Published on Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tourism is out of control, Caribbean sustainable conference is told

Tourism is out of control, according to Costas Christ, editor-at-large of National Geographic Magazine.

Making the keynote speech at The 12th Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Conference in Bermuda this week, he said lack of control and awareness of sustainability has led to the destruction of many pristine sites.

He cited examples such as Haad Rin, the venue for the infamous Full Moon party in Thailand.

Christ believes the industry will only get it right if it heeds three basic principles:

- Reduce, reuse, recycle

- Protect culture, heritage and nature

- Ensure that tourism brings many social benefits for locals.

"Whilst much progress has been made there is much more than can be done here in the Caribbean and in the rest of the world," he said.

"No stone should be left unturned in our pursuit of a more sustainable environment and through that a more sustainable tourism product."

Under questioning from the audience, Christ admitted that an even tougher challenge lay ahead in balancing the demands of a tourism economy and those of maintaining cultural, topographical and heritage differences.

"Only in this way will the Caribbean remain competitive," he said.

Bermuda Premier Paula Cox

Delegates at the conference were welcomed by addresses from CTO"s High Riley and the Bermuda and Premier Paula Cox, who also extolled the virtues of an environmentally balanced tourism economy.

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