable Lisa Cummins, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Dr. Henderson Carter, Head, Department of History and Philosophy, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mr. Shin Ogawa, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Barbados.

Sachiko Haraguchi from the World Heritage Programme for SIDS, UNESCO World Heritage Centre introduced the workshop, followed by an overview of the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism Programme shedding light on the impact of COVID19 on Tourism, presented by Peter Debrine from the World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme, UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

UNESCO recognizes that the concept of sustainable heritage tourism presents a new approach in tourism, ‘based on dialogue and stakeholder cooperation, where planning for tourism and heritage management is integrated at a destination level, and natural and cultural resources are valued and protected, and appropriate tourism developed.’

In promoting sustainable tourism, and the planning and management of sustainable tourism at heritage sites in Barbados, the proposed serial world heritage nomination of the Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum will be utilized as a case study – highlighting sites such as Newton Slave Burial Ground, Codrington College, Morgan Lewis Mill, St. Nicholas Abbey and Mount Gay Distilleries.
This workshop will bring together national stakeholders and partners involved with the management of heritage and tourism in Barbados, as well as the various managers of the sites comprising this serial nomination that will be examined within the context of developing and promoting a sustainable tourism strategy aligned with Barbados’ master tourism plan.

Topics to be discussed during the three-day Workshop include destination management and Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) as well as the impact of natural hazards and pandemics on heritage.

The workshop aims to help to develop a sustainable heritage tourism strategy for Barbados and prepare a working draft nomination for the next World Heritage nomination for the Industrial Heritage of Barbados: The Story of Sugar and Rum which is Barbados’ second nomination after Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison property which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2011.