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Workers prepping food in St. Kitts restaurant

St. Kitts Resident Survey Shows Local Desire for Community-Centric Tourism

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, residents want the island’s tourism industry to support locals’ well-being, cultural authenticity, and natural resources.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (26 May 2022) – Today, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism released the results of their 2021 Resident Perception of Tourism Survey. This survey, completed by Sustainable Travel International and Holistic Education Research & Conservation, a local data-driven community-based organization, aimed to understand resident priorities and sentiments towards tourism in order to inform policy and strategy moving forward. Building on a 2017 resident survey, it showed that, while positive perceptions of tourism have diminished over the past four years, exacerbated over the past two years by the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents still believe tourism is important and an industry they want to grow and participate in. 
St Kitts World Bee Day Booth

St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council 2021 Impact Update

For many tourism destinations, 2021 was a year of both hardship and of hope. In St. Kitts, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to pose challenges for the tourism industry in 2021, but it also saw the destination reopen its borders and the first signs of recovery.  

To Promote a Responsible Tourism Recovery, St. Kitts Relaunches Sustainability Charter Program

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. 
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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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.