Some of those attending yesterday’s press conference on the STOREM project.

Focused on sustainable tourism

A three-year project geared towards the development of new curricula in sustainable tourism and resource management has been launched, and it is expected to be tremendous benefit to countries within the Caribbean.

Speaking yesterday morning at a press conference at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus to introduce the initiative, dubbed the Sustainable Tourism, Optimal Resource and Environmental Management (STOREM) Project, Dr. Janice Cumberbatch, Lecturer, Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), said that the project which has an overall budget of 893 820 euros, is timely and fits nicely into The UWI’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022. That plan, she said, is a Triple “A” Strategy – access, alignment and agility.

“STOREM is a perfect opportunity that would allow us to meet this Triple “A” mandate and of course in no better area than sustainable tourism, which is the lifeblood of the Caribbean. We are indeed the most tourism dependent region in the world and as we try to support our national economies and our citizens’ livelihood through tourism, we struggle to do this with the challenges being presented to us by climate change,” she noted.

With that in mind, Dr. Cumberbatch said that the work completed during the project will help with the development of tools, learning technologies and content, and enhance the management competencies of regional higher educational institutions as it relates to the regional thematic priority of tourism.

Meanwhile, Professor Anna Pinna, STOREM Project Coordinator, University of Cagliari, Italy, speaking more to the project, explained that there will be preparatory period during which they define and design the content of two new Masters degrees and a new set of courses to be integrated into existing graduate programmes; then there is an accreditation process, which she noted could take around a year to accomplish.

The final year of the project, she explained, will be dedicated to the implementation of the new courses and the new master degrees, which they anticipate will attract enrolment of between 35 to 40 individuals. She said that programme will be worth 60 credits and will run for a period of one year.

“The beginning of the third year, that would be November of 2020, we are going to have the definition of the new courses that are going to be implemented,” she said.

Adding to her comments, Dr. Cumberbatch said the new courses that will be created can be integrated into CERMES’ existing programmes almost immediately. Moreover, she said that they will be liaising with tourism industry partners as well, noting that there can be no discussion on sustainable tourism without having contact with such agencies as the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.

“Various partners within the region can anticipate knocks on their doors and emails for their involvement in the coming programme. There is no way you can roll out a programme in sustainable tourism without knowing what is happening. Certainly I know CTO has been doing some serious research on sustainable tourism, putting together a revised policy for the region, so we want to link with all that they are doing. We are not seeking to recreate the wheel, we don’t have time to recreate the wheel; what we are trying to be is synergistic and leverage what is going on and enhance what is going on,” she added. (JRT)

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