Caribbean Travel Marketplace Embraces Sustainability with Inaugural Responsible Tourism Day

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The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is taking a significant step towards a more sustainable future for the region’s tourism industry. The upcoming Caribbean Travel Marketplace, taking place May 20th to 23rd, 2024, at the Montego Bay Conference Centre in Jamaica, will feature the inaugural Marketplace Responsible Tourism Day on the final day of the event (May 23rd).

This exciting new initiative marks a commitment to fostering environmentally conscious tourism practices and giving back to local communities. The day will provide a platform for industry professionals, government representatives, media, and other stakeholders to collaborate on meaningful projects that benefit both the environment and local residents.

Caribbean Travel Marketplace
Caribbean Travel Marketplace

Aligning Business with Sustainability

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig expresses her enthusiasm for this groundbreaking initiative: “I am truly excited about this year’s inaugural Marketplace Responsible Tourism Day. It represents a critical step forward in our ongoing efforts to transform the annual trade show into a platform for promoting sustainable tourism development.”

Madden-Greig emphasizes the importance of collaboration in achieving sustainable practices: “Delegates will have the opportunity to build relationships that foster integrated and cooperative approaches to tourism development. This includes prioritizing environmentally sustainable practices, economically beneficial initiatives, and culturally respectful approaches within the travel industry.”

The day will offer a variety of engaging activities designed to make a positive impact and raise awareness about responsible tourism. Participants from diverse sectors will come together to contribute to three major projects in St. James, Jamaica.

Giving Back to the Community: Hands-on Sustainability Projects

Project 1: Fostering Sustainable Agriculture at Croydon In The Mountains

Recognizing the vital role of local agriculture in supporting the tourism industry, delegates will participate in activities at Croydon Estate, a key supplier of fresh produce for tourist destinations. These activities will include:

  • Planting fruit trees to contribute to the farm’s sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Participating in crop harvesting to gain firsthand experience in sustainable agriculture.
  • Learning about innovative and eco-friendly farming methods employed at Croydon Estate.
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As Croydon In The Mountains states on their website, “Responsible tourism is more than just a buzzword. It’s a guiding principle that seeks to minimize the negative impacts of tourism while maximizing the benefits for local communities and the environment.”

Project 2: Protecting Coastal Resources at Montego Bay Marine Park

Climate change poses a significant threat to tourism destinations worldwide. In recognition of this challenge, delegates will participate in a beach clean-up activity and educational tour at the Montego Bay Marine Park. This initiative focuses on:

  • Conserving and restoring coastal resources to ensure their continued health and sustainability.
  • Educating participants about the importance of protecting marine ecosystems for the benefit of local communities and the nation as a whole.

Project 3: Building Hope at the SOS Children’s Village

Tourism thrives on the foundation of strong and vibrant communities. Delegates will have the opportunity to connect with local residents by visiting the SOS Children’s Village in Barrett Town. Here, they will contribute to positive change by:

  • Assisting with painting and carpentry repairs to improve the village facilities.
  • Participating in the creation of a village-farming project that promotes self-sufficiency and food security.
  • Bringing donations of clothing, tablets, and school supplies for the children residing at the village.

The Croydon Estate website highlights the importance of engaging children in sustainability efforts: “As part of the festivities, all kids visiting the estate will have the opportunity to plant a tree, symbolizing their contribution to preserving Jamaica’s natural heritage. This hands-on activity not only instills a sense of environmental stewardship from an early age, but also underscores the importance of collective action in safeguarding the planet for future generations.”

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A Commitment to Sustainable Tourism

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig emphasizes the significance of supporting local communities: “Our communities and people are the secret sauce to success in the Caribbean. Being able to contribute to their growth and development in a meaningful way is paramount. We strongly encourage all delegates to sign up for this initiative and truly make a difference.”

This commitment to responsible tourism reflects CHTA’s longstanding dedication to shaping the future of Caribbean hospitality. For over 60 years, CHTA has served as the region’s leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. Working with over 1,000 hotel and allied members, as well as 32 national hotel associations, CHTA provides essential support to its members, helping them navigate critical issues such as:

  • Sales and marketing strategies
  • Sustainable tourism practices
  • Legislative issues
  • Emerging technologies
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Data and business intelligence
  • Market management and business