The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has joined as a Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

With over 700 islands and cays, and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas lies 50 miles off the coast of Florida. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA) is an organization laid out in the Constitution of 1973 and in charge of the Department of Aviation since 2017. BMOTA promotes and develops tourism, and coordinates aeronautic services and air traffic licenses inside the national territory.

Sustainability as a Priority

During the COVID-19 global travel interruption in 2020, BMOTA invested time in a series of capacity building and destination stewardship programs with GSTC. Setting sustainable tourism development and management as a priority for recovery and resilience building, BMOTA arranged for staff and tourism industry stakeholders to participate in an online course of GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP). Participants represented a cross-section of public and private sector organizations from various Bahamas destinations, including New Providence, Andros, Harbour Island, Abaco, Eleuthera, San Salvador, Exuma, Long Island, Bimini, Cat Island and Grand Bahama Island. 

Destination Stewardship

Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation

In the months following, GSTC has been working with several of The Bahamas Family Islands on workshops and programming to support the establishment of Destination Stewardship Councils which will implement the GSTC Destination Criteria, and council members have expressed excitement about the opportunity to shape more sustainable development of their local communities. Both GSTC and The Bahamas look forward to sharing the results of this work in the coming months.

“The compelling physical beauty and geographic diversity of the Islands of The Bahamas make them a top destination for travellers from all ends of the earth year-over-year,” said the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation. “We see It as our duty to ensure that we are doing all that we can to maintain the health of our country’s environmental ecosystems and protection of its biodiversity for the future generations, and our alignment with GSTC is an essential step in that journey.”

“We are grateful to be a partner in GSTC’s global efforts and look forward to enhancing our commitment to sustainable tourism in The Bahamas, using their Destination Criteria as a critical guide to success,” remarked Kristal Bethel, Senior Director, Sustainable Tourism, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation.

GSTC Welcomes the Bahamas

“We welcome The Bahamas as a member of GSTC, joining a growing group of National Tourism Organizations from throughout the world. GSTC also applauds the initiative of The Bahamas in taking advantage of a series of GSTC training and capacity building resources to better position this island nation for a strong recovery and more resilient future,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

“The Bahamas showed strategic foresight launching this partnership with GSTC at this critical moment,” says Kathleen Pittman, GSTC Program Director for the Caribbean, and Strategic Partnerships. “Driving our work together is The Bahamas’ priority of tourism recovery with local community benefits as the central objective.”

GSTC encourages NTOs and DMOs (destinations) pursuing sustainability practices in development and management of tourism, to join as GSTC members and apply the GSTC Destination Criteria, as well as support local business to apply the GSTC Industry Criteria. Destinations can eventually aim for achieving certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body as a sustainable tourist destination.