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Panama community tourism

Sustainable Travel International joins Panama Alliance for Community Tourism (PACT)

Panama City, Panama (21 October 2021) – Sustainable Travel International announced today they are joining the Panama Alliance for Community Tourism (PACT). This initiative focuses on building community tourism experiences that strengthen resident well-being and resilience, while contributing to the regeneration and celebration of the country’s natural and cultural resources. 
Planting a tree seedling in the soil

Does planting trees actually fight climate change?

As the world races to stop climate change, trees are receiving more attention for the role they play in cooling the climate – and for good reason! Trees absorb and store massive amounts of carbon, and unlike other carbon removal methods they don’t require expensive technology. Research indicates that natural climate solutions, such as forest conservation and restoration, can provide over one-third of the climate mitigation needed in the next decade to meet the Paris Agreement targets. 

In recent years, a number of tree planting programs were launched. Some of these programs aim to plant millions or even trillions of trees! Many businesses have gotten on board with the trend, launching campaigns to “plant a tree for every product sold.” 

But as tree planting becomes more popular, there’s growing skepticism about whether or not it’s actually effective. With climate change accelerating, how much should we rely on tree planting to save us? Is planting trees the best way to fight climate change or are we focusing on the wrong solution? 

This blog addresses all of these questions and a lot more!

Aerial view of a river running through a tropical rainforest

14 Reasons Why Forests Are Important

From subalpine conifer forests to lush tropical rainforests, forests cover nearly one-third of the earth’s land surface.  But as people burn and chop down massive amounts of trees, this forest coverage is rapidly dwindling. In 2020, a football field-sized area of tropical forest was lost every four seconds. As our forests disappear, it has a devastating ripple effect on people, wildlife, and the planet.

There are so many reasons why we should conserve our forests and keep them standing. Read on to discover 14 of the incredible benefits that forests provide and consider protecting them by offsetting your carbon footprint!

Destination Guardian participant receiving training certificate

St. Kitts Destination Guardians

A collaborative training workshop that raises awareness around sustainable tourism and empowers Kittitians to act as Destination Guardians who take care of their island home.

It takes an island.

In St. Kitts, tourism is everyone’s business. In 2018, the industry contributed more than 25% of the country’s GDP and supported 1 in four jobs. One way or another, every Kittitian is connected to tourism. 

When travelers come to St. Kitts, they seek natural beauty, rich cultural experiences, and authentic encounters with local communities. Consequently, the success of St. Kitts’ tourism industry depends on the health and appeal of the island’s local resources, from its beaches and parks to its arts and heritage sites. 

Ensuring the wellbeing of any tourism destination takes a whole village. Or in this case, it takes a whole island. St. Kitts’ communities, governmental agencies, NGOs, visitors, and the tourism industry all play a role in stewarding the destination and safeguarding their local assets. 

Our Role

Destination Guardian Workshop

To increase community engagement around destination stewardship in St. Kitts, we created the Destination Guardian training workshop. This workshop educates Kittitians about the importance of sustainable tourism and equips them with the knowledge they need to contribute to the long-term wellbeing of their destination. Each year, we deliver the workshop to another group of local residents, including government employees, teachers, community group members, and tourism industry professionals. 

Through a combination of informational presentations, group discussions, interactive exercises, and a field trip, participants learn about:

  • The positive and negative economic, environmental, and socio-cultural impacts of tourism in small island destinations
  • What it means to be a sustainable destination 
  • How they can help protect St. Kitts’ natural and cultural resources and ensure tourism elevates local communities
  • The importance of collaboration to collectively tackle island-wide challenges 

At the end of the workshop, participants are asked to sign the Destination Guardian pledge and identify four concrete actions that they can commit to perform over the next year.

Train-the-Trainer

In addition to the general workshop, we also developed and facilitated a train the trainer session to prepare local community members to deliver their own Destination Guardian trainings. This session equipped participants with a deeper understanding of the Destination Guardian curriculum as well as the knowledge and skills to be more effective trainers.

Location

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Destination: St. Kitts

Dates

2017-Present

Impact

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112 people trained as Destination Guardians

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92% of participants* shared their learnings with other community members

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84% of participants* adopted sustainable practices since the training

*Based on a follow-on survey of the 2019 Destination Guardian participants

“My role as a teacher is to educate. After the workshop, I have a bigger voice not only in my school, but also within my community.” – Thuvia Browne, Destination Guardian participant

Our Partners

  • St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism
  • Partner Logo Box 400x260 SDC Logo

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Girl tourist making heart sign with her hands at beautiful tourist destination

Top 10 Tips for Sustainable Travel

As of today, more than 300 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered worldwide. Though there is still a ways to go before the pandemic is over, it’s officially starting to feel like the end is in sight. After a year-long pause, what will the return of tourism look like? Or a better question: what should it look like? 
Mangrove plant

What Is Blue Carbon and Why Does It Matter?

Though terrestrial forests typically get most of the attention, they are not the only ecosystems that possess a natural ability to fight climate change. There are three coastal ecosystems that are also highly effective at sequestering carbon dioxide: mangroves, seagrass, and salt marshes. The carbon that is captured and stored by these coastal ecosystems is known as “blue carbon.” Pound for pound, these blue carbon ecosystems can actually store up to 10 times more carbon than tropical rainforests!