The terms “sustainable tourism” and “responsible travel” mean different things to different people. But for travel-savvy families, they boil down to one basic question: How can my family benefit from the uniqueness of a place—its people, environment, and natural resources—while, at the same time, contributing to that place, economically and otherwise?
There are multiple ways in which the hospitality industry can accommodate such families, some of which depend on the destination itself. But the list below applies to just about any destination.
Helping a Family Prepare
Guidebooks and online resources should offer travel-savvy families information on your destination’s environmental, social and political issues. In addition, hotels, lodges, and B&B’s should operate as sustainably as possible, which includes supporting the local community. Ways in which you support your community can then be shared with visiting families.
Many Caribbean hotels are now certified by sustainable tourism programs, such as Green Globe. Certified properties help draw sustainable-minded families – which helps feed the local economy.
While A Family’s Visiting
Families are hungry for educational opportunities enabling them to get to know a destination’s local history and customs. Unique experiences lead to lasting memories, and, as you know, each Caribbean island has its own fascinating story.
Suggest places where they can purchase locally made handicrafts and products, but never any made from protected or endangered animals.
Recommend locally owned and sourced restaurants, where they can enjoy authentic flavors, support the area’s farmers, and minimize their contribution to CO2 emissions by relying less on imports.
Reduce, if not eliminate altogether, your use of plastic items, like straws and water bottles. If possible, offer your visitors reusable water bottles, which they can refill as necessary, wherever possible. This is an easy way to minimize waste.
Encourage visiting families to take tours conducted by local companies or vetted guides. Visitors look to hotels, lodges, and B&B’s for recommendations, and support of local tour operators feeds the economy while reassuring visitors that those conducting tours are the ones who know a destination best.
Let visitors know the rules for entering sacred places, homes, and private lands, and encourage them to ask for permission before taking photos of individuals. Also encourage visiting families to refrain from taking seashells, coral, or other natural objects, and to carry trash away from natural sites to dispose of properly.