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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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Fiji Women Credit Maggie Boyle / DFAT via Flickr

Sustainable Tourism Enterprise Program for the South Pacific

The islands of the Pacific are a popular destination for many travelers looking to trade in city life for secluded beaches, cultural authenticity and stunning natural environments. While the small size and remoteness of these destinations makes for ideal getaways, these characteristics also bring along many challenges. Visitors often put increased pressure on the already limited supply of agricultural products, water and energy. This results in a further dependence on imported goods and contributes to excess waste production. On top of these challenges, the transportation of imported goods drives up carbon emissions, exacerbating the climate change impacts to which small islands are particularly vulnerable.

The Pacific islands also must cope with economic vulnerability due to their geographic isolation and small size. According to the Asian Development Bank, 31 percent of Fiji’s population and 26.9 percent of Samoa’s population lived below the poverty line in 2014. Tourism is a key driver of economic development in these destinations. The industry has the potential to combat poverty by providing more jobs, growing incomes, and creating markets for local goods and services. However, there is still an opportunity for the tourism sector in the Pacific to be more inclusive of local suppliers and service providers and prioritize capacity building. This will help ensure that local communities are truly reaping the economic benefits of the industry.

What We're Doing

At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, Heads of State adopted the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP), a global framework for action to accelerate the shift towards SCP including resource efficient and low carbon tourism, in both developed and developing countries. In 2015, the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Alliance (PSTA) was formed as a public-private partnership with the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) to help fast track sustainability in the region. Sustainable Travel International working with the SPTO under the auspices of the PSTA, was awarded a grant through the 10YFP Trust Fund call for proposals for Sustainable Tourism Programme to implement a pilot project focused on improving sustainable resource management in hotels in the Pacific.

The destinations participating in the preliminary stage of the project are Fiji and Samoa; however the eventual intention is to expand to other Pacific Islands. Through this work, the partners hope to inspire a new commitment to sustainability among members of the local tourism industry and empower them to improve their consumption and production behavior by:

  • Collaborating with local stakeholders to identify the barriers to sustainable consumption and production within the destination
  • Training 100 hotel managers on sustainable tourism best practices such as sourcing goods locally, using resources more efficiently, and utilizing a supply chain that is more inclusive of local people and cultures
  • Raising awareness among hotel managers on the financial and economic benefits of incorporating sustainability practices into their business operations
  • Equipping 100 hotels with a Sustainability Management System (SMS) – a digital tool to monitor energy-use, waste-reduction, water consumption, and sustainable sourcing

Long Term Impacts

By influencing the sustainability behavior in businesses and across destinations, this project will lead to a more robust economy and a better future for people and environments in the Pacific. The anticipated long-term impacts include:

Reduced consumption of nonrenewable resources (water, gas, electricity) and increased resource efficiency through recycling, greywater recycling and use of alternative energy sources

Decreased amount of waste and pollution generated by the tourism industry

Reduced dependence on foreign imports through local production and consumption

Less carbon emissions being generated from the transportation of imported goods

Increased tourism-related job opportunities and income streams for local people

Increased awareness and appreciation of local culture

Our Partners

  • 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme
  • South Pacific Tourism Authority
  • Fiji Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism
  • Samoa Hotel Association
  • Samoa Tourism Authority

Make the World a Better Place

Your gift will help us continue to work towards a more sustainable future for Pacific island nations and other destinations around the globe

Related Work

Pacific Sustainable Tourism Alliance

Learn more about how the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Alliance is combatting key environmental and human threats associated with tourism in the Pacific

Climate Change

Learn more about how we’re addressing climate change issues affecting other destinations 

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 that is ensuring 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.

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Giving locals a voice in tourism development in St. Kitts

Implementing an island-wide resident survey to gauge community perceptions of tourism

Employing 1 in 10 people globally, tourism has the potential to benefit a large number of people. By creating jobs, driving infrastructure improvements, and promoting inclusive growth, tourism is a powerful tool to fight poverty and foster community development.

