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Girl in trees

Webinar: Demystifying Carbon Offsets

This event already happened – Click here to view the recording

Have you heard about carbon offsetting but still have questions or don’t know where to begin? In recent years, tourism has come under heightened scrutiny for its contribution to the climate emergency and as a result, more attention has been put on the practice of carbon offsetting. Yet it can be difficult to sift through all the information out there and figure out how carbon offsetting fits into your journey as a sustainable traveler. Join our very own Paloma Zapata and Kaitlyn Brajcich as they demystify carbon offsetting during this virtual event. The webinar will take place at 9am PDT / 12pm EDT on April 8 and is hosted by the Impact Travel Alliance Seattle Chapter. We’ll discuss the role that carbon offsetting plays in being a climate conscious traveler and address some of those burning questions that you may have! Registration is free and all are welcome to join.
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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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? 
Palau ocean and land view

Palau: Carbon Neutral Tourism Destination

The Pacific Island nation of Palau is a tiny, yet remarkable country characterized by surreal landscapes, pristine seas, and a long cultural history. The archipelago is made up of more than 340 lush green islands jutting out from the glimmering ocean, only nine of which are inhabited.

Remote Palau island

Remote and Secluded

Palau is truly a hidden island paradise. The archipelago is surrounded on all sides by the vast Pacific Ocean and is located 400 miles north of Papua New Guinea, 550 miles east of the Philippines, and 800 miles southwest of Guam.

Pristine Marine Wonders

Palau’s waters teem with an abundance of marine life including over 500 species of coral and 1,300 types of fish. Thanks to its incredible natural beauty and biodiversity, Palau is considered to be one of the world’s top diving destinations.

Woman kayaking in Palau

Dependent on Tourism

In 2019, 90,000 tourists visited Palau. That’s five times the islands’ population. Tourism is the country’s main source of income and provides vital jobs for local people. In total, it accounts for nearly a third of Palau’s GDP.

Commitment to Sustainability

Though Palau may be tiny, it is bursting with big, bold ambitions. Environmental stewardship has always been the way of the Palauan people who know that their country’s future depends on healthy reefs, jungles, and beaches.

Issues

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Vulnerability to Climate Change

As a remote island nation, Palau is extremely vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Rising sea levels and intensified tropical cyclones threaten to destroy houses, beaches, and infrastructure. Coral bleaching and acidic waters endanger the marine life that tourists come to see. Climate change is also expected to disrupt global supply chains, leading to food insecurity.

Learn more about how climate change is impacting destinations. 

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Carbon Footprint of Tourism

Tourism depends heavily on fossil fuels and produces emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. Consider the carbon footprint of a vacation to Palau. Getting to the remote islands typically requires flying thousands of miles. Once in Palau, tourists generate CO2 by going on boat rides, turning up the AC, eating imported foods, and engaging in other activities.

Learn more about the activities that contribute to tourism’s carbon footprint. 

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Reliance on Imported Food

Palau’s hotels and restaurants rely on overseas imports to feed their guests. In fact, 85-90% of the country’s food is imported from abroad. The importation of food and drinks produces carbon emissions and causes dollars to leave the local economy. Imported foods also tend to be more packaged and processed which contributes to waste management and health problems. 

OUR ROLE

Palau Carbon Neutral Destination Program

With climate change a very real threat to Palau’s existence, Sustainable Travel International is implementing a project in partnership with Slow Food and the Palau Bureau of Tourism to help the archipelago become the world’s first carbon neutral destination. The project will combat climate change and boost community resilience by:

  • Neutralizing tourism’s carbon footprint
  • Improving the livelihoods of local food producers
  • Increasing local food security
  • Empowering women to participate more fully in the tourism value chain
  • Conserving coastal ecosystems that act as carbon sinks
  • Reducing food waste and building a circular economy

Our Approach

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Strengthening Local Food Production

The project will build the capacity of local farmers, fishers, and other producers to produce high quality products and market them to tourism businesses. 

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Promoting Local Foods

The project will reduce Palau’s dependence on imported foods and celebrate the islands’ gastronomic heritage by helping hotels and restaurants incorporate local ingredients into their menus.

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Including Women

Palauan women are heavily involved in production activities such as farming taro and vegetables, crab harvesting, certain forms of fishing, and producing honeys and jams. Attention will be given to further link these female producers to the tourism value chain.

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Encouraging Sustainable Resource Use

The project is optimizing resource use by encouraging local producers to adopt sustainable agricultural practices and helping chefs make the most of local food products. 

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Developing a Destination Carbon Calculator

We are creating an online platform that will enable tourists to calculate the carbon footprint of their trip to Palau, including flights, lodging, dining, excursions, and ground transport.

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Funding Conservation Projects

Visitors will be able to offset their carbon footprint by contributing to conservation projects. These projects will reduce emissions and boost climate resilience by protecting/restoring coastal ecosystems that act as blue carbon sinks and natural storm barriers.

Our Partners

  • Palau Tourism Bureau
  • Slow Food
  • COFE
  • Taiwan ICDF
  • Palau Pledge
  • Palau Visitors Authority

Protect the Places You Love

Give back to conserve our planet’s most vulnerable destinations and empower the people who live there. Join the movement today.

Stay in Touch

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

Thuvia Brown Destination Guardian and St. Kitts School Teacher

St. Kitts Destination Guardians In Action: Thuvia Browne

“If we want to change the culture then we have to start with the youth – the children are the future.” 
We caught up with Thuvia Browne, a primary school teacher based in St. Kitts who joined our two-day Destination Guardian workshop on the Caribbean island back in April 2019. 
Tourist biking around town

How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Travels

We are currently battling a terrible global crisis. Over the past months, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken millions of lives, shut down tourism, and threatened the livelihoods of countless people. Though COVID-19 is front of mind right now, there is another crisis that will bring even graver consequences for humanity and imperil the destinations we love. That threat is climate change.