< Return to main news page
Caribbean Tourism Aims To Become Carbon Neutral
Private and public sectors support a holistic approach with real solutions
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (March 14, 2007) – Key players from the UK tourism industry had
the opportunity to exchange views on climate change with the Caribbean Hotel Association
(CHA), its environmental division the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST),
and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) at a meeting held in London.
The encounter, organized by the Caribbean Council for CHA and CTO, enabled
representatives from tour operators, airlines, travel associations, and government officials
to exchange views on how best the industry in the Caribbean might develop jointly a
CAST Director Deirdre Shurland set the stage by tabling two fundamental principles
behind the Caribbean tourism industry’s position as it relates to climate change.
- Caribbean tourism depends heavily on the sustainability of its natural and environmental assets.
- Caribbean countries must not be disadvantaged, or their development efforts curtailed, as a result of mitigation efforts by industrialized, developed countries acting to curtail their own negative impacts on the environment.
At the meeting, she made clear that the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry supports a
strategy that is proportionate for developed and developing countries within carbon trading
According to a recent joint CHA/CTO position paper on climate change: The Caribbean
“should not be penalized as the world’s major economic powers move towards curtailing
their past, present, and future impacts on the global climate,” states the official position
document, adding that every effort must be made to ensure that future consumer
movements and government action do not deter potential European travelers from taking
vacations in the Caribbean. Instead, “[they should] ensure that programs are established
to demonstrate to consumers that they can balance the impacts of their travel to the
The CHA and CTO joint position further concedes that while effective taxation plays a
part in the widespread approach to reduce carbon monoxide emissions, there is a need to
apply such schemes to all transport sectors, not just aviation. In their joint statement, CHA and CTO also pointed to the potential consequences of transport services passing on the
cost of carbon credits to the passengers, which could discourage long-haul travel to the
The schemes being explored in London aimed at managing the carbon - emitting impact
of the industry, while fostering the growth and development of Caribbean nations, include:
- Creation of carbon trading programs – whereby polluting businesses in the travel
trade (such as airlines flying to the Caribbean, for example) can buy permits to
emit carbon dioxide from lower emitters (such as eco-resorts or hotels with
energy saving practices).
- The establishment of a carbon emission verification system in the Caribbean – a
structure to oversee the issue and trading of certificates and permits.
- Development of a carbon trading hub – Both private and public sectors have
stressed their commitment to work towards the long-term vision of the Caribbean
region functioning as a carbon trading hub, where funds for regional development
are generated through the trading of carbon permits. Some portions of these
funds can be ploughed back into sustainable tourism and regional climate change
- Carbon offsetting programs – A way for individuals and business to become
“carbon-neutral. Individuals would be able to pay to offset their proportion of the
carbon emitted on a journey to the Caribbean and that money would go towards
a carbon reduction scheme in the region.
Further, CHA and CTO support a holistic approach where household, road transport,
agriculture, and other industries’ practices are incorporated into efforts to minimize carbon
“It is our hope that the CHA and CTO Position Paper will serve as a template for
replication in other Caribbean tourism markets, following the vision that the Caribbean
comes to be seen as the travel industry leader in combating climate change,” concluded
The meeting was co-chaired by Senator the Honourable Allen Chastanet, Minister of
Tourism and Civil Aviation for St Lucia and Chairman of CTO, and Peter Odle, President of
CHA. It also included presentations from Dimitri Zenghelis, Senior Economist, HM Treasury;
and Andy Cooper, Director General, Federation of Tour Operators (FTO).
A copy of the CHA and CTO Position Paper on Climate Change is available at
< Return to main news page
Press Release Archive
- 2012 -
- 2011 -
- 2010 -
- 2009 -
- 2008 -
- 2007 -