St. Kitts Signs Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism

The St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism is developing a Destination Climate Action Plan in partnership
with Sustainable Travel International.

Basseterre, St. Kitts (03 June, 2024) – This week, the Caribbean island of St. Kitts signed the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, reaffirming the destination’s commitment to sustainable and climate-friendly tourism. The Declaration was signed by Ms.Diannille Taylor-Williams, Director in the St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation & International Transport, on behalf of St. Kitts at the 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States. As a signatory, St. Kitts joins a growing list of companies and destinations committed to halving tourism emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero as soon as possible before 2050. To solidify this commitment, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism will publish a climate action plan within the next 12 months with support from Sustainable Travel International, a leading organization focused on climate change mitigation in tourism.

The Honourable Marsha Henderson, Minister of Tourism, International Transport, Civil Aviation, Labour & Employment, emphasized the importance of this commitment, stating, “Our pledge to the Glasgow Declaration is more than a promise; it’s a testament to our unwavering dedication to safeguarding our island’s natural beauty and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come. By embracing climate action, we are not only protecting St. Kitts’ vibrant ecosystems and rich cultural heritage but also fortifying our tourism industry against the tides of change.”

St. Kitts is recognized internationally as a leader in sustainable tourism due to its long-standing, proactive approach to balancing economic growth with environmental conservation and community well-being. Recognition with prestigious awards, including the CTO Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award and the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award for Destination Stewardship, underscores their outstanding leadership. St. Kitts’s partnership with Sustainable Travel International extends back more than ten years. It includes educating destination leaders and tourism companies on best practices, devising and implementing strategic sustainability initiatives, and engaging local communities in tourism planning and development. Signing the Glasgow Declaration is the next step on St. Kitts’ journey as they increase their focus on climate action.

As a small island developing state, St. Kitts is especially vulnerable to the impacts of a warming climate. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, intensified hurricanes, flooding, freshwater shortages, and coral bleaching pose significant risks to the island’s communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems. This, in turn, jeopardizes the tourism industry, a vital contributor to the country’s GDP. While a cornerstone of St. Kitts’ economy, tourism also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions through cruise and air travel, energy consumption in hotels, excursions, and other activities. By addressing these impacts, St. Kitts can lead by example in mitigating the sector’s contribution to climate change.

To accomplish this, St. Kitts is partnering with Sustainable Travel International to measure the baseline carbon footprint of the country’s tourism industry and develop a Destination Climate Action Plan that outlines practical and actionable strategies to reduce it. The plan will also define adaptation measures to strengthen the island’s resilience to climate change impacts. The plan is being developed via a participatory process that has already seen the successful implementation of two climate action workshops designed to educate tourism businesses and government representatives and foster cross-sector collaboration. This inclusive approach ensures that the Destination Climate Action Plan reflects the needs and perspectives of all stakeholders, promoting a unified and effective response to climate change.

Ms. Diannille Taylor-Williams said, “I am extremely proud to have been the one to affirm St. Kitts’ dedication to climate action in the tourism sector through the signing of the Glasgow Declaration. This pledge, I believe, is a pivotal step towards safeguarding our island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage for future generations. Our commitment to sustainable tourism will not only protect our vibrant ecosystems but also strengthen our resilience and ensure the prosperity of our tourism industry, including our people, amidst global environmental challenges. This speaks quite clearly to a tourism that is Pro People, Pro Planet – a regenerative tourism.”

Paloma Zapata, CEO of Sustainable Travel International, commented on this milestone: “St. Kitts has been a trailblazer for sustainable tourism in the Caribbean. Their commitment to the Glasgow Declaration highlights their leadership in integrating climate action into their tourism strategy. We proudly support St. Kitts’s path to a more sustainable and resilient future.”

For more information about St. Kitts’s partnership with Sustainable Travel International, please visit https://sustainabletravel.org/places/st-kitts/. To learn more, contact diannille.taylor@stkittstourism.kn or kaitlynb@sustainabletravel.org.

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