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Friday 13 December 2019
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Tobago

Charles commits to green economy

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles -
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles -

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles has underscored his administration's commitment to developing a green economy.

Addressing delegates at the World Travel Market 2019, United Kingdom, Charles said as the elected leader of Tobago, he is extremely mindful of his role in overseeing the protection of "a relatively untouched piece of paradise."

He added: "This is an area my administration takes quite seriously and continues to devote considerable attention towards."

Charles said conserving the island's rich biodiversity is about more than ensuring that it remains an ecological sanctuary.

"It is also about us doing our part as a small island to mitigate against the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss, which continue to affect our planet."

Charles said his administration's plan is to promote tourism in a manner that is inherently sustainable "so that we can always have the opportunity to indulge in all that makes us marvel."

The Chief Secretary said Tobago's children must be able to see and experience the island's natural wonders first-hand and not have to settle for just the stories about them.

"Incrementally, we have been implementing policies and programmes to safeguard that goal."

He cited the island's hosting of an inaugural Tobago Environmental Partnership Conference, earlier this year, as an example.

"This was a powerful collaboration between the government, private sector and NGOs which focused on the green and blue economy; climate change; recycling and waste management; sustainable tourism and stewardship of the natural environment.

"We know that we can better address environment concerns when we forge solidarity with one another and rely on each other’s strengths."

At present, Charles said the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment and the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development are implementing a Tobago recycling resource initiative, in conjunction with a national recycling company.

"This will see the establishment of the first ever Materials Recovery Depot on the island."

In his address, Charles hailed the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd (TTAL) as one of his administration's success stories.

He said in just two years, the TTAL has "breathed new life" into Tobago.

"It has reinvigorated our outlook for the future. We are not only hopeful but excited and have received several assurances and accolades along the way that we are heading in the right direction," he said.

Charles noted the Tobago Beyond brand campaign was shortlisted for the International Travel and Tourism Awards for Best National Tourism Board campaign and Best Design Campaign.

He added popular women's magazine Marie Claire UK also highlighted Tobago as the 2019 Hottest Holiday Destination "for those seeking to slow down and go off the grid."

Charles said Tobago was also noted as one of the top Caribbean dive spots by USA Today and one of the top Caribbean islands for scuba diving by SportsDiver.

"I believe that we are only now getting started with where we would like to be and realising our maximum potential."

Charles said the TTAL, headed by CEO Louis Lewis, continues to work alongside local establishments to sensitise them about being more environmentally conscious and green conscious whilst maintaining the quality of the overall visitor experience.

Additionally, Charles said the island has submitted two of its famous local beaches, Kings Bay and Batteaux Bay, for consideration of the Blue Flag Eco Label.

"As some of you may know, this is a trusted global eco label awarded to beaches, marinas and boat tour operators that meet and maintain high environmental standards and water quality."

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