Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 01, 2016 (SKNIS): Minister of Tourism, Honourable Lindsay Grant, has revealed that since the inception of the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation and the Heart of St. Kitts Sustainability Charter in February of this year, 50 stakeholders have taken part. This was revealed during Minister Grant’s message to mark the start of Tourism Awareness Month, which takes place during November.
“The Charter is used as a tool for tourism enterprises to tell their sustainability story while the Foundation has been created mainly as a travel philanthropy programme which sources funding for sustainable tourism development projects in St Kitts,” Minister Grant said. “So far these projects have successfully engaged 50 stakeholders from both public and private sectors on collaborative action planning for destination management. The implementation of the Sustainable Tourism Professionals Certificate Programme in 2013 resulted in over 30 public and private-sector destination-stakeholders graduating from the programme, earning the title of “Destination Guardian”.”
Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Diannille Taylor-Williams, explained that destination management involves various partners coming together to take care of the travel location that is St. Kitts.
“A lot of the management of the destination or how the destination is cared for is outside of the natural purview of the Ministry of Tourism,” Mrs. Taylor-Williams said. “We have to therefore rely on our partners such as Water Services, Department of Culture, SKELEC (St. Kitts Electricity Company Ltd.), all those form part of the destination. What they do is integral to what we are doing in tourism – creating a tourism destination or tourism product. So we all are destination managers in different forms.”
Mrs. Taylor-Williams noted that the Sustainable Tourism Professionals Certificate Programme that commenced in 2013 helped to effectively show stakeholders their role in sustainable tourism.
“It’s actually an online course which was put on by our sustainable tourism international partner Sustainable Travel International in collaboration with USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and the George Washington University, USA,” Mrs. Taylor Williams said. “So it’s an online programme in sustainable tourism. The participants were a wide-ranging group coming from the public sector and the private sector. They all did a foundational module on sustainable tourism development. So everybody had to understand the concept and the pillars of sustainable tourism.”
The Assistant Secretary noted that this enabled participants to apply this knowledge to their particular field. She outlined that there was a total of four modules, and participants had to demonstrate their experience in destination management. She noted that by the conclusion of the course some participants testified that they previously had not realized the link between their careers and destination management.
“These new “destination guardians” are stewards of our destination and are supposed to be on the lookout for things that work against the destination being managed sustainably,” Mrs. Taylor-Williams said. “For example, people talk about waste management and putting bins in Basseterre and stuff like that. That is one part of it, but what about reducing the amount of waste that we generate, recycling helps with that. These are some of the things that we want to do as “destination guardians”.”