Regional Dialogues

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.


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?



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?




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?




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?




The fifth and final UNDP Future Tourism Regional Dialogue V: “Building an inclusive and sustainable tourism future” concluded with three outstanding Caribbean professionals sharing innovative ideas that can affect the capacity of Small Island Development States (SIDS) in building a more inclusive and sustainable tourism industry going forward. This was coupled with the perspectives of two leading financial institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) from the European Union, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), on financing sustainable solutions.

The main themes covered were:

  • Theme I - Governance and indicators for better decision-making and coordination within the Caribbean Tourism industry.
  • Theme II - Sustainable financing mechanisms for supporting climate resilience and diversity in tourism development.
  • Theme III – Pragmatic ideas for sustainable Tourism in the Caribbean.


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