From the tree tops of Mt. Liamuiga to the coral reefs in White House Bay, St. Kitts is a place where we celebrate our past, believe in the authenticity of our culture, protect our land and sea, and invest in our future. This is the Heart of St. Kitts, we look forward to sharing it with you.
History of Sustainable Destination Management in St. Kitts
In 2005, the St. Kitts & Nevis government shut down the last of the historic sugar plantations, which had been running for hundreds of years, and focused on tourism as the primary economic driver for the island. Since 2005, tourism has boomed. With just over 360,000 annual visitors in 2005, St. Kitts & Nevis is now on track to welcome over 1 million visitors in 2016. However, with a quick rise in visitation, St. Kitts realized their need to plan for sustainable growth of the tourism sector in order to avoid potential negative impacts to their environment and cultural heritage – common issues caused by poor destination management.
Since 2012, the St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism has partnered with international NGO, Sustainable Travel International to support sustainable destination management on the island, achieve a common agenda – to improve lives and protect places through travel and tourism, and to implement the Ministry’s ‘Pro-People, Pro-Planet’ tourism strategy.
Through the collaborative efforts of this partnership, St. Kitts was one of the first destinations in the world to become an Early Adopter of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) Destination Criteria. As a result, they identified quick-win action projects to address the island’s most critical needs, created the Inter-Agency Sustainable Destination Management Council (IASDMC) to streamline sustainability operations across government agencies to address those needs, and trained over 30 local leaders on the island to become better destination stewards.
The collective success of these efforts positioned St. Kitts to become the recipient of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) Sustainable Tourism Award in Destination Stewardship in 2014.
The Heart of St. Kitts Foundation
The Heart of St. Kitts Foundation was established in 2016 to build on the success that the Ministry of Tourism has made by expanding their efforts to more fully integrate the role that tourism enterprises and visitors play in creating and sharing the destination’s Sustainability Story.
The Heart of St. Kitts Foundation was developed as a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Tourism and tourism enterprises on island to ensure that development on the island continues to preserve and benefit the environment, culture, heritage, and the livelihoods of St. Kitts residents.
Driven by of a coalition of local businesses committed to sustainability, the Foundation acts to build awareness around sustainability priorities in St. Kitts and provide funding for local projects that make the island a better and more sustainable place to live and experience.
Through support from local tourism businesses and visitors to the island, the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation aims to inspire better stewardship of the environment, culture and lasting legacy of St. Kitts.
For locals and visitors to contribute to the lasting legacy of the cultural and environmental well-being of St. Kitts as stewards of the island.
The Foundation commits to supporting projects that:
- Conserve land and marine habitat
- Improve waste management
- Preserve local culture and heritage sites
- Support new community-driven tourism products