Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards 2017

Finalists (in no particular order)


Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award

Nature Seekers (Trinidad & Tobago)
Saint Kitts Ministry of Tourism (St. Kitts & Nevis)
Belmont Estate (Grenada)

Destination Stewardship

Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (Grenada)
Destination St. Kitts (St. Kitts & Nevis)
Puerto Rico Tourism Company (Puerto Rico)

Sustainable Accommodation Award

Cuffie River Nature Retreat and Eco-Lodge, Tobago (Trinidad & Tobago)
Iwokrama (Guyana)
La Jamaca Guesthouse (Puerto Rico)

Biodiversity Conservation Award

Iwokrama (Guyana)
Para la Naturaleza (Puerto Rico)
TIDE Tours (Belize)

Heritage Protection Award

Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth (Barbados)
Turks and Caicos National Trust (Turks & Caicos Islands)
Division of Tourism Culture and Transport, Tobago (Trinidad & Tobago)

Community Benefit Award

Jakes Hotel Villas & Spa (Jamaica)
The Soufriere Regional Development Foundation (St. Lucia)
TIDE Tours (Belize)

Agro-Tourism Award in honor of the CTO Year of Adventure

Belmont Estate (Grenada)
Diamond Chocolate Factory (Grenada)
Good Moon Farm (British Virgin Islands)
Brasso Seco (Trinidad & Tobago)



These Awards are aimed at identifying and showcasing Sustainable Tourism Good Practices in the Caribbean. The awards recognize individuals, groups, organizations or companies in any of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Member Countries which have developed responsible and unique tourism products or are engaged in implementing sustainable tourism-related initiatives which embrace sustainable tourism concepts and core values. These initiatives should also help to enhance the country’s tourism product offerings and advance sustainable and responsible tourism in the Caribbean.

In the Caribbean, Sustainable Tourism Development is understood as “the optimal use of natural, cultural, social and financial resources for national development on an equitable and self sustaining basis to provide a unique visitor experience and an improved quality of life through partnerships among government, the private sector and communities” (CTO Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework, 2008).

Download Sustainable Tourism Award Guidelines (pdf, updated May 03, 2017)




The product/initiative should contribute to a better quality of life in the destination and provide a unique visitor experience. Only one application can be submitted by each CTO member country’s Ministry/Department of Tourism for this overall award. It must cover five key areas of tourism sustainability selected from amongst the following (A-J) areas:

  • A. Environmental Management including but not limited to initiatives focusing on water (fresh and wastewater), energy conservation/renewable energy, solid waste management
  • B. Terrestrial or Marine Area Planning and Management
  • C. Destination Stewardship: sustainable tourism management in destinations
  • D. Local Community Involvement highlighting any training, management mechanisms and benefits provided
  • E. Heritage Protection: cultural, built and natural heritage (including flora and fauna)
  • F. Education: staff training, communication, service excellence and public awareness
  • G. Safety and security: visitors and staff
  • H. Financial Sustainability
  • I. Partnership: multi-stakeholder support to economic, environmental or social initiatives

This Award is open to a CTO member destination (country, region or town) that is making solid strides towards sustainable tourism management at the destination-level through on-going and integrated initiatives and programs designed to improve sustainable tourism planning and promote widespread adoption of good practices, ensure multi-stakeholder engagement, address social and community issues, foster economic linkages, preserve cultural heritage and protect the environment.

Applicants may include government agencies, NGOs, or trade associations on behalf of the destination.

Contenders in this category must demonstrate sustainable tourism policies and strategies that cover four of the areas below:

  • Improve long-term competitiveness of tourism businesses and destinations
  • Enhance well-being of communities as healthy places to visit, live, and invest
  • Preserve and conserve cultural, historical and natural heritage
  • Promote a sense of place and authenticity
  • Involve tourism stakeholders in decision-making
  • Communicate and promote sustainable tourism good practices to other tourism stakeholders

This award is open to small or medium-sized (less than 400 rooms) tourist accommodation facilities (hotels, ecolodges, guesthouses, B&B’s, camp sites, homestay facilities, villas or other). Applicants must demonstrate how they have successfully achieved four of the following results:

  • positive impact on the local supply chain or sustainable consumption practices
  • positive impact on local communities
  • minimizing environmental impact through environmentally sensitive architecture, operations and management (e.g. proper solid waste management, recycling, waste water treatment, energy and water conservation)
  • education of staff and guests about sustainable tourism practices
  • support for cultural and natural heritage preservation in local communities
  • collaboration with other private, public or non-government stakeholders to achieve sustainability good practices
  • relevant certification, awards and marketing initiatives that highlight sustainability efforts
  • use of sustainable transport e.g. use of bicycles, biofuels in vehicles

This award is for a tourism enterprise, community or an entire country that manages tourism well for the long-term benefit of the destination and local people as well as visitors.

