Runaway Bay and Ocho Rios Resorts, we may all agree that in the tourist business maintaining a clean, safe and beautiful environment is a continuing and ever-present concern. In managing our resources we must consider constant use by visitors from around the world as well as Jamaican residents.
In some cases, we must consider not only the tourism property but the surrounding areas, keeping them clean and litter free. If your property is on a beach, you may have other concerns about maintaining the cleanliness of the water washing your shore, and the health and conservation of the coral reef, where your visitors might be enjoying scuba diving, snorkeling or trips in a glass-bottom boat.
Runaway Bay Conservation
Some JHTA members in Runaway Bay and Ocho Rios Resorts have already won awards for their work in protecting the environment. Others are members of the EarthCheck benchmarking and certification programme. For example, all Sandals Resorts participate in this programme, which focuses on assisting clients among others conserve or manage water, energy and waste.
Under this programme Sandals Resorts also promote and sell local tours, meaning that people living around a resort area can benefit from the business brought in by visitors. In this way, they will end up paying attention to natural resources because they understand the economic link that exists between environments that are cared for and contented visitors.
Sandals Resorts happens to be one of the first international resorts to receive EarthCheck environmental certification. Work in the environment is continued through the Sandals Foundation to promote education, work in communities and to protect the Caribbean.
Ocho Rios protecting Sea Turtles
So, what is EarthCheck? From their website we learn that since 1987 EarthCheck has worked with businesses, communities and governments to deliver clean, healthy destinations for travellers to visit. You can find more here.
Other organizations that are working in Jamaica with communities to protect the environment, are the Nature Conservancy, which is working on conservation projects on the Pedro Banks.
Runaway Bay and Ocho Rios Resorts also understands that the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), is working on managing the environment in the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park in partnership with Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), with its Tourism Enhancement Fund Project for Environment and Planning, with a 2016 project planned to establish a wildlife reserve in Westmoreland.
Other projects include one involving Caribbean Conservation that protects Sea Turtles on beaches near Ocho Rios and the Jamaica Environment Trust with its marine mammal education and advocacy programme, which also hosts the Clean Coast Project that involves local communities in the cleaning up of beaches and under water around Jamaica.
The fact is there are many ways that the tourism industry can link into protecting the environment and promoting conservation for positive net results which include the sustainable use of our natural resources, improved profits and contented visitors.