The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is assisting the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and Ministry of Tourism and Aviation to develop certifications systems that will be used to strengthen The Bahamas tourism product, according to a statement on the partnership.
The statement explained that the effort began last month and is expected to be completed January 2022.
According to the statement, the partnership includes retaining the expertise of myriad groups and individuals both local and international, and developing a system that will be used universally across The Bahamas to ensure the country’s purveyors of tourism goods and services operate at the highest levels.
“The aim of the project is to increase the resiliency and sustainability of The Bahamas as a tourism destination; enhance the state of the natural environment; improve destination competitiveness; ensure that revenue from tourism reaches a greater proportion of Bahamian communities and position The Bahamas as a climate-resilient destination by implementing climate risk management policies and implementation frameworks,” the statement read.
“Through the technical support of the entities, a consortium of experts from Europe and the Caribbean are analyzing, recommending and developing an implementation program for certification systems.”
After the January completion of the project, the most suitable certification schemes will be presented, and implementation plans will be developed through consultation with Bahamian stakeholders.
“Once the Certification Program is complete, in addition to a webinar campaign, TDC Certified Evaluators and executives of the Bahamas Association of Shore Experiences (BASE) will travel throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas to inform all tourism-related enterprises of the new standards,” the statement explained.
The IDB’s Country Representative Daniela Carrera-Marquis said in the statement that the program should help to achieve a measurable impact on the country’s tourism product and explained that these improvements are more so important now, given the negative economic impacts caused by the pandemic and Hurricane Dorian.
“The long-term consequences of these experiences are still unfolding, but through our Vision 2025 plan, the IDB is committed to supporting our member countries during the recovery process,” Carrera-Marquis said.
“This project will build capacity in the country’s tourism industry and foster a sustainable and inclusive recovery that maximizes the efforts of the government in The Bahamas and around the region.”
The statement explained that the project is being led by IDB’s Juliana Bettin, while the tourism experts involved “include Sea Going Green, a Dutch sustainable marine tourism consultancy; Green Case Consulting, a UK-based Sustainable Tourism specialist; Oceanic Global, a US-based, nonprofit and sustainability verification program; and climate change experts JF Clarke Consulting from Barbados”.
Local experts include Rashema Ingraham, Kendria Ferguson and Dr. Jennifer Edwards.
TDC Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Janet Johnson said certifications are essential in the tourism industry.
Johnson explained that these certifications will allow tourism companies to do more business with big companies like cruise lines and resorts.
“Certifications indicate that the business is registered with the TDC and has met the quality assurance standards necessary for the hospitality business,” said Johnson.
“It is the mandate of the TDC to raise the standards of all tourism-related businesses in The Islands Of The Bahamas. And so, this collaboration with the IDB and all of the other experts involved will act as a springboard for the development of sustainable tourism businesses with implementation of global best practices.”