ST.GEORGE’S, GRENADA – Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean’s sustainable efforts were recognized as the destination walked away with three titles in the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Sustainable Tourism Awards. The ceremony was held in St.Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday evening. The first award went to the Carriacou Maroon and Stringband Music Festival Committee for Culture and Heritage Protection. The Committee ensures that the festival happens annually in the last weekend in April with a heavy focus on preserving the African heritage and traditions of Carriacou through an authentic display of maroon culture.
The Festival offers visitors the chance to witness the traditional practice of a ‘maroon’ – a celebration offering thanks for the last harvest and asking for good fortune during the upcoming planting season. The Stringband element of the festival is equally strong with the celtic heritage of string instruments unique to Carriacou and Petite Martinique displayed at the popular ‘Strings in the City’ event which brings traditional musicians and dancers onto the streets of Hillsborough. The three-day festival is marked with traditional songs, dance, the eating of smoked food and cultural performances. The Committee partners with community groups and the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) to ensure that students and children in the various villages in Carriacou and Petite Martinique are involved in the Festival to pass on the traditions to the next generation.
The second award of the night was in the Nature Conservation category going to the Kido Foundation based in Carriacou. The Kido Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 1995, involved in the protection of critically endangered nesting sea turtles (Hawksbills & Leatherbacks) and mangrove planting. The Foundation is also involved in youth environmental education, conservation practices, and the training of turtle/nature local guides.
Activities include night patrols on foot, tagging of turtles, the disguising of turtle tracks and hatchling monitoring. The Kido Foundation also supported the startup of a group called Carriacou Creative Women who presently make a number of items for sale including bags from recycled material.
Recently, the Foundation has been working with the local government in Carriacou and the GTA to transform the hiking trail on Carriacou’s highest peak ‘High North’ into a tourism attraction. Thus far, the hiking trail has been cleared and footpaths and locally crafted signage installed. Guides are also being trained to provide tours to visitors and locals inclusive of bird watching.
The third award went to the True Blue Bay Boutique Resort in the Sustainable Accommodation category. For years, the True Blue Bay Resort has incorporated sustainable practices into its operations from the management of water use to the use of biodegradable products at its restaurants and bars. This was a conscious decision taken by its proprietors more than a decade ago. Earlier this year, the True Blue Bay Resort took its commitment to sustainability to another level with the launch of its advanced Climate Smart Cocoa Pod Rooms. The rooms and suites feature solar panels to generate electricity, craft furniture made with ethically sourced materials and energy efficient appliances in addition to thorough insulation to keep the rooms cool with minimum energy consumption.
Hotel Manager, Mary Calliste, accepted the award on behalf of the True Blue Bay Resort while GTA Product Development and Research Manager, Kirl Hoschtialek, accepted the other two and said, “ We are honoured to be awarded and it is even more special that two of these awards went to initiatives of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. The people of the Sister Islands are passionate about the preservation of their natural environment and unique heritage.”
Speaking about the awards, Hon. Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen said “As Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, I am extremely proud of the efforts of our stakeholders who are championing the cause for sustainable tourism. Because of their efforts, Grenada is on the map as a world-class sustainable destination.
The CTO Sustainable Tourism Awards was a major event of the 2019 CTO Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development. The Awards recognize individuals, groups, organizations or companies in the Caribbean which have developed responsible and unique tourism products or are engaged in implementing sustainable tourism-related initiatives which embrace sustainable tourism core values.