by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Deniersi Rodriguez, who works as a safeguard in the seaside resort of Varadero, is aware that some meters of the shoreline may be swallowed up by the sea in the coming decades due to climate change impacts.
"We need to adapt to the new circumstances and continue reinventing the beach," he said.
The Cuban government seeks to promote sustainable tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate change impacts, and the tightening of the U.S.-led commercial and financial embargo on the island.
"We reaffirm our strong commitment to the guidelines of the UN 2030 Agenda," Cuba's Tourism Minister Juan Carlos Garcia said at a sustainable development event in Varadero ahead of the 40th edition of Cuba's International Tourism Fair starting Tuesday.
"Resilience and environmental protection are essential for tourist destinations," he added.
At present, Cuba adopts measures to increase the use of renewable energy sources in the tourism sector while reducing plastic pollution and improving water management in the island's tourist destinations.
Elba Rosa Perez, Cuban Minister of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), said that addressing coastal erosion, building resilient hotel facilities, and protecting biodiversity were also paramount priorities for the government.
"The contribution of the tourism sector has been strategic for the economic and social development of the country in keeping with the environment protection principles," she said.
Since 2017, the Cuban authorities has been implementing a governmental plan aimed at tackling climate change impacts in the Caribbean nation.
According to CITMA, up to 10 percent of Cuban territory could be submerged by the end of the century due to the sea-level rise.
Cuba's top meteorologist Jose Rubiera said that more active hurricane seasons are projected for years to come in the Caribbean.
"The likelihood of coastal floods will increase, that's the reason why tourism authorities must pay particular attention to risk management," he said.
The Cuban government has forecast a 4 percent economic growth by the end of the year with the arrival of nearly 2.5 million tourists.
Rodolfo Sabonge, secretary-general of the Association of Caribbean States said that a resilient tourism industry was required to better address the impact of natural disasters in the region.
"Climate change is one of the major changes for the regional tourism industry," he said. " Sustainable development is no longer a choice, but an urgent need." ■