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“Climate Friendly” Caribbean Unveiling For CMEx

CASTRIES, Saint Lucia – A landmark announcement on declaring certain Caribbean destinations “climate friendly” will be made at the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) meeting in Saint Lucia from December 3 to 7, 2009.

“We will show how European and other travelers from wealthier countries can actually emit less carbon – including the flight – in the Caribbean than if they stayed at home,” asserted CMEx director Lelei LeLaulu.

“Our partners have developed an ironclad system which rates the extent to which suppliers are respecting the natural environment. We will quantitatively and qualitatively prove just how green the responsible Caribbean tourism sector is,” he declared.

Taking aim at the British Government’s punishing Airline Passenger Departure tax which is “brutalizing the small economies of poorer countries where tourism is the main earner – at the worst possible time – a global recession,” LeLaulu voiced his intention to “publicize these results to world travelers, especially those who vote for the politicians concocting these opportunistic tax measures.”

“We have to continue fighting this reprehensible, protectionist tax on travelers,” opined LeLaulu, who worried “the taxes will batter tropical travel and tourism – as badly as any hurricane – hurting millions of working class families that depend on tourism to send their children to school and put food on their tables.”

“Given the state of the global economy, this tax is probably one of worst penalties to hit the developing world in recent memory. Small island states have the least to do with climate changing emissions, yet suffer the most from its excesses such as sea-level rise and warming – and now a tax which lines Treasury coffers on the back of hard-working people in the Caribbean and the Pacific,” lamented LeLaulu.

The Media Exchange is partnering with international development organizations and Caribbean tourism stakeholders to implement a program that uses a sustainability index to declare “climate friendly” hotels, tourist attractions and the destinations of the region.

“By identifying ‘climate friendly’ destinations, as well as resorts, restaurants and other facilities within a destination, millions of travelers will start to choose the planet’s climate-friendly destinations, the majority of which lie in the Caribbean and Pacific,” forecast LeLaulu.

The theme for the CMEx December meeting is “Multicultural Marketing: A Climate for Change.” Underlying the provocative presentations and lively discussion is how tourism can improve the health, wealth, education, environment and culture of destinations in a “climate-friendly fashion”, as delegates examine how to “climate proof” Caribbean tourism as well as build resilience into a recessionary environment.

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