The St. Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association(SLHTA) has declared 2016 the “Year of the Environment” to highlight the importance of its members acting to conserve the island’s fragile ecosystem
for the long term benefit of the industry and destination as a whole.
Karolin Troubetzkoy, president of the association, which represents private hotels, resorts and tourism-related businesses on St. Lucia, said the move follows the success of the climate summit in Paris in December: “It was an historic agreement to combat climate change and its effects on the environment, and we know, for example, how lack of attention to the environment in the Amazon directly affects us – with more powerful storms battering island nations.”
Troubetzkoy, who also serves as acting president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, pointed out effective environmental conservation was not just a good thing to do but was essential for their industry: “Our beautiful environment is what draws visitors to St. Lucia, and the money tourists leave behind is a major contribution to our government’s ability to better provide for the health, wealth, and education of our people. So, we cannot afford to not be environmentally active.”
Troubetzkoy further commented that “ SLHTA wants to guide our members to develop meaningful environmental practices and engage with their teams to embrace these practices and make them their own. We want to achieve better balance and harmony with nature when it comes to recycling and reusing materials. We know that ‘going green, makes green’ and we do see huge cost
savings through environmentally sound practices on water and electricity use alone.”
Troubetzkoy recognized that many hoteliers already have embraced “green” practices. “SLHTA members are taking really useful and interesting environmental conservation measures and we urge them to share these experiences with other members because the more of our hotels, resorts and businesses become sustainable, the better it is for us all,” she exhorted. “With SLHTA’s incoming President Sanovnik Destang committed to green practices in his own resorts and having achieved Trip Advisor’s Green Leaders Platinum status there, I know that this initiative will be in excellent hands going forward.”
Later on this month, SLHTA will publish a Guide to Environmental Best Practice Recommendations which was prepared by SLHTA’s Environmental Committee.
Referring to data which show that tourists are more inclined to select a hotel that endorses environmental stewardship over properties that do not demonstrate that concern, Troubetzkoy said “environmental responsibility definitely improves the health of your bottom line.” Troubetzkoy added that the SLHTA would work closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Saint Lucia Tourist Board, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology to develop an environmental action plan destination wide.
According to Troubetzkoy, the aims of the Year of the Environment include: more sustainable use of water and energy, better pollution controls and more effective conservation and use of natural resources plus an action plan to reduce the use of plastic and styrofoam. “We are emphasizing better attention to our environment because it is the right thing to do, and because, for the health of our industry – it is the best thing to do,” she stated.