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Antigua and Barbuda to Celebrate World Tourism Day

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Antigua and Barbuda will join the rest of the world in celebrating World Tourism Day (WTD), on Monday September 27, 2010. WTD is being held this year under the theme ‘Tourism and Biodiversity`, in support of the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity.

In observance of this year’s theme, the Ministry of Tourism will collaborate with the Antigua Hotels and Tourism Association (AHTA), and the Environmental Division to host two community initiatives in an effort to raise public awareness of the mutual interdependency of biodiversity and tourism. These volunteer efforts will help demonstrate how tourism can contribute to preserving life on Earth and its unique biodiversity.

On Saturday, September 25, the Ministry of Tourism will join tourism stakeholders, civic organizations and private citizens in a beach cleanup effort in observance of International Coastal Cleanup Day. This will be followed by a tree planting effort on Monday, September 27. This reforestation initiative is part of the climate change project, coordinated by the Sandals Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture’s Environment Division.

Tourism Minister Hon. John Maginley, will lead the charge in both the beach cleanup and tree planting initiatives. “These community programs will help highlight the importance of biodiversity to tourism and the role of sustainable tourism in the conservation of life on Earth. I want to call on all tourism stakeholders, residents and visitors to join us in becoming more globally responsible, while protecting our tourism industry. In so doing, we can all help safeguard the range of unique species and ecosystems that make up our twin islands and ultimately, our planet,” said Tourism Minister John Maginley.

Kathy Sledge, lead singer of the group sister Sledge, who has become a big fan of the destination will join in the local World Tourism Day celebrations. Sledge will perform her hit song “We Are Family” which was the second most popular song of the millennium (1900 -1999). Sledge has become a part of the destination’s “Circle of Influence,” and has agreed to lend her name to this initiative, to help to promote the destination throughout the United States.

Winner of the 2010 Biodiversity jingle competition, Joni Spencer of Sunnyside Tutorial, will also perform and participate in these initiatives.

World Tourism Day is a thematic event held every year on September 27th. Its purpose is to foster awareness, among the international community, of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the UN Millennium Development Goals and to highlight the contribution the tourism industry can make in reaching these goals.

The theme “Tourism and Biodiversity” is particularly pertinent in 2010. Concerned by the continued loss of biological diversity, the United Nations Assembly declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. The year coincides with the target adopted by governments in 2002 to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss.

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