Applicants in this category must show how their tourism initiatives have benefited local communities through four of the following areas:

  •  community development
  •  direct social and economic benefits to local people e.g. employment and business creation/expansion, capacity building and transfer of industry skills through training and educational opportunities, career advancement, fair wages etc.
  • a positive contribution to maintaining the heritage (built, cultural or natural) of the destination/community and promotion of a sense of place and authenticity
  • opportunities for local community input and empowerment in tourism development planning
  • multi-stakeholder engagement in tourism management
  • educating locals and visitors on the sustainable tourism efforts of the enterprise, community and/or country

A tourism organization or initiative making a significant contribution to protect and promote heritage (cultural, built, natural, intangible) can apply for this award.

Applicants need to demonstrate how their efforts have directly contributed to heritage protection through four of the following initiatives:

  • efforts to pass on cultural and intangible heritage traditions and skills to younger generations
  • documentation and/or copyrighting of local heritage related materials
  • educating visitors on local heritage and local stakeholders, including the media
  • sustainable financing of local heritage conservation
  • engagement of local communities, public, NGO and/or private sector entities in preserving and promoting local heritage
  • communicating your actions to local stakeholders, including the media

This Award is open to any group, organization, tourism business or attraction working towards the protection of wild/marine life and/or expanding/restoring their local habitat or supporting biodiversity conservation e.g. a national park, marine park, biosphere or wildlife sanctuary.

Applicants in this category must be able to demonstrate four of the following types of initiatives:

  • that your tourism initiative has made a tangible contribution to the conservation/protection of nature in the destination
  • development and successful implementation of specific policies and activities towards nature conservation
  • how your nature conservation efforts have directly benefited the socio-economic well-being of local people
  • efforts to educate visitors about local conservation initiatives – how your actions are communicated to other local stakeholders, including the media

This Award is open to any group, organization, tourism business or attraction that offers an agro-tourism product, which incorporates elements of food/agriculture production, culinary output and visitor experience. Applicants should demonstrate how they have successfully achieved linkages between the agricultural sector and tenets of the tourism industry in at least four of the following areas:

Innovative agro-tourism initiative that demonstrates experiential dimensions as an adventure product to visitors

  • Offers the opportunity to sample/experience authentic local produce that has value added.
  • Supports and promotes the sharing and preservation of local agro and culinary heritage.
  • Fosters local trade and export development.
  • Contributes to diversifying the tourism product offering of the local destination.
  • Supports socio-economic development of local persons through providing a means for entrepreneurship and/or employment. 


The Awards will be judged by an Award Selection Committee comprising a panel of experts selected by CTO, representing various sectors of the tourism industry at the national, regional and international levels. This Committee will shortlist and select one winner in each award category based on the applications received and merit in accordance with the established criteria. Special mentions may also be made at the judges’ discretion.

For Category 1, the Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Award, the Committee will assign 0 to 10 points to each of the five selected areas, depending on the level of coverage and impact of the submitted product. An additional 0 to 10 points will be given based on originality or innovation of the ideas and concepts presented. Each submission in this category can receive a maximum of 60 points. (See additional guidelines for Category 1.)

For the other Award categories, the Committee will allocate a maximum of 50 points based on how well the nomination contributes to tourism sustainability. The criteria listed for these Award categories are meant to guide both the application completion and judging process.



  • Information on the award winning initiatives(s) will be publicized via CTO’s global public relations mechanisms including all social media.
  • All nominees, including Finalists and Special Mention Awardees for each category will be invited (at their own expense) to an Awards function where the presentation of Awards to the winners will be held. Certificates will be given to Special Mention awardees.
  • Information on the winning initiatives will be included in CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Good Practices database.

Entry rules

  • Applications should be completed online and submitted via the following link:
  • Videos and photos may be uploaded at this link:
  • Open date for applications Dec 1, 2016. Deadline for receipt of applications: May 31, 2017
  • For the overall Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Awards (Category 1), nominations must be submitted by the Ministry/Department of Tourism of CTO Member Countries. Each country is allowed to submit only one entry for this Award Category. Countries are free to follow any selection procedure at the national level.
  • For all other Awards, nominations can be submitted directly by individuals, groups, organizations or companies for Categories 2-7. Should you wish to enter more than one category, separate applications must be submitted addressing the specific criteria.
  • The product/initiative itself should have been in operation for at least two (2) years.
  • Each entry must consist of the following elements: a completed nomination form;  a general description of no more than 150 words on the product/initiative and a maximum of 1,500 words for Category 1 applications and 1,200 words for Category 2-6  applications on how it contributes to tourism sustainability using  the criteria  provided for the respective category as a guide;
  • A maximum of four photographs (4 MB max. each), a website link and a 60 second video may also be submitted as supporting material;
  • All submitted material must be available for publication and will not be returned.
  • All materials become the exclusive property of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, which reserves the right to publish or reproduce them, with appropriate credit to the owner and/or manager of the product.
  • Any nominated project that does not receive an Award can be nominated in the following years, presenting updated information.
  • Please direct your queries to [email protected]