Today’s travelers are booking experiential vacations that allow them to immerse themselves in the culture, people and history of a destination—that’s according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Recognizing this, indigenous communities across the Caribbean are accessing tourism markets and welcoming visitors to encounter their traditional ways of life.
To highlight this important development, the CTO will host a general session at the upcoming Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development (Sustainable Tourism Conference) on the topic.
The panel titled “Indigenous Conversations – Celebrating Our Past, Embracing Our Future” will look at the changing composition of local livelihoods and demonstrate how the region’s indigenous people have a tangible role and stake in the Caribbean tourism value chain. Indigenous communities are utilizing tourism markets to embrace expanded entrepreneurial opportunities, adding new dimensions to their sources of income, and create niches that are increasingly sought-after.
Session speakers include Uwahnie Martinez, the director of Palmento Grove Garifuna Eco Cultural & Fishing Institute in Belize, a private island retreat owned and operated by local Garifuna people; Colonel Marcia “Kim” Douglas of Jamaica’s Charles Town Maroon Community; a representative of the Indian Creek Mayan Art Women’s Group of Belize and Rudolph Edwards, the toshao (chief) of Rewa village in Guyana, a small Amerindian community of about 300 people, mostly from the Makushi tribe, who founded the Rewa Eco-Lodge in 2005 in an effort to protect their land for generations to come.
The session will be led by Dr. Zoila Ellis Browne, who was born in Belize and is the head of the Garifuna Heritage Foundation in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where she is committed to the development of her indigenous heritage. A magistrate by profession, Dr. Browne also volunteers as technical program consultant to the foundation, a Vincentian non-governmental organization promoting Garifuna heritage and culture.
The Sustainable Tourism Conference takes place August 26 –19, 2019, at the Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is organized by CTO in partnership with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority.