SLHTA President stresses the value of protecting the natural environment

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Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association (SLHTA) President Paul Collymore highlighted the value of protecting the natural environment in a message to mark Earth Day.

“When first observed on April 22, 1970, who would have thought at the time that Earth Day would have metamorphosed into such a global movement? Who at the time would have imagined the massive efforts continuing awareness campaign aimed at mitigating the deleterious consequences of climate change? Who would have imagined that there were negative consequences on deforestation, unsustainable agriculture, overfishing and heavy reliance on pesticides and plastics?” Collymore observed.

He noted that over the past 52 years, people all over the world have had to adopt a culture of coexistence, recognizing and appreciating that every species of flora and fauna matters.

According to the head of SLHTA, everyone has understood that creating a balance in nature goes a long way towards protecting essential ecosystems.

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Referring to Saint Lucia as an example, Collymore recalled that there had been a massive effort in the early 1990s to protect not only the sanctity of the island’s national bird – the Amazona versicolor, or parrot of Saint Lucia – but also its very existence.

“Today, thanks to 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 said.

“But we need to do more to protect other species, including our various species of turtles which are continually being poached from our beaches. We also need to ensure increased vigilance for marine species, especially during nesting season,” said said Collymore.

The SLHTA official noted that his organization, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), is supporting the preservation of the marine environment.

Collymore drew attention to an underwater tree-planting exercise to preserve coral reefs using sunken boats off Saint Lucia, demonstrating SLHTA’s commitment to this.

He explained that through this exercise, SLHTA is raising awareness of the benefits of our blue economy while urging people to refrain from polluting our oceans through recreational and commercial means.

Collymore also observed that SLHTA believes in the “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” principle, which helps protect ecosystems.

“Going green is an important aspect and selling point for our industry,” he said.

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