The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has announced that this year’s Statia Sustainable Conference (SSC-03) will be hosted for the third time by the St. Eustatius Tourism Development Foundation (STDF), Sept. 25 – 27, 2014.

“This year's conference should prove extremely relevant for St. Eustatius. The term 'community tourism' is most likely little known among islanders. Many residents are already practicing community tourism without even knowing it; by producing local juices and offering a home-stay program to visitors. We hope that this conference will educate locals as to what community tourism is, and encourage them to develop and enhance their products in order to promote the island and its natural resources,” said Hannah Madden, sustainable committee member.

Compared to some of the largest countries in the Caribbean where one has to travel from one Parish to the other to experience community tourism, Statia has it, according to the CTO. “Community tourism is all about local and visitor interaction and for that reason, being that Statia is so petite you don’t have to go searching; community tourism is everywhere, all around you.”

In conjunction with private contributors and sponsoring institutions, the Statia Sustainable Committee in collaboration with STDF has led the organization of this three-year-old conference. SSC-03 is an opportunity for participants to network with leaders in the Caribbean tourism industry at the various conference sessions and workshops.

“We encourage the general public to take advantage of this unique opportunity to engage with Caribbean leaders and have your challenges addressed in an interactive forum. At the end of SSC-03 we are positive that participants will be more informed on what community tourism means for the island and most importantly gain knowledge of techniques and skills that can encourage sustainable practices,” said STDF in a prepared statement.

Statia is a petite Caribbean destination, officially part of the Netherlands. Only 11.8 square miles, the guitar shaped island has what it calls “plus-minus 4,000 of the warmest and most welcoming crowd of people in the world.”

The STDF is the agency responsible for promoting and developing tourism on St. Eustatius. The mission is to get the island government to lend greater priority to tourism by providing adequate funding to effectively and efficiently promote tourism in key markets; ensuring a quality tourism product by introducing and controlling the minimum standard requirements; preparing future generations to take on greater responsibilities within this sector by means of teaching tourism as a subject on levels of the education system.