The President of the Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association (SLHTA), Paul Collymore, has stressed the value of protecting the natural environment in a message to mark Earth Day.
“When it was first observed on April 22, 1970, who would have thought back then that Earth Day would have metamorphosed into such a global movement? Who back then would have imagined the continued massive efforts at creating awareness aimed at mitigating the deleterious consequences of climate change? Who would have imagined that there were negative consequences to deforestation, unsustainable agriculture, overfishing, and heavy reliance on pesticides and plastics?” Collymore observed.
He noted that over the past 52 years, people everywhere have had to adopt a culture of co-existence, recognising and appreciating that every species of flora and fauna matters.
According to the SLHTA official, everyone has realised that creating a balance in nature contributes immensely towards protecting essential ecosystems.
Referring to Saint Lucia as an example, Collymore recalled there was a massive effort in the early 1990s to protect not only the sanctity of the island’s national bird – the Amazona versicolor, or Saint Lucian Parrot –but also its very existence.
“Today, through legislation, the Amazona versicolor is a protected species. This is just one example of people recognizing the important intrinsic value of the natural environment,” he stated.
“But we need to do more to protect other species, including our various species of turtles that are continuously being poached on our beaches. We also need to ensure a heightened vigilance for marine species, especially during nesting season,” Collymore declared.
The SLHTA official noted that his organisation, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), lends support to ensuring preservation of the marine environment.
Collymore drew attention to an underwater tree-planting exercise to preserve coral reefs using sunken boats off the coast of Saint Lucia as demonstrating the SLHTA’s commitment in that regard.
He explained that through this exercise, the SLHTA creates more awareness about the benefits of our blue economy while urging people to desist from polluting our oceans through recreational and commercial means.
Collymore also observed that the SLHTA believes in the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” principle, which aids in protecting ecosystems.
“Going green is an important aspect and selling point for our industry,” he stated.