New Partnership Focuses on Caribbean Tourism Industry’s Engagement in Sustainable Certification Programs
From Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association
Stakeholders pen collaboration commitments: Signatories display their support during the virtual signing of the MOU. (Clockwise from upper left): Dr. Acolla Lewis-Cameron, University of the West Indies; Daniel Schaeffer, Foundation for Environmental Education; Kyle Mais, Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism and Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association; and Joanna Moses-Wothke from Green Trinidad and Tobago.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (June 13, 2023) – The University of the West Indies (UWI), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), and Green Trinidad and Tobago have joined forces to assess the extent to which the region’s tourism industry is participating in globally recognized sustainability-oriented certification programs.
Increasingly, programs like Green Key, a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry, have become valuable vehicles for assisting companies in improving efficiencies, reducing their carbon footprint, and broadening their market appeal. The new partnership will look at their use by Caribbean tourism-related companies and identify potential strategies to increase industry participation.
The organizations announced the partnership and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the recent Caribbean Travel Marketplace event in Barbados, the region’s largest B2B event held annually by CHTA. The MOU supports the organizations’ research, advocacy, training, and public awareness collaboration.
Commenting at the launch, UWI’s Dr. Acolla Lewis-Cameron, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, St. Augustine Campus stated: “We are pleased to participate in this new partnership, a conglomeration of local, regional, and international organizations which have converged to push the boundaries of Caribbean tourism. By engaging industry, we are able to produce data to help us offer solutions to pressing issues associated with Caribbean tourism.”
CHTA’s President Nicola Madden-Greig, who was joined by Kyle Mais, Chairman of the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, a CHTA-affiliated organization, added: “We wish to thank our partners at The UWI, FEE and Green Trinidad and Tobago for advancing with us this important undertaking. We look forward to drawing upon the research project’s results to raise awareness, stimulate more direct actions by the industry, and advance policies and programs which raise the bar and move the region toward playing a more active and results-oriented role in protecting and enhancing our most treasured resources – our people and our environment.”
FEE’s CEO Daniel Schaeffer commented: “There is a clear expectation that hotels working within the system within sustainability will have an advantage within the marketplace. There is, however, still a need for more facts and figures about the positive effect of engaging in sustainability. The research that is part of our MOU will validate this and offer additional insights for improvements.
“We look forward to working on the research undertaking and being part of the subsequent advocacy and public awareness about the outcome of this research in the region and worldwide.”
Providing a destination perspective, Joanna Moses-Wothke, CEO for Green Trinidad and Tobago, a FEE affiliate organization supporting training and credentialling initiatives locally and regionally, and who was joined by her colleague Tenisha Brown-Williams, added her support: “This research project will provide critical insight into the impact of sustainability efforts. It will significantly help financially restricted small business owners to make informed decisions about marketing strategies, sustainable tourism, product development, and even customer service in a sustainable realm. The results will assist policymakers as facilitators of successful green, blue, and purple tourism development.”
The project’s research phase is under development, with outreach to the industry expected to occur this summer.
About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 60 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether helping to navigate critical issues in sales and marketing, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most. For further information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.
About The University of the West Indies
Starting as a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, UWI has evolved into a modern, future-driven, activist, top-ranked academy with over 50,000 students. Its mission to advance learning, create knowledge and foster innovation for the positive transformation of the Caribbean is centered on producing critical thinkers and leaders who serve the needs of the 21st century society.
About the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)
Established in 1981, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is one of the world’s largest environmental education organisations, with over 100 member organizations in 81 countries. FEE manages the eco-tourism programs Blue Flag and Green Keyworldwide. With 40 years of impactful experience in ESD, its new strategic plan – GAIA 20:30 – prioritizes climate action across all five programs to address the urgent threats of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution.
About Green Trinidad and Tobago
Green T&T is a nonprofit environmental civil society organization that implements sustainable tourism certification and educational initiatives. This includes the global Blue Flag and Green Key certification programs. The organization aims to increase environmental awareness and improve the environmental consciousness within the tourism and hospitality sector.
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