PUNTA CANA — The D.R.’s Minister of Tourism, David Collado, has called on the Ministers of Tourism of the UNWTO to seek a common solution to the sargassum problem.
Minister Collado said individual actions will not solve the problem.
Sargassum has been the bane of tourism officials in parts of the Caribbean, Mexico and U.S. states including Florida for a long time, but has ramped up exponentially in recent years. The brown seaweed accumulates in giant masses, floating in the ocean and then washing ashore on the beach.
Minister Collado issued a fervent appeal to the members of the UNWTO’s Executive Council, which met this week in the D.R., to unite to seek a common solution to common problems such as sargassum.
“The solution to the Sargassum problem cannot be individual,” Minister Collado said in his opening speech at the 118th meeting of the UNWTO executive council, which kicked off May 17 in the D.R. eastern tourist region and wrapped up May 18. Close to 20 ministers from 38 nations took part in the two-day event.
“And organizations like this should help small countries find solutions when we don’t have them,” he added.
Minister Collado thanked the UNWTO for having chosen the Dominican Republic to hold its 118th meeting, for the first time in its history
He said he understands this is a recognition of the tourism industry’s success over the past few years, making it a leader in the region.
Minister Collado said tourism is not a luxury for the D.R., but an essential sector because of the impact it has on the economy, which represents more than 25% of the GDP.
Opening the meeting, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili highlighted the country’s achievements in tourism, especially its rapid recovery.
He said that the D.R. has become a world benchmark for tourism. “Minister David Collado, without you and your team, it would have been impossible to organize this summit, the most important for our organization and the most important for tourism,” said Pololikashvili.