Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Tessa Perkins, Country Coordinator attached to the Ministry of Tourism, said that it is important for locals to be actively involved in their communities, hence the continued support for community-based tourism in St. Kitts from local and global partners.
“There is a lot of support globally and nationally. Look no further than the Ministry of Tourism and the Sustainable Development Council (SDC) and everything that they are doing,” said Ms. Perkins on ‘Working for You’ on June 02. “Globally, non-profit NGOs, groups like Sustainable Travel International are constantly encouraging community-based tourism. Research shows that it is one of the most sustainable ways to approach, conserve and protect cultural, tangible and intangible assets when it comes to tourism, making sure that you have that local insight, that local control.”
Ms. Perkins added that community-based tourism not only encourages a deeper connection between locals and visitors, but it also promotes environmental protection, cultural conservation, social responsibility, and the enhancement of livelihoods.
She added that community-based tourism plays an important role in enabling community empowerment and preserving the traditional value of the local community.
“It is important for the visitors’ experience, making sure it is authentic. It is also important for the locals… making sure that they know that they have a say and they know that it starts and stops with them. So, there is quite a bit of support out there for it,” she said.
The Ministry of Tourism continues to play its part to ensure that focus is placed on community-based tourism. In 2020, a tourism training workshop was held with an emphasis placed on community-based tourism. The workshop, which was labelled ‘The Community and You’, was held to place residents and tourism stakeholders at the forefront of all tourism-focused development as their contributions, ideas and abiding sense of focus/purpose are key to a dynamic, competitive, and sustainable tourism product.
Sustainable Travel International that launched the Heart of St. Kitts Sustainability Charter and Foundation, has projects focused on developing community-driven tourism products; conserving marine and coastal habitats; improving waste management, and preserving local cultural and heritage sites.