The Bolivarian Alliance has signaled a bold approach to promoting culture and tourism in the region through jointly coordinated initiatives.
ALBA-TCP Ministers of Culture and Tourism from Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, Venezuela, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis convened on Monday, in a meeting focused on advancing integration through the strengthening of relations in the areas of culture, tourism, travel, art and entertainment.
Among the more exciting proposals was a common interest in seeking a unified approach to recovering tourism, by looking at multi-destination tourism products, encouraging the standardization of entry requirements and biosecurity measures, and strengthening coordination among state and private airlines of the region to better facilitate movement among member states.
Dominica’s Minister of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives, Denise Charles, stressed that air access can be a challenge for the Caribbean island which doesn’t have an international airport, giving rise to difficulties as travel often involves transit through the United States.
Despite this, Dominica announced plans to invite students from Cuba and Venezuela to the island to learn English as part of a cultural exchange, just as Dominicans have been able to go to Cuba and Venezuela through government initiatives.
Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Director of Culture, Troy Mills, stressed the importance of preserving traditions and of documentation in the area of culture and state initiatives to harvest talent. Mills also expressed his government’s desire to pursue exchanges with member states of the Alliance.
In his first ALBA-TCP appearance following his recent appointment as Foreign Minister, Félix Plasencia stressed Venezuela’s willingness to work with ALBA countries in order to establish a tourist power in the region, while inviting members to establish ties in the area of tourism with Russia, Turkey, Qatar and China, and countries of ASEAN and the Arab League.
Venezuelan Minister of Culture, Ernesto Villegas, underscored the need to create a roadmap that “allows us to fight together the cultural battle of our times” which would involve increased participation in the main artistic and cultural events of the region.
Executive Secretary Sacha Llorenti, who chaired the virtual meeting from La Paz, was joined by Bolivia’s Minister of Cultures, Decolonization and Depatriarchalization, Sabina Orellana. The Minister emphasized Bolivia’s efforts to guard ancestral knowledge and the languages of indigenous peoples.
Cuban Minister of Culture, Alpidio Alonso Grau, highlighted the fundamental role of culture as “the best bridge of understanding between our peoples,” adding, “let’s face it with optimism in order to promote exchange and our cultural diversity.”