With all these benefits, one might assume that local residents would be fully supportive of tourism in their backyards. The problem is that sometimes tourism development has the opposite effect and diminishes local quality of life. Without proper planning, tourism growth can bring about new challenges for locals, such as unaffordable housing prices, dwindling resources, and a loss of cultural authenticity. Over the last year, there’s been increasing global discussion around the issue of “overtourism” and its consequences in more popular destinations, where some communities are literally telling tourists to go home.

How then does a destination prevent this situation from happening before it’s too late? It all comes down to finding the balance between tourism growth and local needs.

To ensure that tourism enriches local communities, destination managers must pay attention to resident concerns and engage them in development plans. Happy residents play a major part in creating an enjoyable visitor experience and successful tourism industry. When residents win, everyone wins.

Our Role

The Caribbean island of St. Kitts is a destination that is well aware of the importance of sustainable, community-driven tourism. The warm and welcoming Kittitian people are undeniably the heart and soul of the island. The St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism is working to make sure that they are at the heart of tourism as well, by giving them a voice in development.

To gauge local attitudes toward tourism, Sustainable Travel International supported the Ministry in administering a resident survey in July 2017. This was the first survey of this kind in St. Kitts. Over 320 Kittitians, representing all parishes and demographics completed the survey.  The results examine how well tourism in St. Kitts is meeting local needs, creating opportunities for residents, and impacting their quality of life.

Understanding resident concerns is the starting point. The next step is taking action to actually address any existing or potential issues. The Ministry is using the survey findings to guide policy and program interventions, making it a valuable tool for community development.

Of course, as tourism grows and the destination changes, residents’ feelings and priorities will change as well. Engaging residents should be an ongoing process. We will continue to support the Ministry to create additional avenues for residents to share their opinions and be involved in decision-making, as well as implement future surveys to monitor changes over time.To learn more about the other ways that St. Kitts is encouraging sustainable development and community-based tourism, click here.

Header Photo Credit: St. Kitts Tourism

Protect the Places You Love

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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.

Stay in Touch

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

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Demonstrating the Economic Value of Panama’s Protected Areas

Tourism in protected areas is a growing economic activity in many countries. By drawing visitors out of tourism hotspots to more remote regions, protected area tourism can bring new benefits to rural communities and indigenous populations.

While protected areas provide significant economic value, there tends to be little data to actually back this up. Without reliable and quantifiable evidence, governments and communities may undervalue these natural areas and the benefits they deliver. As a result, important visitor management and conservation activities may be overlooked. Without these types of sustainability measures in place, tourism growth in protected areas can end up harming their fragile environments.

Our Role

One destination focused on developing sustainable tourism in its protected areas is Panama. The country’s 121 protected areas cover over 6.2 million hectares of rainforests, coastal reefs, and other sensitive habitats. An increasing number of visitors come to these areas for nature-based tourism experiences, such as trekking, snorkeling, rock climbing, and birdwatching.

In 2017, Sustainable Travel International conducted an economic impact study to determine the value of these natural areas. For this study, our team examined the economic benefits generated by tourism activities within Panama’s protected areas as a way to measure their value.

We began by reviewing Panama’s existing tourism data. This included more general statistics such as national visitor arrivals, protected areas statistics, and public use plans.

To supplement this data, we collected more specific data on tourism revenues linked to protected areas.  We surveyed businesses in Panama’s protected areas and their surrounding buffer zones. Five protected areas were included in this pilot study: Camino de Cruces National Park, Altos De Campana National Park, La Amistad International Park, Chagres National Park, and Soberanía National Park. Survey participants were asked to provide information about their business, including the services they offer and their revenues.

In addition to collecting data from businesses, our team also interviewed visitors to these areas. Through these interviews, we were able to gain a better understanding of who is visiting Panama’s protected areas, what they are doing, and where they are spending their money.    

