This week, Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Mr. Henk Kamp presented QualityCoast Awards to the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire and St Eustatius in recognition of their efforts towards sustainable tourism policy and quality.
On the 30th of August, Minister Kamp presented a Bronze QualityCoast flag and certificate to St Eustatius’ Island Commissioner Derrick Simmons and Chairperson of the Green Destinations Committee Maya Leon-Pandt. This Bronze Award supports and recognises the way St Eustatius has developed its tourism, with a special focus on protecting the marine environment and terrestrial ecology, according to the QualityCoast Jury. Three National Park areas protect the high biodiversity and unique tropical marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Furthermore, the jury praised the island’s cultural-historical conservation efforts, which have provided Statia with a very strong and attractive ‘sense of place’. And the new solar power plant provides already more than 25% of the island’s electricity needs.
Subsequently, on his visit to the island of Bonaire, Minister Kamp presented a Silver QualityCoast flag and certificate to the Director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB), Mr. Maurice Adriaens. The Silver award is, among others, a recognition of Bonaire’s decades of (marine) nature conservation policy and practice which have provided the island with an outstanding and internationally recognised quality dive tourism product. In addition, the QualityCoast Jury lauded the island’s initiatives to move towards a greener economy with wind power already delivering 40% of the island’s energy needs; but also the several efforts to protect, conserve and celebrate the island’s culture, history and heritage. The Silver QualityCoast award is a considerable step up from Bonaire’s QualitCoast BasiQ award obtained in 2014.
Basis for both islands’ QualityCoast awards were the Green Destinations assessments carried out in July and August of this year in the frame of the so-called Green Deal for Sustainable Tourism – a public-private partnership of stakeholders in the Dutch tourism industry. This Green Deal aims to support destinations worldwide in becoming more sustainable and inform consumers about the quality and sustainability of their holiday destinations.