The Puerto Rico Tourism Company recently received the first “Destination Stewardship Award” bestowed at the annual Caribbean Tourism Organization Sustainable Tourism Conference for its work in creating, developing and implementing programs and initiatives that promote sustainable tourism.
Among the finalists competing for the award were 30 projects and programs from Aruba, Barbados, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Granada, Guadalupe, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Vincent & Grenadines and Puerto Rico.
The Destination Stewardship Award was created by CTO and TravelMole.com to raise awareness about the importance of adequate planning and to promote the development of a sustainable tourism industry in such an important and ecologically diverse area as the Caribbean.
The destinations competing for the award have been able to implement green initiatives in their jurisdiction, improve planning strategies for tourism industry developments, the conservation of cultural heritage, environmental protection, and encouraging and promoting the conservation of natural and energy resources.
“The Puerto Rico Tourism Company celebrates this achievement. We were confident that the program created by the Sustainable Tourism Division is a very complete one and we had a good chance of winning,” Tourism Company Executive Director Ingrid Rivera-Rocafort said.
“This award recognizing Puerto Rico as the Caribbean destination with the best educational programs, guidelines, and certification programs makes us work even harder to promote and establish sustainable tourism practices in the hospitality industry,” she said.
The local government has been taking steps toward promoting sustainable tourism since 2006, prompting the Tourism Company to create and develop programs and guidelines to promote different initiatives. One such proposal, the certification program for sustainable tourism installations, seeks to ensure that all Tourism Company-endorsed facilities meet sustainability principles and improve long term competitiveness of our tourism industry. That program was submitted for the CTO’s consideration.