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8th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism
Development Set for April 25-29, 2006 in Puerto Rico
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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Feb. 3, 2006) -- The economic benefits of sustainable tourism and its implications for the social and cultural environment, will be the central focus of the 8th Annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, also known as the Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-8), to be held this year in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
 
The April 25-29 conference, which has as its theme, Keeping the Right Balance – Economic Progress and Sustainable Tourism, will stress the importance of balancing the gains of tourism development while cherishing the value of the natural environment, said Mareba Scott, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s sustainable tourism product specialist.
 
“The Conference will examine key challenges that threaten our economic viability and ultimately the sustainability of our tourism industry,” Ms. Scott said. “Not only will we assess the impacts, we will also explore the opportunities for product initiatives.”

She said the conference would also provide an opportunity for the sharing of best practices in the area of sustainable tourism development, with the host destination, Puerto Rico, as one of the case studies. 

A dynamic programme is being finalized and will include plenary sessions, workshops and study tours. The annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development is part of the information dissemination and regional awareness component of CTO’s Strategy for Sustainable Tourism. It looks at how member states can design and implement sustainable tourism policies and programmes, offering a regional forum for information exchange on the successes and pitfalls of national, regional and international initiatives. 

STC-8 is organized by CTO in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PTRC), and co-sponsored by the European Union within the framework of the Caribbean Regional Sustainable Tourism Development programme (CRSTDP.

Caribbean Regional Sustainable Tourism Development Programme 
 
The CRSTDP is an eight million euro programme to be implemented over a three year period by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) as implementing agencies. 
 
It gives the opportunity to have the main Caribbean tourism public and private sector organisations (CTO and CHA) work co-operatively and share responsibilities in programme activities and implementation.
 
Funded by the European Union, the CRSTDP’s objective is to contribute to making the Caribbean tourism sector more competitive and more sustainable, contributing to economic growth and poverty reduction and to fostering the sustainability and competitiveness of the Caribbean tourism sector through the establishment of a sustainable development policy framework. 
 
Puerto Rico
 
Puerto Rico is the smallest of the Caribbean Greater Antilles, measuring 100 miles (161 km) long by 35 miles (56.3 km) wide. Also known as the “Island of Enchantment,” it is a vibrant, modern, multicultural society, molded by Spanish, African, Indian and U.S. influences. The island features historic sites and architecture that compliment a dynamic lifestyle of lively music, art centers, shopping and culinary delicacies ranging from traditional to innovative dishes.

The island is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Beaches surround the island while a central mountain range, with elevations up to 4,398 feet (1,338 meters), runs throughout its center, creating lush vegetation in the north and arid climate in the south. Puerto Rico is also comprised of four off the coast islands and numerous cays. The country’s unique geography allows for a variety of opportunities, no matter your interest: Nature walks in tropical and dry forests, visits to cave systems, bird-watching, hiking, mountain climbing, diving and snorkeling, swimming in bioluminescent bays, surfing, kayaking, and great diversity for invigorating experiences.
 
The Caribbean Tourism Organization  

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency and comprises membership of over 30 member governments and a myriad of private sector entities.
 
The CTO’s mission is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people.  The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics, information technology and sustainable tourism development.  The CTO disseminates information on behalf of its member governments to consumers and the travel trade. 
 
CTO’s New York office is located at 80 Broad Street, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10004, USA; Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635-9511; E-mail: ctony@caribtourism.com.  

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Contact:

Johnson JohnRose, CTO
Tel:        (246) 427-5242
E-mail:   jjohnrose@caribtourism.com

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Also See: Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Comments on Theme for 28th Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference Set for October 21-26, 2005 in U.S. Virgin Islands / July 2005

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