July 13, 2022
Ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry throughout the Caribbean and Latin America has been struggling to reach its previous highs. Now, more than two years later, things are picking back up. Tourists are flocking to the beautiful beaches and vibrant culture of our towns and cities, eager to take out their pent up energy and saved money from missing out on previous summers.
It’s this renewed influx of people, travel, and all the other unseen or unmentioned aspects that come with them that makes eco-consciousness more important than ever. Though our part of the world’s natural beauty is its calling card—without protection, our businesses and economies could lose far more than they did from COVID-19.
One of the most essential natural draws of our area are the gorgeous and thriving coral reefs. These reefs support hundreds of thousands of livelihoods throughout the region. Recently, the Nature Conservancy, Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, and United Nations Environment Program joined together to present a guide for coral reef restoration—with a specific emphasis on the tourism sector.
The guide provides best practices to follow and takes aim at barriers that have previously prevented efforts to conserve these environments, all backed by highly scientific data and research. The timing could not be more perfect as the travel industry finds itself in the midst of a shift toward more ecological and sustainable tourism trends.
Some of the opportunities and recommendations the guide emphasizes include the development of a recognition program aimed to incentivize and highlight conservation efforts, the distribution of educational and awareness materials to tour guides and popular destinations, increasing tourism staff capacity, and advising governments of the positive economic benefits of the reefs in hopes of encouraging more funding for conservation.
The guide also makes sure to address climate change and how small the window of opportunity for action is.
GCG Group understands the essential role that tourism plays in our region, and for those whose lives depend on it. We encourage you to download and review the guide here, and do your part to conserve our coral reefs.
We all look forward to continuing to welcome the world to our homes for decades to come!