These Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards are aimed at identifying and showcasing Sustainable Tourism Good Practices in the Caribbean. The awards recognize individuals, groups, organizations or companies in any of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Member Countries which have developed responsible and unique tourism products or are engaged in implementing sustainable tourism-related initiatives which embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values. These initiatives should also help to enhance the country’s tourism product offerings and advance sustainable and responsible tourism in the Caribbean.
In the Caribbean, Sustainable Tourism Development is understood as “the optimal use of natural, cultural, social and financial resources for national development on an equitable and self sustaining basis to provide a unique visitor experience and an improved quality of life through partnerships among government, the private sector and communities” (CTO Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework, 2008).
The product/initiative should contribute to a better quality of life in the destination and provide a unique visitor experience. It must cover five key areas of tourism sustainability selected from amongst the following (A-I) areas:
A. Environmental Management: water (fresh and wastewater), energy conservation/renewable energy, solid waste
B. Terrestrial or Marine Area Planning and Management
C. Destination Stewardship: sustainable tourism management in destinations
D. Local Community Involvement: training, management, benefits
E. Heritage Protection: cultural, built and natural heritage (including flora and fauna)
F. Education: staff training, communication, service excellence and public awareness
G. Safety and security: visitors and staff
H. Financial Sustainability
I. Partnership: multi-stakeholder support to economic, environmental or social initiatives
J. Innovation and Originality
This Award is open to a CTO member destination (country, region or town) that is making solid strides towards sustainable tourism management at the destination-level through on-going and integrated initiatives and programs designed to improve sustainable tourism planning and promote widespread adoption of good practices, ensure multi-stakeholder engagement, address social and community issues, foster economic linkages, preserve cultural heritage and protect the environment. Applicants may include government agencies, NGOs, or trade associations on behalf of the destination. Nominees in this category must demonstrate sustainable tourism policies and strategies that cover four of the areas below:
~ Improve long-term competitiveness of tourism businesses and destinations
~ Enhance well-being of communities as healthy places to visit, live, and invest
~ Preserve and conserve cultural, historical and natural heritage
~ Promote a sense of place and authenticity
~ Involve tourism stakeholders in decision-making
~ Communicate and promote sustainable tourism good practices to other tourism stakeholders
This award is open to small or medium-sized (less than 400 rooms) tourist accommodation facilities (hotels, ecolodges, guesthouses, B&B’s, camp sites, homestay facilities, villas or other). Nominees must demonstrate how they have successfully achieved four of the following results:
~ Positive impact on the local supply chain or sustainable consumption practices
~ Positive impact on local communities minimizing environmental impact through environmentally sensitive architecture, operations and management (e.g. proper solid waste management, recycling, waste water treatment, energy and water conservation)
~ Education of staff and guests about sustainable tourism practices
~ Support for cultural and natural heritage preservation in local communities
~ Collaboration with other private, public or non-government stakeholders to achieve sustainability good practices
~ Relevant certification, awards and marketing initiatives that highlight sustainability efforts
~ Use of sustainable transport e.g. use of bicycles, biofuels in vehicles
This award is for a tourism enterprise, community or an entire country that manages tourism well for the long-term benefit of the destination and local people as well as visitors. Nominees in this category must show how their tourism initiatives have benefitted local communities through four of the following areas:
~ Direct social and economic benefits to local people e.g. employment and business creation/expansion, capacity building and transfer of industry skills through training and educational opportunities, career advancement, fair wages etc.
~ Community development
~ A positive contribution to the maintaining the heritage (built, cultural or natural) of the destination/community and promotion of a sense of place and authenticity
~ Opportunities for local community input and empowerment in tourism development planning
~ Multi-stakeholder engagement in tourism management
~ Educating locals and visitors on the sustainable tourism efforts of the enterprise, community and/or country
A tourism organization or initiative making a significant contribution to protect and promote heritage (cultural, built, natural, intangible) can be nominated for this award. Nominees need to demonstrate how their efforts have directly contributed to heritage protection through four of the following initiatives:
~ Efforts to pass on cultural and intangible heritage traditions and skills to younger generations
~ Documentation and/or copyrighting of local heritage related materials
~ Educating visitors on local heritage and local stakeholders, including the media
~ Sustainable financing of local heritage conservation
~ Engagement of local communities, public, NGO and/or private sector entities in preserving and promoting local heritage
~ Communicating your actions to local stakeholders, including the media
This Award is open to any group, organization, tourism business or attraction working towards the protection of wild/marine life and/or expanding/restoring their local habitat or supporting biodiversity conservation e.g. a national park, marine park, biosphere or wildlife sanctuary. Nominees in this category must be able to demonstrate four of the following types of initiatives:
~ that your tourism initiative has made a tangible contribution to the conservation/protection of nature in the destination
~ institution and successful implementation of specific policies and activities towards nature conservation
~ how your nature conservation efforts have directly benefited the socio-economic well-being of local people
~ efforts to educate visitors about local conservation initiatives
~ how your actions are communicated to other local stakeholders, including the media
This Award is open to any group, organization, tourism business or attraction that offers an agro-tourism product, which incorporates elements of food/agriculture production, culinary output and visitor experience. Applicants should demonstrate how they have successfully achieved linkages between the agricultural sector and tenets of the tourism industry in at least four of the following areas:
Special Award presented by the Centre of Excellence for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), an initiative of the UNDP and the Government of Aruba, in recognition of an initiative whose sustainable tourism efforts can strongly contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals of other SIDS.
Tourism Pioneer Award
Special award presented by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in honour of an entity that has demonstrated longevity and viability as a tourism business, with a keen focus on infusing sustainability principles into their work, for the benefit of their guests, host community, and the environment.
Climate Smart Tourism Award
Special award presented by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in honour of an entity that has demonstrated a keen sensitivity to fostering climate resiliency in their activities and everyday tourism business operations.
The CTO’s Caribbean Primary School Tourism Writing Competition for 2017, the CTO Year of Adventure in the Caribbean, was held for children ages 8 – 12 in every CTO member country, and sought to encourage both creative and formal writing submissions related to strengthening sustainable tourism development in the region.
The competition had TWO (2) distinct entry streams:
a. The Formal Writing Stream – works that count as either essays or prose
b. The Creative Writing Stream – works that count as poems or short stories
Winners will be presented with a special Certificate of Recognition from the Caribbean Tourism Organization and honoured with an ALL EXPENSES PAID TRIP for them and a Parental Chaperone to attend and participate in special activities at a major CTO Conference in 2017.
Congratulations to Evadney Henriques of Guyana, and Vladimir Lubin of St. Lucia, who were selected as winners in CTO’s Logo Design Competition, out of 19 entries from 12 Caribbean countries.
We salute Evadney Henriques who won the overall competition, and we specially recognize Vladimir Lubin whose entry has inspired the physical shape of future Sustainable Tourism Awards from 2018 onwards.