As part of COVID-19 recovery efforts UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in collaboration with ten countries and territories and partners, has launched the Fut-Tourism project to support governments, national institutions and private sector including Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to quickly adapt and respond to the new needs of a new tourism demand.
A key component of this project are the Fut-Tourism Regional Dialogues: a 5-part series of weekly panels, facilitating catalytic discussions which will contribute towards shaping the future of tourism in the region.
THE FUTURE OF TOURISM, WHAT IS NEXT?
This high-level discussion aimed to raise awareness on the critical aspects in tourism that can fundamentally affect the speed, sustainability, and inclusiveness of economic recovery in the Eastern Caribbean.
Dialogue 1 focused on three main themes:
Theme 1: The value of short-term vs long-term visitors for Caribbean countries. The pandemic created new market segments and destroyed others – which ones should be targeted in the future and why?
Theme 2: New market trends are shifting consumer demand and creating new opportunities for Caribbean MSMEs.
Theme 3: Digital and technological innovation – a transformation involving diverse sectors is necessary for the region. Where are we?
FUTURE TOURISM: THE NEW PROFILE OF VISITORS
Following the successful kick-off of the UNDP Future Tourism Regional Dialogues with the high-level panel, we continued the series with the next dialogue “The new profile of visitors, a market-driven approach to accelerate recovery”.
Dialogue 2 focused on 2 main themes:
Theme 1: Remote work programs: Six Eastern Caribbean countries have launched remote work programs since 2020. Why are remote work programs considered a more sustainable approach to development? What social and economic impact do they have in the short and long term?
Theme 2: New market trends are shifting consumer demand. International visitors are interested in staying longer (7 days pre-pandemic VS 11 days in January 2021), more inclined to travel with family, want authentic experiences, and are reluctant to travel to crowded destinations. Domestic and regional travelers – can their “staycation” and “workcation” also help MSMEs to survive in times of travel restrictions?
FUTURE TOURISM: THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
In the third installment of the #UNDPFutureTourism Regional Dialogues, the panel discussed how digital transformation could provide opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and how Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean are well poised to embrace innovative technology.
Dialogue 3 focused on 4 main themes:
Theme 1: An online presence is essential but what does it mean for MSMEs? Digital platforms are used to engage customers before, during and after traveling. What are the top priorities for MSMEs to establish an online presence?
Theme 2: Online booking and online payment. 53% of MSMEs that can take online bookings cannot take online payment. What are the issues? What can be done to help more MSMEs process digital payments online?
Theme 3: Mobile payment. In terms of payment using mobile phone, a fundamental change is happening in the OECS with the availability of Dcash. What does that mean for the MSMEs involved in tourism?
Theme 4: Other digital and technological innovation. What is already being done in the Caribbean in terms of digital innovation as it relates to health and safety? Can digital vaccination passport be driven by Caribbean countries?
FUTURE TOURISM: INCLUSIVE VALUE CHAINS
The UNDP Future Tourism Regional Dialogues continued with the fourth of our five conversations focusing on “A value chain approach for an inclusive and sustainable recovery of tourism: How to establish more effective linkages in the tourism ecosystem?”.
Dialogue 4 aimed to answer some of the following questions:
- How can linkages between vulnerable groups - including women as a workforce group and your significant migrant labour force in tourism - be established to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic development given the market opportunities available?
- To build forward better, how can UNDP help MSMEs, and vulnerable groups to connect more directly with the sustainable market opportunities identified such as digital nomads and long-stay visitors?
- Can science-based indicators and value chain approaches foster a more sustainable recovery of the tourism sector going forward?
- Monitoring and reporting results are important to improve decision making, how can this process help reduce emissions and improve resource efficiency? Who are the beneficiaries of this approach?
- The Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association has demonstrated great leadership in the use of inclusive value chains and establishment of linkages with the food and waste sectors. Can these partnerships with value chain actors result in better environmental performance and sustainability of the hospitality industry?
- How is CHTA supporting the tourism industry’s efforts to recover from the pandemic? How can MSMEs benefit from these opportunities? How can linkages among these different stakeholders be strengthened?