Two accommodation properties in Tobago have received the internationally-recognised Green Key certification, making the island the only destination in the English-speaking Caribbean to have certified sites.
The Crown Point properties – Bananaquit and Shepherd’s Inn – now hold the prestigious eco-label that indicates their operations are committed to sustainable tourism practices.
The certification was awarded after the Green Key National Jury of TT voted unanimously on April 29.
Green Key is awarded to accommodations and other hospitality facilities that commit to sustainable business practices. In Tobago, the programme is jointly executed by Green TT and the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited (TTAL).
In an interview with Newsday, Chief Secretary and Secretary of Tourism Ancil Dennis said Tobago is being carefully and strategically positioned as an environmentally-sustainable tourism destination.
"This is where our competitive edge will be, post covid19.
"It is also in sync with the natural tourism assets we have been blessed with, and other successful initiatives undertaken recently by this administration. Those include Blue Flag Pilot status (a sustainable development award) for three of our beaches, the Man and the Biosphere accreditation by UNESCO, the waste recycling initiative and putting systems in place for the proper utilisation of the Buccoo reef marine area.
"The properties receiving Green Key accreditation is another initiative along the lines of sustainability and represents a partnership between the private sector and a state agency working towards enhancing Tobago as a tourism destination."
TTAL’s CEO Louis Lewis applauded the achievement of both properties.
“With two accommodation establishments attaining Green Key accreditation, it signals incipient signs of a synergy between the private sector and the policy intent to position Tobago as an authentic sustainable tourism destination, post covid19,” Lewis said.
He said one of the most important facets of this programme is that it raises awareness and creates behavioural changes in guests, staff and suppliers of individual tourism establishments, which has a ripple effect throughout the tourism sector.
“We endorse this initiative and want to encourage all accommodation providers on the island to consider engaging in this programme, not only for its competitive advantage and positioning but because it is the right thing to do for the natural environment.”
Owner of Shepherd’s Inn Colin Shepherd said felt honoured by the certification.
“We were overwhelmed and privileged.”
Shepherd added: “For starters, it has brought awareness to the staff and also to other hoteliers, knowing that we have taken the forefront to preserve the environment, conserve water, conserve energy. We are so mindful of a sustainable environment and having such an award proves that we as one of the smaller hotels, we have taken that initiative to make sure that we are at the forefront.”
Manager of Bananaquit Rachel Best said, “We are extremely excited at having been recognised for our efforts to play a part in taking care of the environment. Bananaquit has always operated in a way that has least impact on the environment, so this was a natural step forward for us. We are eager to work together with Green Key international and keep improving our journey toward a more sustainable future.”
She said Bananaquit has always written its policies and procedures with a mindset that was conscious and friendly towards the environment.
“So, it was an easier task to achieve certification, as well as make the necessary changes to reach required standards.”
She said she is looking forward to the reopening of the TT borders and promoting this achievement to the international visitors.
“We want to improve our recycling programmes and encourage our guests and other establishments to join the journey in making more conscious choices for a greener, cleaner Tobago.”