BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has launched an online risk management course aimed at improving the skills and competencies of regional tourism industry stakeholders.
The CTO said that the initiative is part of its ongoing program to help guide tourism sector response to multiple hazards and to enhance the sector’s resilience.
The Multi-Hazard Risk Management for the Caribbean Tourism Sector, is being launched to coincide with the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which forecasters predict will be an overactive one with as many as 20 named storms, up to ten hurricanes – up to five of which will be category three or higher.
CTO said that at a recent online discussion organized to help member countries prepare for the season, meteorologist Dr. Athena Massan indicated that sea temperatures had reached 80 degrees in late April, more than two months ahead of a normal year, increasing the likelihood of tropical storms affecting the Caribbean.
“With the scientists predicting an active season, the launch of this training course by the CTO is both timely and relevant as it will provide participants with practical skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from not just hurricanes, but the range of natural and other hazards which can affect the Caribbean tourism industry,” said Neil Walters, the CTO’s acting secretary general.
The CTO said the three-month certificate course, which runs until August, was specifically designed to reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of the tourism sector in member countries through an integrated approach to risk management.
It’s also meant to help thrust climate change adaptation and disaster risk management strategies in public and private sector tourism development, policy formulation, planning and business operations, to the fore.
The online program is the first of two self-paced online training courses offered by the CTO to increase the skills and competencies of regional tourism industry stakeholders in sustainable tourism practices and support institutional strengthening in disaster risk management and climate change adaptation. The second course on sustainable tourism policy and development is scheduled to begin in September.
“The ability to deliver opportunities for online learning has become critically important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is of strategic importance to the CTO and in addition to these first two courses, the CTO is in the process of updating its various professional development courses to adapt for online delivery.
“CTO is grateful for the support of its project partners that have assisted in the organization's ability to deliver on this important mandate,” Walters added.
The CTO said that the courses developed to foster implementation, adaptation and use of these resources include practical exercises, downloadable templates, and self-assessment.
Both courses were adapted from two publications recently produced by the CTO – the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy and Development Framework and the Multi-Hazard Risk Management Guide for the Caribbean Tourism Sector.
They are part of the CTO’s ‘Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry’ project being implemented with funding and technical support to the tune of €460,173 from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through the African Caribbean Pacific and European Union- funded Natural Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) program.
“The CTO has been proactive in developing the two courses on topics that are instrumental to guide tourism sector resilience and response, given the multi-hazard context which confronts the region post COVID-19 and considering the predicted busy Atlantic hurricane season and the on-going challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the already highly exposed and vulnerable Caribbean tourism industry to climate and disaster risks and impacts,” noted Dr. Yves Robert Personna, NDRM project manager at the CDB.
“The CDB commends the foresight and vision of the CTO in seeking to provision these resources for the regional tourism sector.”