2006 American Express Caribbean Tourism Environmental Awards
|MIAMI, Florida (July 5, 2006) – Sustainable tourism in the Caribbean
is understood as the optimal use of natural, cultural, financial and human
resources for national development on an equitable and self-sustaining
basis in order to provide a unique visitor experience and an improved quality
of life for its citizens. The 2006 American Express Caribbean Tourism Environmental
Awards, presented last week in Miami, during a special awards luncheon
as part the annual Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference (CHIC), paid tribute
to the hotels that are models of responsible environmental and social performance
in the region. “The relationship between tourism and environment must be
intimate and continuous, especially in the Caribbean, where sustainability
is indispensable to preserve our tropical paradise” says Dianelys Rodríguez,
Vice President Establishment Services, American Express Latin America and
Caribbean Division. “Our congratulations to both winners for taking the
lead in environmental practices and serving as role models for the Caribbean
The 2006 American Express Caribbean Tourism Environmental Awards’ winners obtained the highest combined scores, based on their performance in the following five criteria: Environmental Management & Stewardship, Infrastructure, Awareness, Conservation, and Health & Safety:
(left to right) Dianelys Rodríguez, VP of Establishment Services, Latin America & Caribbean, American
Express – Award Sponsor; Horace Peterkin, General Manager, and Lisa Simpson, Environmental Manager,
Sandals Montego Bay; Berthia M Parle, MBE, CHA Chairman; and Jem Winston, Owner, 3Rivers Eco Lodge
The 3 Rivers Eco Lodge & Sustainable Living Centre, reiterates in 2006 its commitment to sustainability after earning this award in 2005. Located in Dominica, this family business lives by a fundamental goal: to live in harmony with, yet has as little harmful impact as possible on the unspoiled natural beauty of its surroundings and community.
Their philosophy is driven by a belief in their role to protect and enhance the environment for guests, as well as the residents of the local community. Keeping in line with their goals, every aspect of the hotel has the environment in mind. The management embraces a sustainable lifestyle, minimizing the use of all resources, and monitoring all systems.
The sun powers the entire property. Even the water supply is pumped from the river using a solar powered pump, which works in silence to avoid disturbing the surrounding natural habitats. Likewise, solar hot water heating systems are used. To minimize water consumption, gray water is treated and then re-used in the garden and campers use dry toilets.
The hotel composts all kitchen and garden waste, and uses that compost to grow as much organic food as possible without the use of chemicals or fertilizers. A truly original invention is the modification of a pick up truck that has been retrofitted to run on used vegetable oil as well as diesel fuel. With the ‘cooking oil truck’ they have reduced harmful emissions by some 93%, and are able to re-cycle oil that had been previously discarded by local restaurants in local rivers and ravines. Whenever possible, the hotel avoids purchasing packaged goods. The hotel shops locally, recycles and uses biodegradable products, and tries to keep waste products to a minimum. Water, electricity, gas, solid waste and paper consumption are monitored daily to continuously find new ways of reducing usage.
An important aspect of 3 River’s philosophy is to involve the local community. Employees come from local villages, and they are trained in sustainable living. As an Eco-Lodge, the hotel owners feel that community-based tourism is essential in order to ensure that their local friends benefit from the hotel’s existence. Bearing this in mind, the hotel offers a number of local community based activities for the visitors’ enjoyment, which, at the same time, help many native people earn money to provide for their families. The activities give guests a true taste of life in Dominica, as seen by a Dominican, and are as innovative as they are engaging. They include:
Rosalie, Commonwealth of Dominica
These are just some of the responsible practices that 3 Rivers Eco Lodge proudly undertakes. “Environmental issues concern not just the air we breathe and the water we drink; they also concern our obligation to each other, and to future generations to protect our planet,” said CHA President, Berthia Parle, MBE. “In the Caribbean hospitality industry, businesses that utilize the most solid social and environmental practices benefit communities and save not only our environment, but our heritage as well.”
Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica – winner in the large hotel category - has a fully implemented Environmental Management System and Health and Safety program. This program received Green Globe 21 certification in January 2001; since then, Sandals Montego Bay has been continuously improving its operation, with programs such as:
Staff are encouraged to participate and become involved with Monthly Awards, Annual Health and Safety Expositions, Field trips, Committees, Clubs and Special Events such as medical missions for children’s infirmaries, AIDS hospices, and neighboring mental hospitals, as well as youth training and recruitment programs, and community clean-ups - both above and below the water.
The American Express Caribbean Tourism Environmental Awards demonstrate
the Caribbean travel and tourism industry’s genuine commitment to pursuing
sustainable tourism development in the region. The awards program is designed
to encourage investment in environmentally friendly technologies and sustainable
management practices within hotels and resorts, by recognizing those properties
that have realized significant achievements in “greening” their operations.
Lorraine J. Ortiz-Valcárcel
|Also See:||3Rivers Lodge in Dominica and Sunscape Casa del Mar in the Dominican Republic Named the 2005 Caribbean Hotel Association Green Hotels of the Year / July 2005|