Local man in traditional boat

How Coral Reefs Support Local Communities

When dreaming of a tropical getaway, we often envision stunning coastal vistas and coral reefs teeming with wildlife. As visitors, these underwater ecosystems quench our wanderlust by providing a remarkable backdrop and playground for adventure.  But coral reefs provide so much more than tourist gratification – they are incredibly important assets for the communities who live near them as well. About 40% of people live within 60 miles (100km) of the coast. Of these people, more than 275 million live in close proximity to coral reefs (within 30 km of reefs and less than 10 km from the coast). These nearby inhabitants often depend on reefs for their survival and well-being.
Kawesqar Community Tourism Project

Revitalizing the rich heritage of Patagonia’s indigenous people

“We cannot let our culture die.” These words still ring vividly. Earlier this year, leaders for the project “Pueblo Kawésqar” sat down with Kawésqar communities of Magallanes (Southern Chile). During one of the first meetings, members of the marginalised indigenous group voiced their desire to revitalise their culture and let others know about their history, heritage and customs.
St. Kitts Flag

Meet the Newest Faces of the Heart of St. Kitts Team!

The Heart of St. Kitts Foundation is a travel philanthropy fund established as a collaborative effort between the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, and Sustainable Travel International. Day in and day out these three ambitious women are helping to make St. Kitts a more sustainable place to live in and experience! Read on to get to know who they are.
St. Kitts Train the Trainer Workshop Attendees

Investing in the Development of St. Kitts’ Tourism Workforce

Facilitating a Train the Trainer Workshop focused on sustainable tourism

Tourism destinations such as the Caribbean island of St. Kitts are only as strong as the people and businesses who make them up. From tour guides to hotel housekeeping staff, the local workforce are the building blocks of St. Kitts’ bustling tourism industry.  

A competent workforce is essential to an excellent visitor experience. From the moment a visitor steps foot on the island, the tourism and hospitality workforce shapes their experience. Was the immigration officer welcoming? Did the front desk agent provide helpful information about the local culture? Was their hotel room clean? Each of these micro-moments that take place throughout a trip affects a visitor’s overall perception of the destination. One interaction can make or break whether the traveler returns home raving about their trip or vowing to never come back.

Thus, in order to strengthen a destination and ensure its long-term sustainability, it is important to invest in the people who propel the industry forward. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to make sure that those in leadership roles are adequately prepared to support their staff’s professional development.

Our Role

As part of our ongoing partnership with the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism we hosted a Train the Trainer Workshop with a focus on sustainable tourism in the Kittitian context. This workshop was geared toward managers in tourism businesses, particularly those with regular training and human resource responsibilities.

On a sunny St. Kitts day in late October, 10 enthusiastic and ambitious participants joined us for the two-day workshop. Most participants held supervisory roles and came from various tourism-related organizations including accommodations, attractions, and restaurants.

To kick off the training, participants were asked a simple question: “What one word represents what being a trainer means to you?” Uplifting words such as “inspire” “change” “leader” “educator” and “guide” were just some of the words that came to mind.

Over the course of the workshop, our team supported participants in becoming the trainers that they aspired to be. The workshop focused on developing essential skills that will help participants be more effective communicators, leaders, and mentors – both on the job and in their personal lives. Participants learned about topics such as engaging different learners, creating supportive environments, and handling challenging situations. In addition, a particular emphasis was placed on how trainers and managers play a key role in bolstering business sustainability, both through staff development and other operational improvements.  

Exercises and activities were woven throughout the training, encouraging interactivity and allowing participants to apply their learnings. Participants were incredibly engaged, eager to learn, and supportive of one another.  At the end of the workshop, each participant developed a training plan related to their individual training responsibilities – one participant created a plan for a culinary training, while another focused on guest services.

Given their positions and roles in the tourism industry, the participants are well-positioned to apply what they learned in their day-to-day lives. We hope that this training will generate a ripple effect of impact and contribute to a thriving future for St. Kitts.

The Train the Trainer Ripple Effect of Impact

  • Improved training abilities of tourism managers

  • Increased staff capacity and more competent tourism workforce

  • Progress towards organizational goals, such as enhanced productivity, resource efficiency, quality of service provided, and staff satisfaction

  • Improved business competitiveness and sustainability

  • Thriving tourism destination

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Related Work

St. Kitts

Learn more about how we’re helping St. Kitts work towards a more sustainable future.

People & Culture

Learn more about how we’re working to ensure that tourism development supports communities and improves local quality of life.

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Kawesqar woman weaving a basket

Kawésqar Community Tourism & Empowerment Project

Community-run tourism to celebrate the forgotten heritage of Patagonia’s indigenous people

While best known for its iconic glaciers and peaks, Torres del Paine and its gateway community of Puerto Natales also possess a rich cultural heritage. Much of this heritage is rooted in the history and traditions of the region’s indigenous people – the Kawésqar. A seafaring, nomadic people, the Kawésqar were among the first inhabitants of southern Chile’s channels and fjords. Today, only 13 Kawésqar communities remain across the Magallanes region.  

Like many first peoples, the Kawesqár have been marginalized from the local tourism economy. Despite the fact that over 260,000 tourists visit Torres del Paine each year, few learn about the Kawésqar and their unique heritage. Traditions and stories of the past tend to be overshadowed by the dramatic natural landscapes the area is known for. The predominant historical narrative centers around the figure of the gaucho, cowboys descended from European immigrants.

Our Role

The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund is working with members of the Kawésqar pueblo to revitalize their culture through a series of capacity-building, tourism, and entrepreneurship trainings. Ultimately, this project will allow the participating communities to build a common narrative and create a space where Kawésqar can share their rich history and traditions with visitors and residents. The project imagines Kawésqar exchanging their traditions with tourists, and selling their food, art, and guide services. The Legacy Fund and its partners will equip Kawésqar communities with the necessary skills and knowledge to sustainably manage and develop their own tourism products.

This indigenous empowerment project aims to enhance destination sustainability by:

  • Raising awareness and increasing appreciation of the region’s indigenous heritage
  • Preserving and celebrating waning cultural traditions
  • Expanding income generating opportunities for the Kawésqar people
  • Providing a more diverse, immersive, and authentic visitor experience

The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund

The Torres del Paine Legacy Fund is a travel philanthropy fund established by Sustainable Travel International in partnership with the Fink Family Foundation. Sustainable Travel International continues to manage the Legacy Fund’s on-the-ground efforts to ensure a more sustainable future for Chilean Patagonia.

Protect the Places You Love

Join us in preserving Chile’s unique cultural heritage and expanding opportunities for indigenous communities! Make a gift today to support our work in Chilean Patagonia.

Our Partners

  • Kawesqar
  • Evoluzion

Related Work

Repairing Eroded Trails

Restoring Torres del Paine’s most popular trekking route, the Base Torres trail.

Improving Recycling Infrastructure

Installing and supporting the expansion of the first recycling system in Puerto Natales, the gateway community to Torres del Paine National Park.

Stay in Touch

Get our email updates to see how we’re protecting our planet’s most vulnerable and treasured destinations

New industry guidelines support child protection and welfare in tourism

The new Child Welfare Guidelines launched by G Adventures, Planeterra, and ChildSafe are a useful sustainability tool for tourism businesses

These days, more and more travelers are seeking authentic and transformative experiences that bring them face-to-face with local communities and immerse them in the local culture.  However, as this desire for community-based experiences and social impact travel grows, so do the risks for children.