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Caribbean Tourism Organization Awards Hotels For Environmental Excellence

SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda – Two initiatives emanating from two ends of the sustainable tourism development spectrum share the CTO/TravelMole award for environmental excellence.

Barbados’ Harrison’s Cave and Surama Village Eco-Lodge of Guyana are the winners of the 2011 Caribbean Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award, presented by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, in collaboration with TravelMole.

A panel of regional and international tourism and environmental specialists – led by the head judge, Lelei LeLaulu, vice president of Marketplace Excellence and Caribbean Media Exchange – selected the winning projects, and the awards were presented at STC-12 here today.

Harrison’s Cave won for taking what was already a mature tourism attraction and upgrading it to make it more environmentally responsible and more economically productive. Green principles have been incorporated into the design and construction of the facility. Elements of greening include the use of natural wood and stone products, low carbon transportation, rainwater harvesting, green design for Visitor Reception Centre and the use of membrane bioreactor sewerage treatment plants.

Surama Village Eco-Lodge, on the other hand, harnesses the economic power of the visitor industry in a responsible and sustainable way to create wealth and to benefit the community of under 290 people and their environment. The Surama Eco-Lodge and all tours in and around Surama – a small Amerindian situated on five square miles of savannah land – are managed and operated solely by the local Makushi Amerindians. With only eight rooms, tourism is intentionally kept small to lessen any impact on traditional lifestyles. However, the roughly 700 annual visitors provide employment for 70 people – (from three-quarters of village households) and nearly 60 per cent of the village’s income comes from tourism.

“These two initiatives reflect two of the core aims of the CTO and TravelMole; namely to use tourism as an anti-poverty/development tool and to encourage the continuing refinement of products to ensure enhanced environmental conservation and added revenue generation,” said Mr. LeLaulu.

The CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley and Graham McKenzie of TravelMole presented awards to Ms. Veronica Millington of Caves of Barbados and Mr. Sydney Allicock of Surama Village Eco-Lodge.
The CTO/TravelMole awards are aimed at identifying, recognizing and showcasing sustainable tourism best practices in the Caribbean, which embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values, and which helps to enhance the tourism product offerings.

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