ROSEAU, DOMINICA — Dominica is one of the first seven destinations to participate in the new Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas (SDAA) supported by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Ocean Fund. The program will help Dominica to balance the protection and enhancement of its rich natural and cultural assets, which appeal to the growing tourism market interested in responsible management practices and authentic travel experiences.
“The long-term success and viability of the tourism sector is paramount to Dominica’s ability to achieve our sustainable development goals,” said Colin Piper, CEO/Director of Tourism of Discover Dominica Authority. “Through this timely initiative, we are confident that we can further improve the management and coordination of tourism across sectors, in order to ensure that we harness the power of tourism as a force for good in our community.”
Dominica has long branded itself the “Nature Island”, and with good reason, given the destination’s unique island topography and natural treasures. In addition to protection of its vast resources and mitigation of climate change impacts, Dominica has an opportunity to explore diversification of its tourism product through increased focus on cultural heritage.
“We want to have a positive impact in the places where we do business,” said Rich Pruitt, Vice President, Safety and Environmental Stewardship, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We want to see unique, beautiful destinations like Dominica thrive, and are committed to collaborating with the organizations that can work to move these destinations toward greater sustainability.”
From September 22 – 25, Dominica embarked on the first of three steps as part of the SDAA process. During this week, Jeremy Sampson, from Sustainable Travel International, worked closely with Dominican stakeholders on Sustainable Travel International’s signature Rapid Destination Diagnostic tool. The evaluation guided stakeholders to develop a snapshot of the destination’s performance on 118 internationally recognized sustainability indicators. The completed assessment outlines good practices, risks and opportunities, as well as recommendations for improvement, implementation and capacity building.
Mr. Sampson will return to Dominica next week to engage the nation’s tourism stakeholders and decision makers in the second step, part of which an action planning forum scheduled to take place on Tuesday October 14, 2014 at the Fort Young Hotel. This gathering will help the country’s stakeholders to validate priorities from the first stage of the assessment, and design an action plan to tackle identified “quick win” projects.
In the final phase of SDAA, a destination monitoring framework will be developed for Dominica through the development of a proprietary digital Destination Management System (DMS). Collected data can be input into this system, providing the tools to develop customized measurement reports and report on successes. Additional support will be offered to educate and train stakeholders on sustainable tourism practices, and to craft enhanced market positioning focused on sustainability.
The full list of SDAA partners includes Sustainable Travel International, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), the Organization of American States (OAS), Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), and the United States Government through the United States Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States.