Address by Hon. Gerald Berkel
Governor, St. Eustatius
At the Opening of the 3rd annual Statia Sustainable Conference
Mike Van Putten Youth Centre
Oranjestan, St. Eustatius
Thursday 25 September 2014
It is an honor for me to welcome you to St.Eustatius and in particular to the 3rd Annual Sustainable Conference with the theme Tourism development in the community. The theme for this year’s conference is quite appropriately chosen to match the dynamic of our island community. The greatest asset of any tourist destination is in fact our people, who are both host to our guests that are received and custodians of the environment that provides our guest with the unique experience they are in search of. St.Eustatius provides a unique mixture of natural beauty, peace and tranquility that is complemented by a friendly and welcoming society, which makes a perfect fit for the person seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of their busy lives for a moment of peace and reflection. The discussions that will take place in the coming days will seek to explain how best to merge these two special components together so that they enhance each other in providing the experience we envision. The community at the core of our tourism philosophy will encourage ownership and a shared feeling of responsibility to sustain the warm welcoming environment that we have all become accustomed to and that our guest find so appealing. As a community when we commit to the idea of community based tourism this results in a product that is not only special but sustainable as we would then naturally pass on the philosophy as an integral part of our culture to the next generation and the next.
With the community as our basis, St.Eustatius can be assured of a fruitful and secure tourism product. A sustainable tourism product represents a key economic pillar that helps to provide a stable and steady growth. I encourage everyone to actively participate in the sessions planned with you in mind, so that when this conference is over we can apply the knowledge acquired to further build on the special experience we already offer. I would like to congratulate the organizers for their effort in bringing this conference to our community and wish all participating a healthy and fruitful exchange.