Sustainable Destinations Alliance for the Americas
Content submitted by UNWTO – Mariam Giorgadze
Submited Date : 15/10/2018

The SDAA focuses on two of the most tourism dependent regions in the world – the Caribbean and Central America. These regions are also biodiversity hotspots, particularly for marine ecosystems, and are highly susceptible to climate change vulnerability. If inappropriately managed, tourism may aggravate challenges in these areas, such as the misuse or degradation of precious ecosystems, economic leakages, and a loss of cultural traditions in face of rising homogenization. However, tourism can also be a powerful mechanism for addressing such issues by supporting conservation efforts, moves to protect reefs and forests, initiatives to safeguard culture and heritage, and by providing much-needed employment opportunities, foreign exchange earnings and prospects for investment.

To harness tourism’s potential in this regard, the SDAA was launched in March 2014 by Sustainable Travel International (STI) and a range of partner organizations, listed below. This innovative public-private partnership is grounded upon a shared commitment to building resilience in local communities, improving the way tourism is managed, and enhancing competitiveness in destinations across the Caribbean and Latin America. Eleven destinations – mainly coastal regions and islands that are highly popular with tourists – are part of the Alliance, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico, and St Kitts and Nevis.

The SDAA demonstrates how sustainably managed tourism can be efficiently managed at the regional level to improve lives and protect the environment. The SDAA’s objectives are to:
– Maximize tourism’s benefits for local communities and residents;
– Protect the region’s natural and cultural assets by conserving its land and marine resources; and
– Embed sustainability practices in the day-to-day management and marketing of destinations.