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Green Tourism Camp participants exposed to basics of sustainable tourism

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (MMS-SKN) — As activities marking ‘St. Kitts Plastic Free July (PFJ) 2022’ draw to a close, members of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council of the Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday, July 26 journeyed to the St. Kitts Eco Park, Sir Gillies Estate in Sandy Point, where a one-week Green Tourism Camp attended by 40 schoolchildren is on-going.

The Green Tourism Camp, which is organised by the Projects Unit of the Ministry of Tourism, opened on Monday, July 25 and closes tomorrow Friday, July 29. In attendance are schoolchildren aged 8-12 from four rural primary schools, Sandy Point, St. Paul’s, Newton Ground, and Dieppe Bay.

“The main objective of the camp is for the kids to learn about reducing, reusing and recycling,” explained Camp Organiser, Tourism Education Officer, Ms. Samantha Boone. “We have a slogan this year which we are using, the Four Green Ps, which are: Protecting our People, Plants and Planet.”

According to Ms. Boone, who is being assisted by officials from the Ministry, Mrs. Shaline Lewis, and Mrs. Therez Ambrose-Versailles, the camp is centred on the slogan and the theme. They have had different presentations, including from the Department of Environment teaching the kids on the harmful effects of plastics on the environment, and the Sea Turtle Monitoring Network on the harmful effects of pollution on sea animals.

“Today (Tuesday, July 26) we had a sustainable tourism session presented by the Sustainable Destination Council,” said Ms. Boone. “We are also going to have a presentation from the Department of Agriculture about plant propagation and transplanting of seedlings, teaching the kids how to plant their own food, and how to sustain themselves, and tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27) we will have a recycling presentation by a representative of the Embassy of China on Taiwan.”

According to Sustainable Tourism Coordinator in the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Kenney Manning, the team which included Chair of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council, Mrs. Diannille Taylor-Williams, made a presentation including a video, on ‘Understanding the Basics of Tourism and Sustainability, which forms part of the ‘St. Kitts Plastic Free July (PFJ) 2022’ activities.

“St. Kitts and Nevis being a country where tourism is the main engine of economic growth, the whole idea of our visit was to talk to the camp participants about the basics of tourism and sustainability,” noted Mr. Manning. “First of all I gave them a background of what tourism is; explaining what sustainability means, making sure that sustainable tourism is where you ensure that there is longevity to it and making sure that it encompasses the 3Ps of sustainable tourism, which are – the people, planet and prosperity.”

He however explained that the 3Ps he presented to the Green Tourism Camp participants, while closely related to the camp’s slogan of 4Ps, were somewhat different in terms of emphasis and application.

Under the caption ‘Understanding Tourism’, Mr. Manning advised them that tourism was the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while making use of services like hotels, tour buses and restaurants. He further noted that tourism allows people to go on vacation, experience weather that is different from the one at home, learn about different cultures, taste new foods, and get to see different lifestyles.

While tourism is good as it makes people relax and provide jobs, as good tourists buy local items, the participants were also informed that it has its bad aspects including among others pollution of beaches and air when some tourists dump garbage which damages the planet.

But above all, Mr Manning told them that tourism is good only if it is sustainable, as among others it would bring prosperity to the people where they have money, are healthy and happy. The participants were advised that reducing, recycling and reusing of certain products, among them plastics, could help in the conservation of the environment and also to bring a measure of prosperity.

“The Sustainable Destination Council (SDC) is a group of people who study the 3Ps Prosperity, People, and Planet,” said Mr Manning. “These people come together and share all their knowledge through research and discussion. Then they form an opinion to share with the Ministry of Tourism about what should happen next with tourism in St. Kitts and Nevis.”

The final activity on St. Kitts Plastic Free July (PFJ) 2022 calendar of activities will be the ‘Plastic Free July March’ that will be held tomorrow Friday, July 29. Participants will start from Five-Ways on Central Street at 9:00 a.m., walking to downtown Basseterre, turn down Church Street, Liverpool Row, up Fort Street, and end at Independence Square.

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