BASSETERRE – ST KITTS – The recent decision by St. Kitts and Nevis to be a part of the GSTC’s network, is getting support from Royal Caribbean Cruises, a leader in environmental sustainability among the cruise industry.
Recognized as a GSTC Patron, Royal Caribbean is today helping sponsor implementation of the new Criteria for Destinations in a cruise ship port of call: St. Kitts and Nevis.
Why help with the Destination program? Says Jamie Sweeting, Vice President for Environmental Stewardship and Global Chief Environmental Officer at Royal Caribbean, “We feel a responsibility in working with destinations to try to increase the positive and minimize the negative impacts of our visitations.”
A cruise company can hold its ships to a high standard of environmental sustainability (Royal Caribbean’s vessels have advanced wastewater purification systems, for instance, and the company is installing exhaust gas scrubbers on some of its smokestacks).
But when guests are spending much of their time in port, their environmental impact goes far beyond the ship. The company has already announced that half of its land excursions must be third-party verified to a GSTC-recognized standard by 2015.
When the final GSTC Criteria for Destinations are in place, they will provide another standard by which Royal Caribbean can judge ports of call.
St. Kitts and Nevis is a good place to start. Many of Royal Caribbean’s voyages to the Southern Caribbean stop at Basseterre, the country’s capital, where guests are able to ride the “sugar train,” visit an original plantation house, trek through lush jungle, or ride a catamaran over to Nevis for a beach barbecue.
Maintaining the quality of these experiences means integrating the guidelines of sustainability, which St. Kitts & Nevis is now doing with the help of a GSTC consultant—not to mention the support of Royal Caribbean, in the article written by Brookes Wilkinson in Travel Forever of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (WTO) more than 900 million international tourists travelled last year and it forecasts 1.6 billion tourists by the year 2020.