by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | November 27, 2018
The Caribbean Tourism Organization will publish a disaster risk-management guide for the Caribbean tourism sector. The new initiative is part of the organization's objective to foster a culture of preparedness in destination management.
The CTO said the handbook, "Disaster Risk Management Guide for the Caribbean Tourism Sector: a Practical Handbook for Tourism Business and Policymakers," which targets tourism businesses and policymakers, will cover preparedness, response and recovery from the hazards that impact and/or potentially threaten the region, namely hurricanes. The manual will provide guidelines for climate-change mitigation and adaptation, showcase regional and international best practices in comprehensive disaster management, and present strategies for effective response protocols before, during and after a disaster.
"The current and future impacts of climate variability and climate change -- which includes an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, flood and droughts, among others -- make it imperative that countries, particularly the regional tourism sector, be equipped to adequately prepare for, respond to and recover from climate-related hazards," said Amanda Charles, the CTO's sustainable tourism development specialist.
The handbook, to be available in early 2019, is one component of the CTO's ongoing project, "Supporting a Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry" initiative. Other components include a series of training workshops in disaster risk-management and climate resilience, aimed at sharing knowledge and best practices on strategies related to climate-change mitigation and adaptation, as well as identifying approaches to enhance tourism-sector preparedness, response and resilience to climate-related hazards.
The CTO turned to a team of consultants from the University of Technology of Jamaica to produce the guidebook, who will also be conducting one- and two-day training sessions on disaster relief management. The target audience for these training sessions are tourism employees and decision-makers from the public and private sectors, as well as representatives from key ancillary sectors such as air and sea port authorities and disaster management agencies who play a key role in tourism disaster management across the Caribbean region. 
"Given the vulnerability of the tourism sector to climate-related disruptions, the CTO is pleased to deliver this training to our member countries as part of efforts to support climate sensitization and capacity enhancement in disaster management," said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the CTO, in a statement. "As we move towards realizing the vision of an industry that is climate smart and resilient, we must make every effort to reduce the risks of climate change and related hazards by effecting the necessary policies and being trained to respond swiftly and efficiently to manage and mitigate risks."