ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (eTN) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and Green Globe is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby destinations in the region will work directly with Green Globe to define a strategy for sustainability and carbon neutrality.
Green Globe’s Bradley Cox said that following discussions at the tenth annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism, which was held in the Turks & Caicos, representatives of eight Caribbean nations and the secretary-general of the CTO, agreed to implement of framework during May, to deliver an MOU agreement in June.
“This will extend certification to the destination, including all businesses already Green Globe Certified. In addition Green Globe scientists will work to advance the sustainable practices of the certification process, into new strategies, policies and local initiatives that can be adopted by government,” he said.
He pointed out that Green Globe has developed a number of certification standards for companies, communities, resort precincts and eco tourism facilities. “Together with nations within the Caribbean we will adopt these standards to cover both public and private organizations and infrastructure to ensure that the nation is doing the best to maintain sustainable development and management practice toward carbon neutrality,” he said.
“After consultation with the CTO and the Caribbean nations who have expressed interest it is our hope to have the first agreements for destination certification, with additional planning for carbon neutral solutions in place in the second half of 2008,” Cox added.
Cox said, the Caribbean is a well-known “brand” in major markets of the USA and Europe and within this brand; many individual nations market their own unique Caribbean experiences. “In this case, the Caribbean and its many nations are competing with other tropical and marine tourism destinations, for example Pacific Island nations and Australia, for a share of the major markets travel spending. It’s important that Caribbean nations begin to capitalize on the strong environmental credentials that has been achieved by the many hotels and tourism operators who are already Green Globe-certified,” he said.
According to him, all tourism stakeholders will have to contribute if destinations are to become Green Globe compliant. “Tourism operators, such as hotels and resorts, dive and fishing charters, cannot by themselves preserve all the natural and cultural assets that attract the tourists. These businesses need to be able to cooperate with the destination’s communities and governments to be able to tackle the major sustainability issues and in particular the challenge of climate change and working toward carbon neutrality. Green Globe’s ‘Sustainability and Carbon Neutrality Plan for Tourism,’ is available for all destinations and their constituents tourism businesses who become part of the MOU agreement,” he explained.
CTO secretary-general Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace said that the organization is very excited about the possibility of having destinations being declared green. He said: “We are going beyond hotel properties, we have being working with the Green Globe brand for a while and this agreement will establish the criteria for redefining the Caribbean in the area of sustainable tourism, it means protection for the entire destination and not only the sustainable measures that owners of properties are taking, declaring a destination green will involve the contribution of all tourism stakeholders from government as policymaker to vendors in the craft markets.”
Green Globe International is the majority owner of Green Globe, Ltd., a British company that owns sustainable travel and green tourism-related businesses.