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.