Department of Tourism invites all to new ‘Living Green’ fair

In celebration of Earth Day 2011 the Departments of Tourism and Environment will be hosting a “Living Green” fair on Thursday, 14 April, between 11am and 6pm on the lawns of the Governor’s Residence.

At the fair, local businesses and organisations will be on hand to showcase the range of environmentally-friendly products, services and programmes currently available in the Cayman Islands.

Artistic renditions of green living as interpreted by Caymanian children will also be on display along with initiatives local schools have implemented through the Department of Tourism’s Disney Planet Challenge programme. The 2011 Disney Planet Challenge winners will present their research project to all patrons.

The Cayman Islands Environmental Project for the Tourism Sector (CEPTS) is a joint initiative of the Departments of Tourism and Environment designed to encourage environmental best practices throughout the tourism industry and to improve the overall performance of attractions, accommodations and tourism partners.

CEPTS is the first environmental programme to be funded primarily by the Cayman Islands Government, rather than through donor agencies or private sector partners, and consists of three phases.

Phase I, the pilot phase, was completed in June 2010 and involved four properties and one attraction undergoing an environmental assessment, establishing environmental management systems and achieving Green Globe Certification – the internationally accredited certification that recognizes corporate environmental responsibility for the Travel and Tourism Industry.

This pilot group consisted of Southern Cross Club and Little Cayman Beach Resort on Little Cayman and Cobalt Coast Dive Resort, Compass Point Dive Resort, and Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park on Grand Cayman.

During the pilot phase, Little Cay man was assessed to determine the feasibility of Little Cayman becoming the first island to receive Green Globe Destination Certification. Little Cayman would be the first Caribbean Island and the Cayman Islands the first country in the Western Hemisphere to achieve this.

In addition, the Departments of Tourism and Environment were audited and, through the environmental operations appraisal findings, were also encouraged to implement their own environmental management systems. Since then, the Department of Tourism has saved over CI$11,000 for the fiscal 2008/09 and 2009/10 by simply turning on their air cooling unit an hour later in the morning and off an hour earlier in the evening.

Phase II of the project, scheduled to begin in the summer of 2011, will include the review of the existing development control and site design regulations in the tourism sector with the intent of incorporating environmental policies at the industry level. During Phase II, five to seven additional tourism entities – attractions, hotels, tour operators and restaurants – will also undergo an audit and EMS preparation before obtaining their Green Globe Certification. Additionally, the work plan to enable Little Cayman to receive their Destination Certification will be developed during the second phase of the programme.

At the completion of Phase II, the programme’s third and final phase will include establishing EMS in another independent group of restaurants, tour operations and water sports operators, Marinas will be able to achieve their Blue Flag Certification and Little Cayman will successfully attain their Destination Certification.