Local businesses are encouraged to sign up to participate in the program.
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (20 April 2021) – St. Kitts is relaunching its Heart of St. Kitts Sustainability Charter program in an effort to promote a responsible restart of tourism on the island. The Sustainability Charter provides a framework of best practices for the local tourism industry and is led by the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council in partnership with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to update the program which was originally developed in 2017. Over the past few months, the Charter was revised with support from the global NGO Sustainable Travel International and input from more than 30 local businesses. The Charter outlines key areas of sustainability, such as waste management and community development, and lists concrete actions that businesses can take to improve their performance within each. The revised Charter addresses new best practices and pressing issues – such as the climate crisis, equity and inclusion, and health and safety – to pave the way for a sustainable recovery of tourism. The program was also expanded to offer more robust benefits and resources for participating businesses that will help them implement sustainability practices and showcase their unique sustainability story.
St. Kitts and Nevis is one of the most tourism dependent nations in the world: in 2019, the industry directly contributed over 25% of the country’s GDP and employed one in four residents. As the island gradually reopens its borders to tourists, St. Kitts’ is focused on bolstering its resilience to future disruptions by enhancing the sustainability of its tourism industry.
“Visitors come from all over the world to explore our island’s natural beauty and immerse themselves in our vibrant Kittitian culture. The success of our tourism industry depends on the quality and authenticity of the visitor experience.” said Diannille Taylor-Williams, Chairperson of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council (SDC). “Going forward, we must prioritize sustainable tourism practices that preserve the integrity of our beaches, waters, heritage sites, cultural traditions, and other tourism assets. In doing so we can strengthen the competitiveness of our beautiful destination, ensure the prosperity of our tourism industry, and augment community satisfaction.”
“In recent years, we’ve witnessed a shift in consumer preferences and an increasing demand for responsible travel experiences.” said Paloma Zapata, CEO of Sustainable Travel International. “By participating in the Sustainability Charter, and strengthening their sustainability practices, businesses can cater to this expanding market of conscious travelers. At the same time, this commitment to sustainability will preserve the natural and cultural resources their business depends on and improve the quality of life for all residents.”
Tourism businesses of all shapes and sizes are encouraged to sign on to the Sustainability Charter, including but not limited to hotels, tour operators, transport providers, attractions, vendors, and food and beverage providers. To date, more than five businesses have signed on to the revised Sustainability Charter, including: Ital Creations, Blue Water Safaris Limited, Creative Cultured Creations (3Cs), Digital Print Plus and St. Kitts Eco-Park.
St Kitts Sustainable Destination Council (Ministry of Tourism)
St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council
The St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council is a cross-sector body that consists of representatives from government agencies and sustainable tourism-related enterprises, as well as other like-minded individuals or organisations. We facilitate collaboration around sustainable tourism to ensure that development preserves and benefits St. Kitts’ environments, cultural heritage, and community livelihoods. Together, we are working towards a future where community members actively contribute to destination health, while promoting the island’s distinctive identity.
Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and conserving our planet’s most vulnerable destinations. We are transforming tourism’s impact on nature and people by working alongside local communities, engaging travelers and businesses in responsible practices, and strengthening destination management. Through our work, we aim to safeguard nature, combat climate change, and empower communities to preserve the integrity of destinations around the globe. Sustainable Travel International has implemented sustainability projects in more than 100 destinations around the world and has partnered with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism to advance sustainable tourism on the island since 2012. To learn more visit www.sustainabletravel.org