As part of its goal to support the recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the United Nations Development Programme UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean has recently formalized a partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which will assist in enhancing the knowledge of tourism-based MSMEs in the areas of Community-based Tourism (CBT).
This support is multi-pronged in approach and aims to help MSMEs by converting the CBT Enterprise Handbook, jointly developed by the CTO and the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF), into a self-paced and user-friendly online course. Through this capacity-building initiative, which will be led by the CTO, tourism stakeholders will be provided with access to convenient, up to date and innovative training to support their CBT development efforts, improve their business skills and productivity. The Online Course will be hosted via the recently launched Caribbean Tourism Institute and include animated lectures, activity work sheets, case studies, videos and knowledge-test assessments that will form part of a user-focussed interactive e-learning package.
“In order to create a more sustainable and inclusive tourism industry, there must be capacity building for both public and private stakeholders within the industry,” Valerie Cliff, Resident Representative UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean noted. “Community-based tourism provides the opportunity for tourists to have authentic experiences while ensuring that MSMEs are also beneficiaries and guardians of well-developed tourism strategies, which embraces the unique cultural heritage of the region. To realise this vision, collaboration with stakeholders such as the CTO, the lead regional organisation on tourism, is critical if we want to strengthen the capacity of MSMEs throughout the region.” She also highlighted the need for greater collaboration with regional tourism stakeholders, as a conduit for regional transformation in the tourism sector.
The collaboration is being delivered in the frame of the UNDP Future Tourism Project, which aims to create socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable value chains. The Future-Tourism project was developed out of a need to adapt to the new post-COVID-19 environment and to build resilience within the economic sectors of the region. This collaboration with the CTO is one of many collaborative efforts, which seek to improve the long-term socioeconomic and cultural interests of the region.
CTO’s Acting Secretary General, Mr. Neil Walters, speaking on the collaboration, expressed his appreciation to the UNDP for the support and technical assistance to the CTO and by extension, the regional tourism sector. He added, “The CTO has identified CBT as a regional tourism development strategy. This is further justified by the shift in tourism demand enabling the evolution of niche markets and specially curated tourism products in the areas of rural and indigenous tourism, heritage and wellness tourism. As we herald a new era of Caribbean tourism, industry resilience and recovery should incorporate the introduction of innovative ideas for product diversification and enhancement, and capacity-building for various stakeholders including MSMEs to navigate the new normal and generate more direct benefits from tourism”.
The Online Course will facilitate delivery of training to the widest possible regional audience, and is expected to enhance CBT know-how, improve quality standards in the region, and contribute to the success and viability of MSMEs in host communities. Participants will obtain a Certificate for successful completion of the course, which will add value to regional populations that have scarce opportunities for professional development.
The UNDP Future Tourism project aims to assist governments with identifying and implementing tourism revitalisation strategies, as well as enhancing the resilience of MSMEs to external shocks while advancing their recovery and supporting digital transformation. With UNDP’s partnership with the CTO, phase 2 which aims to provide technical support for MSME retooling and access to markets within the tourism value chain, MSMEs will benefit from the additional support of the self-paced course which will provide an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills.
As part of its commitment to promote economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the “Blue Economy for Green Islands” vision, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean aims to continue to leverage partnerships with key stakeholders in the region. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region and the creation of resilient communities which can withstand shocks and crises through targeted projects and programmes.
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