On April 18, we brought together educators, scientists, government officials, developers, resort operators, and stakeholders on Eleuthera to learn from past experiences and chart new territory for tourism products and sustainable development. Here are some of the highlights from the day-long symposium.
After a morning of run and swim track, we started the day with a big spread of breakfast food with all of the adults who came for the Symposium on Tourism and Coastal Development. There were members from the local and national Bahamian government, Island School Board Members, the Kinship Fellows, One Eleuthera members, scientists from around the world, and others associated with The Island School. We also had the Deep Creek Middle School students attending the conference throughout the day and we were able to spend more time with our DCMS buddies in a new environment.
The symposium started off with Junkanoo to bring energy and life into the day. Everyone was smiling and clapping as the DCMS students marched through campus. Then we all sat down to listen to a keynote speaker, Clay Sweeting, who talked about Bahamian culture and governmental policy. After he spoke, we got to choose to talk with a panel of experts either about tourism development in South Eleuthera or waste management. I went to the tourism development where we discussed what went wrong with the abandoned resorts and what could be done in the future to bring tourism back. Ideas were shared throughout the room, creating some debate, but overall producing proposals for tourism development. We concluded that small resorts that have sustainable systems and are a part of the national plan would be the most successful here on Eleuthera. It was a unique opportunity to here the ideas of the residents of Eleuthera, the visitors of Eleuthera, scientists, and Island School students. Continue reading