Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) and the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) have partnered to enable Sandy Zammar, a Bachelor’s of Science graduate from Canada, to help build the Blue Flag and Green Key program as the Eco-Label Coordinator. Sandy obtained her degree from Western University, and has worked with the provincial government in Canada at the Ontario Ministry of Environment on environmental protection projects. She has previously lived in St. Maarten and is pleased to return to the island to help build the sustainable tourism industry.
EPIC is the National Operator of the Blue Flag for beaches and marinas and Green Key for restaurants and hotels programs. Sites which meet specific criteria are awarded the globally recognized flag or plaque to demonstrate they are environmentally-friendly and can use this as a marketing advantage. St. Maarten’s currently has three awarded sites which are part of the Blue Flag and Green Key network of over 6,500 sites in 53 countries which are recognized for their excellence.
Studies find that Caribbean tourists use three times more water than residents and produce four times as much waste. For these reasons, it is important to find the balance between environmental protection and tourism. Blue Flag and Green Key provide criteria which ensures this balance, including environmental plans for waste and energy consumption, water management, the use of environmentally-friendly products, and health and safety issues. Another important component of the programs is educating tourists and residents about environmental issues and sensitive areas in Sint Maarten.
Sites which meet the rigorous criteria will find cost-savings in energy, water, and other resources while demonstrating that they strive for the highest standards in management and operations. An increase in Blue Flag and Green Key sites here in Sint Maarten will build the sustainable tourism industry, providing tourists with green alternatives and diversifying the economy.
Any sites interested in pursuing the Blue Flag or Green Key award are encouraged to contact Sandy Zammar at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 545-3009. More information is available at http://www.greenkey.global/ and http://www.blueflag.global/ .