The Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd has taken its environmental conservation initiatives underwater, as it seeks to promote sustainable tourism development.
In September TTAL CEO Louis Lewis and other TTAL officials went on a diving expedition with the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC), to plant critically-endangered staghorn corals on a reef off the coast of Pirates Bay.
The initiative was necessary to preserve Tobago’s marine heritage and assets.
Lewis said in a press release on Friday, “Corals are the building blocks of our island’s marine heritage, serving a number of benefits for our local marine life, and enhancing the livelihoods of Tobagonians who depend on the ocean for economic or recreational purposes. Furthermore, these environmental efforts are not only critical to addressing climate change and biodiversity, but also seek to maximise the potential of tourism to contribute to the blue economy.”
This marine conservation initiative followed closely on the heels of a collaborative coastal-zone management exercise between TTAL and ERIC in August, when the team planted trees along the island’s coastline to mitigate against coastal erosion.
These activities, along with ongoing environmental programmes such as Green Key and Blue Flag, align with TTAL’s ongoing efforts to enhance the environmental sustainability and eco-tourism offerings of Destination Tobago.
Dr Sherma Roberts, chair of TTAL’s board of directors, added, "As our destination's branding of 'unspoilt, untouched and undiscovered' suggests, the strength of our tourism product lies in Tobago’s natural assets: beautiful landscapes and stunning seascapes that visitors flock to in search of escape, and a direct connection with nature itself. This coral-planting initiative is not only environmentally necessary, but is also key to supporting and preserving Tobago’s tourism product and patrimony.”
TTAL said it will continue to be an advocate for responsible tourism initiatives, and looks forward to collaborating with local NGOs to direct change and development in the industry while enhancing the sustainability of the destination.