Brian Major explores how Caribbean governments, tourism agencies, and diverse organizations have come together in initiatives to preserve the islands’ environment. Among the most noteworthy of these, he says, is Blue Flag certification, which “recognizes excellence in sustainability development and practices at beaches and marinas in coastal areas frequented by tourists.” Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:
A handful of Caribbean destinations have recently earned Blue Flag certification, which is awarded by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an international not-for-profit, non-governmental agency based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The latest recipient is Palomino Island, a private, 100-acre resort area at the El Conquistador Resort & Las Casitas Village, Waldorf Astoria Resorts in Fajardo.
Palomino Island was awarded Blue Flag certification in February. Certification is based on compliance with 32 beach and 24 marina criteria dealing with environmental education and information, management, water quality and safety. To retain Blue Flag status, destinations are required to maintain the criteria and undergo a certification review each season.
El Conquistador’s other sustainability initiatives include the use of treated water for the property’s golf course, the harvesting of local ingredients for dining outlets and the use of room keys made from 43 percent recycled materials. El Conquistador also utilizes fuel-saving boats to transport guests to and from Palomino Island.
Several other Caribbean resorts and destinations achieved Blue Flag certification in 2014. Trinidad’s Las Cuevas Beach received the designation in September [. . .] Also in January St. Maarten’s Oyster Bay Beach Resort received Blue Flag certification, joining Divi Little Bay Beach and Isle de Sol Marina as other island properties to be granted the coveted distinction. St. Maarten is the only Dutch Caribbean destination with Blue Flag-certified locations according to St. Maarten Tourist Bureau officials.
[. . .] Finally, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) in January signed a memorandum of understanding with FEE, recognizing the Blue Flag and Green Key programs, in addition to highlighting CHTA’s own Caribbean sustainability initiatives.
[Photo above by Brian Major: “Fajardo’s Palomino Island,” which received Blue Flag environmental certification.]