The study findings paint a fuller picture of the different groups that are operating in and benefiting from Panama’s protected areas. It also quantifies the economic value of protected area tourism. An added benefit of this research approach is that it provides data not only on impacts at the national level, but also on the value generated for local communities.

The real impact of this data lies in its potential to influence destination planning and decision-making. By demonstrating the value of protected areas to the tourism industry, local communities, and the country as a whole, this data helps reinforce the importance of caring for these areas. We hope this data incentivizes improved conservation and leads to better visitor management in protected areas.

Our Partners

  • ALC Global
  • MiAmbiente
  • IDB
  • GEF

Protect the Places You Love

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Related Work

Panama

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

Land & Forests

Learn more about our work in other protected areas and how we’re working to conserve our world’s land and forests.

Header Photo Credit: Billtacular via Flickr

Carrying Google Trekker camera in Torres del Paine National Park

Using virtual imagery to connect people to nature in Torres del Paine

One of the most remote corners of the world can now be experienced like never before. Thanks to a partnership between the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund and Google Trekker, 360-degree imagery of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park can be accessed online via Google Maps. Now, anyone, anywhere can virtually wander the trails through the park and explore the region’s rugged natural beauty.

In March 2017, a group of Legacy Fund staff, partners, and volunteers hit the trails of Torres del Paine, taking turns with a Google Trekker camera strapped to their back. Navigating the park’s steep, wet, and rocky terrain is challenging under any circumstance. Imagine doing it with a 42-pound sphere on your back. The camera’s 15 lenses face in different directions, taking photos every 2.5 seconds. Because the device can be carried on foot, it is able to capture panoramic images of places that would otherwise be difficult to reach. In just four days, the Legacy Fund team captured a total of 9,099 3D panoramic photos. These are now pieced together on Google Maps, showcasing the grandeur of Torres del Paine.

While nothing beats exploring the Patagonian wilderness in person, the new images are a nevertheless awe-inspiring alternative. By using Google Maps’ Street View, even those who can’t journey to southern Chile can still witness the incredible landscapes that make this such an iconic destination. Virtual adventurers can hop aboard a ferry to cross Lago Grey or view the Cuernos del Paine from Paine Grande campground. One of the most impressive segments is undoubtedly the trek atop Grey Glacier, a thick mass of ice stretching 3.7 miles wide and 98 feet high.

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 that is ensuring a more sustainable future for Chilean Patagonia.

While the images primarily showcase the park’s beauty, they also expose some of the environmental wear and tear that has occurred throughout the park. Scarred tree limbs serve as a reminder of the damage left behind from recent forest fires, while eroded trails are the result of heavy use and limited maintenance resources.

A sense of resilience and hope also pervades the images, which capture some of the park’s ongoing conservation efforts. Keep an eye out for the lenga tree nursery tucked along the interpretive trail at the Reserva Cerro Paine. Built with support from the Legacy Fund, this nursery provides a sanctuary for lenga seedlings until they are ready to be planted for reforestation.

A unique awareness raising and conservation tool

We believe that connecting people with our planet’s natural diversity is one of the best ways to inspire them to protect it. We hope that by giving people all around the world a close-up look at this spectacular destination, that this project will ignite an ever broader appreciation of Torres del Paine and compel more people to take action to protect this magnificent, but fragile environment.

The new imagery could also serve as a useful tool for conservation efforts. By comparing the images to current conditions, park managers and conservationists can see how the park’s ecosystems and infrastructure changes over the years. When paired with supplementary data, this type of visual reference point could be helpful for prioritizing needs and evaluating progress.

Protect the Places You Love

Your gift will help conserve our planet’s most vulnerable destinations and empower the people who live there

Related Work

Engaging Students In Reforestation

Involving local schools in restoring Torres del Paine National Park’s native ecosystem after damage caused by several man-made forest fires

Puerto Natales Recycling Program

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