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.
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.
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.
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.
112 people trained as Destination Guardians
92% of participants* shared their learnings with other community members
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
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“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.