US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
Environmental Committee: The Environmental Committee met in May to discuss several topics. Valerie Peters began by discussing Blue Flag. Our timeline to review the applications and site reviews has been moved up by one month. St. Croix sites will be reviewed June 3 and St. Thomas/St. John sites on June 7. Additionally, Peters reviewed the checklist the National Jury will use to inspect the sites. We are excited about the variety of Blue Flag participants this year, including marinas as well as small and branded hotels. Peters encouraged schools to participate in the educational programs being offered at the sites.
Speaking to that end, Peters explained why we decided to move away from Green Key for hotels and move to the Eco-Schools initiative. Currently, there are 15 million students involved around the world in 55 countries. The key is translating what they learn in school to home and then to the community. Peters proposed starting with three pilot schools on each island: Sprauve, Cancryn and Complex. We will begin with an action plan that the children decide and then they implement. The Department of Education has tentatively agreed to move forward. Peters will need letters of support to give to DOE to show commitment as well as to raise funds. She estimates $100,000 per year to start and run the program. This would be a five year commitment. We discussed plans to develop a website with the slogan “Trash Can’t Hide VI Pride.”
Committee members also discussed several ways in which we can expand our environmental initiatives. Jane suggested we organize a spotlight program for individuals who volunteer to clean our beaches and islands. Howard shared details on the summer marina program. They have 19 students so far.