FEATURE-Techno and test-tubes: Climate-hit Caribbean touts new tourism

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Promoter Ryan Kruger scouted five potential locations for his Vujaday techno festival before opting to carry the five-day event in Barbados, flying in DJs to play to around 1,in April 500 party-goers at a string of dramatic locations round the island.

FEATURE-Techno and test-tubes: Climate-hit Caribbean touts new tourism

Now likely to return next year, Vujaday – alongside gospel and jazz festivals, fertility holidays, sports camps, genealogy and marijuana vacations – is among a patchwork of tourism niches boosting revenues for Caribbean islands.

“We’d this concept of fabricating a destination event beyond THE UNITED STATES where AMERICANS and Western Europeans mostly could go when it had been cold,” said Toronto-based Kruger, some government was had by whose RKET Group support for the function.

“Our people and our operations put 4 about.3 million Barbados dollars ($2.15 million) in to the local economy.”

For the world’s most tourism-dependent region, finding fresh markets could become increasingly important because the impacts of climate change – from rising sea levels to reef degradation and much more powerful storms – take their toll. year by hurricanes Irma and Maria

Swiped last, the low-lying Turks and Caicos Islands are analyzing the risks global warming poses to the tourism industry following the ferocious storms cost $500 million and damaged the favorite Grace Bay beach.

“Of your day by the end, (if) we lose our beaches, we’ve economic challenges,” Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The British overseas territory is selling itself as a spot for eco-tourism also, weddings and conferences – and is even calling star basketball players seeking somewhere warm to perform training camps off-season.

According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), year about 30 million people flocked to the spot last, bringing much-needed forex, and supporting jobs and businesses on many islands fighting high degrees of public debt.

In Barbados, the global world Travel & Tourism Council estimates nearly 40 percent of jobs and economic activity derive directly or indirectly from tourism – but climate change is really a threat.

FEATURE-Techno;}The whole business of climate change has been section of … the sustainable development discussion for some time in the Caribbean,” said CTO head Hugh Riley. “The truth is understood by us of girding our loins for future years.” tobago&rsquo and

Trinidad; s exuberant Barbados&rsquo and carnival; Every year crop Over Festival have long taken in thousands.

But cuisine now, motorsports, horse-racing, wellness and rum-plantation stays are on the list of tourism draws growing in popularity, he added.

“A lot more travelers, vacation planners and their clients have become alert to the known fact the Caribbean is really a region of tremendous diversity,” he said.

The unique history of the spot is really a pull, with Havana, Santo and bridgetown Domingo on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Curacao’s synagogue, the oldest in continuous used in the Americas, attracts people investigating Jewish history, he said.

As some islands look at legalizing marijuana, holidays for both medical and recreational users could appeal down the track also, said Riley.

LESS-STRESS IVF

For debt-burdened islands in your community, balancing the expense of protecting the natural assets that lure tourists, such as for example coral beaches and reefs, contrary to the lucrative returns from development remains a tricky act, said one academic.

“Conservation it&rsquo isn’t free -;s costly,” said Peter Schuhmann, a University of NEW YORK economics professor.

Education for overseas students is a income source long, with countries like Grenada enrolling them in its university and medical school.

But several countries are thinking about medical tourism, which from the Cayman Islands aside, has been slow to expand in your community despite quick access for U.S. patients.

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For Jessica Wilson, your choice to take an “IVF holiday” to Barbados with her husband was simple, with the offer of a personalized service in any occasion destination at considerably less expensive than in her home city of Atlanta, Georgia.

“It’s an extremely stressful process – until you’re over there, you don’t realize just how much you can’t beat this vacation-type atmosphere,” said the academic advisor.

Juliet Skinner, whose Barbados Fertility Centre promotes “treatment in paradise with less stress”, per year in the internationally accredited clinic performs around 450 fresh IVF cycles, and says Americans have become her biggest clientele.

HERITAGE-HUNTING

The knock-on benefits feed to the neighborhood economy, as patients usually spend fourteen days in Barbados for treatment at a simple rate of around $6,000 in comparison to $12,000-$15,000 in the usa, said the physician.

“They’re high-net worth (individuals) – they’re going to consume in your restaurants, they’re likely to use your attractions, they’re likely to use your taxis, and support your tourism economy,” said Skinner in her office with sea views.

Medical care remains an extremely small area of the Barbados tourism market but “can only just be considered a bonus”, she added.

Looking for new methods to utilize its vast diaspora in america, Panama and britain, Barbados’ tourism board is keen to attract those attempting to locate their heritage.

Stored in a former leprosy hospital on the edge of the administrative centre Bridgetown, some records date back again to the 1600s for the island that has been once a trans-shipment point for Africans taken to are slaves in the Caribbean.

“We’re attempting to pull it as market niche together, and it’s coming very good together,” said Madge Dalrymple of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority.

While turquoise seas, coral sand beaches and a balmy climate will probably remain the principal draw for almost all tourists to the Caribbean, some say diversification could open new markets and bring a competitive edge.

“There’s great prospect of a myriad of niche tourism markets beyond sun, sand and sea,” said professor Schuhmann.

($1 = 1.9981 Barbados dollars)

Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Robert and Rowling Carmichael. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, property and trafficking rights. Visit news.trust.org/