Dive industry veteran Dr. Alex Brylske, President of Ocean Education International (OEI), was recently invited to participant in the annual Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development sponsored by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). The overall theme of the conference this year, “Keeping the Right Balance,” acknowledged that the sustainability of tourism in the Caribbean requires proper coordination and the cooperation of all stakeholders, recognizing the need to maintain a balance between economic, environmental and socio-cultural development.
After a minor delay due to Hurricane Dorian, the program brought together a mix of tourism professionals, government officials and non-governmental organizations to highlight how the nations of the Caribbean are advancing sustainability as a major feature of their tourism products. Dr. Brylske sat on a panel discussing “Conservation Matters: Nurturing Our Nature,” and gave a presentation, “The Changing Face of Dive Tourism in the Caribbean: Forging a Sustainable Path Forward.” The presentation included the latest data on dive tourism in the Caribbean and explained how changing diver demo/psychographic are on track to change the nature of dive tourism. He also offered recommendations to dive operators, resource managers and NGOs on how to factor sustainability into their planning and decision-making.
“Attendees at this conference normally aren’t very familiar with dive tourism, so it was a great opportunity to explain how our community is embracing sustainability, and how dive tourism provides an excellent opportunity to turn divers into advocates for marine conservation,” says Brylske. “It was also a great learning experience for me to see how the broader market of adventure tourism is embracing sustainability, and what lessons the dive industry can learn from this sector. Furthermore, readers of Dive Center Business and Dive Training magazine can look forward to hearing about some of what the conference addressed in my new role as Sustainability Editor.”