Ministry of Tourism Launches Destination Stewardship Councils
NASSAU, Bahamas, January 18, 2022– The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation (MOTIA) recently launched the Bahamas Destination Stewardship Council Initiative to promote sustainable lifestyles, environmental protections and stewardship in The Bahamas.
Last year, MOTIA joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the non-profit organization responsible for establishing global standards in destination management, and promoting sustainable development of tourism worldwide, with the aim of educating local communities on global best practices in sustainable community-based tourism development.
The Bahamas Destination Stewardship Council initiative aims to promote more inclusive tourism development at the community level. The GSTC-led initiative serves to educate and unite the communities through a collaborative effort of the key stakeholders of the tourism industry — members of the local communities, government agencies and business operators — to holistically maintain the integral aspects of the destination, be it aesthetic, economic, environmental, or cultural.
Director of the Family Island Development Department Sandra Russell remarked, "The formation of Sustainable Destination Stewardship Councils in our Family Islands is certainly a game changer for the islands. The work of these councils will propel our islands towards sustainability, ensuring our communities remain intact, community stakeholders are involved in the management of their destinations and businesses are viable, competitive and equipped to achieve long-term success. We are extremely excited to be a part of this project with an end goal of being recognized as a sustainable destination, improving the visitor experience and addressing the needs of host communities. It's a win-win situation for us."
The Destination Stewardship programme chose four islands to execute the sustainable lifestyle initiative: Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Andros and Exuma. These four Family Islands will organize councils comprised of members of both the public and private sector, to discuss and design eco-friendly and culturally enriching projects. The initiative will also focus on promoting more responsible tourism, environmental awareness, and healthier lifestyles.
Bekera Taylor, Chairperson of Eleuthera Sustainability Council Cooperative Society, said of the initiative, “It’s about our heritage, it’s about our environment, it’s about people connecting to make a difference within their island, collaborating to make the island better and stronger. We’re people connecting trying to enhance what we have already been blessed with.”
The councils on Eleuthera and Harbour Island have collaborated with community members on their respective islands to create efficient strategies such as trash management, recycling and installation of additional solar lights to increase sustainability on both islands. Additionally, the councils plan to educate visitors and residents about various landmarks on the islands.
Antoine Brown, Chairperson of the Briland Sustainable Tourism Council, wants to improve the lifestyle of residents and increase awareness of the concept of sustainability. He asserted, “Sustainability is everyone’s business, and I want everyone to be aware of what can cause harm and what needs to be preserved. It is our way of life that is being threatened, and we need to take these things seriously. The smallest little bit helps.”
For those interested in the Bahamas Destination Stewardship Council Initiative, please contact the office of the Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation at 302-2000 ext. 2707. You may also contact any of the following the tourism offices on your island for :
- Central Andros Tourist Office
- Eleuthera Tourist Office
- Exuma Tourist Office
- Harbour Island Tourism Office