Pigeon Point Tobago (c) Green Key

Strengthening the Tobago tourism sector through Green Key

Posted Oct 29, 2020

Partner post with Green Key Global by Claudia Bogensperger. Original article at https://www.greenkey.global/stories-news-1/2020/10/7/strengthening-the-tobago-tourism-sector-through-green-key

On the 28th and 30th of July 2020, the Tobago Tourism Agency Ltd. (TTAL) officially launched the Tobago Green Key programme in partnership with Green Trinidad & Tobago. The launch happened through the virtual engagement of approximately forty owners and managers of small and large tourism accommodation facilities in Tobago.

The Green Key award, as a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry, currently comprises over 3200 Green Key sites globally. A heavy concentration of these establishments also lies within Tobago’s key source markets, being the United Kingdom and Europe in general. The decision taken by the TTAL to encourage local tourism establishments in Tobago to be Green Key certified is a strategic one given the global demand for eco-friendlier tourism. It, therefore, signals strong commitment and action to raising the quality standards of establishments in Tobago as well as the overall international appeal of the destination.

Narendra Ramgulam, Director Tourism Product Development & Destination Management at the TTAL states;

"Green Key is critically important to ensure that we develop and encourage low carbon footprint products for our destination. This not only gives us an attractive appeal in the eyes of our eco-seeking global customers, mainly coming from the United Kingdom and Germany, but it additionally raises the standard and quality of sustainable products on the island of Tobago and enhances development that is in sync with our image and brand. Both, the Green Key and Blue Flag certificate, an award for beaches, tourism boats and marinas, will give us a competitive advantage over our competitors. Our stakeholders have shown an interest in engaging in the Green Key programme, not only due to its competitive advantage but because they believe that it is the right thing to do from an environmental perspective and an important step for the future of the industry in Tobago."

By being part of Green Key, tourism business owners represent a commitment that their establishments adhere to the strict international criteria as stipulated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). At the same time, by staying at Green Key awarded properties, tourists can make a difference in regards to sustainability and environmental protection. Green T&T, a local environmental non-governmental organisation, acts as the national operator on behalf of FEE in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) for the coordination of both, the Green Key and Blue Flag program. Through education and certification of establishments, Green T&T is dedicated to increasing the overall environmental awareness and consciousness in the region.

Tenisha Brown-Williams, Green Key Coordinator at Green T&T believes that particularly through the COVID-19 crisis, those destinations that commit and follow through with solid environmental practices will gain competitive advantages. This appears as travellers are now more conscious of how safety, sanitation and ecological practices will aid in preserving their well-being. Tenisha Brown Williams adds to this notion;

"The Green Key certification can boost Tobago’s visibility and appeal on the international market to the ‘green traveller’ who will visit Tobago’s pristine and unique environment and act responsibly."

The Green Key programme is currently open to the following categories within the hospitality and tourism sector in Tobago: Hotels, Hostels and Small Accommodations, and will later include Attractions, Restaurants and Conference Centres. For further information about how to attain the prestigious Green Key award in Tobago, please visit Green T&T or Visit Tobago, contact the TTAL at +868 612 8825 ext. 2005 or send an E-Mail to kcowie@tobagotourism.org or greenkey@green-tt.org.