For Immediate Release: BASSETERRE, St. Kitts and Nevis - December 13, 2012 - In collaboration with Sustainable Travel International, the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Tourism and International Transport convened the island nation’s first-ever Sustainable Tourism Awareness Forum in late November.
The forum brought together nearly 50 representatives from government ministries, utility providers and the private sector to review the results of a country-wide sustainability assessment conducted earlier in the year, and take the first steps toward action to address the issues identified.
After reviewing the business case for sustainability, and engaging in some spirited discussion and consensus building, forum participants chose four out of a possible 20 projects as priority action areas:
- Increasing governmental awareness of sustainability and tourism;
- Maintaining the integrity of historic Basseterre;
- Boosting local and sustainable inputs into the tourism value chain; and
- Protecting ridge-to-reef from land-based pollution in the watershed.
Specialists from across the country, including a contingent which traveled by ferry from Nevis to be part of the process, spent several hours designing specific projects in each of the action areas. Leaders from across sectors noted the urgency of implementing the projects, and discussed methods to prioritize, fund, and implement each of them in the near term.
“The record turnout of participants in Tuesday’s forum reflects St. Kitts and Nevis’ strong commitment to sustainable tourism,” explained Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister of Tourism and International Transport. “However, this is not just a one-off activity. Our Ministry firmly intends to follow up on the results, starting with the identified projects. It is critically important to build on the momentum from this forum to take sustainability in St. Kitts and Nevis to the next level.”
In July, St. Kitts and Nevis became the first Caribbean destination to support and sponsor the research and development of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) Destination Criteria as an Early Adopter. As lead advisor on the program, Sustainable Travel International worked with the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport to evaluate and provide valuable feedback on St. Kitts and Nevis tourism activities. Inspired by that visit, St. Kitts and Nevis has made a commitment to pursue sustainability as an integral part of tourism strategic planning and policy-making in the country.
“I am so pleased to see St. Kitts and Nevis taking the next steps toward sustainability and we are thrilled to be their trusted partners on this journey,” said Dr. Louise Twining-Ward, Sustainable Travel International’s Chief Technical Officer.
One participant added: “I have never been to a forum like it. The energy in the room was electric. Everyone was fired up and ready for action. We are ready and eager to turn these ideas into reality.”