Sustainable travel and ecotourism are priorities throughout the Caribbean, including Trinidad and Tobago. Industry leaders and operators have made it easy and exciting to have an ecotourism holiday in Trinidad and Tobago, due to a strong sustainability and responsible tourism movement. In 2011 alone, a number of major ecotourism projects have been announced for Trinidad and Tobago, showing that this Caribbean nation means business.
Ecotourism in Trinidad and Tobago just got more exciting. In summer 2011 the government approved the development of an ecotourism park in Valencia, northeastern Trinidad. The centre will enhance a tourist route into Toco/Sangre Grande, and will provide opportunities for community involvement, enrich the community’s understanding of ecotourism, and educate tourists on heritage and eco-conservation efforts in the region.
Projects like the Valencia Ecotourism Park are integral to ensuring local communities benefit from tourism development. The government has said that this endeavour is also intended to “provide entrepreneurial opportunities for people in the area, developing skills and providing viable and sustainable employment”. Trinidad and Tobago understands the necessity of community-focused sustainable tourism development and ecotourism, and initiatives like this reinforce that.
Community-based tourism is one of the strongest facets of ecotourism in the Caribbean, and one of the best facilitators of it in Trinidad and Tobago is Tacaribe. An inbound operator specialising in ecotourism and agritourism in Trinidad and Tobago, Tacaribe also spends time engaging in community development. Tacaribe works mostly in rural Trinidad with groups consisting predominately of local community residents, and the focus is on conservation, environmental education, and community empowerment. In addition to Tacaribe’s extensive ecotourism activity offerings in Trinidad and Tobago, there are also opportunities for travellers to get involved with community development.
Tourism is of significant economic importance in Trinidad and Tobago, and recently the country’s tourism minister announced the development of a Heritage Tourism Advisory Committee, dedicated to the preservation of the country’s indigenous cultures. The announcement came as the minister was launching the Sugar Heritage Village and Museum project, which will engage visitors through a multi-faceted presentation and exploration of Trinidad and Tobago’s sugar industry legacy.
The sugar industry in Trinidad and Tobago, although closed a few years ago, was instrumental in the social and economic development of the community, and the regeneration of this history for tourism marks a significant point in the dedication and commitment to sustainable and ecotourism in Trinidad and Tobago.
Naturally, islands of the Caribbean are blessed with impressive natural habitats and beautiful species of flora and fauna. In Trinidad and Tobago, the place to experience it all is the Asa Wright Nature Centre & Lodge. Established in 1967, the AWNC is a not-for-profit trust that is a haven for ecologists, birdwatchers, and wildlife lovers. Situated over a thousand feet into the mountains of the Northern Range, the AWNC is amongst one of the most diverse concentration of species in the Western Hemisphere. Aficionados and amateurs alike will delight in the presence of oilbirds, hummingbirds, and butterflies, many of which have scintillating feathers and colours that glisten in the sun.
The AWNC is dedicated to education, conservation, and ecotourism, and has been an industry leader for nearly four decades. Consistently recognised by a variety of ecotourism- and conservation-oriented organisations, the AWNC is a world-class facility and a must-see on any ecotourism holiday in Trinidad and Tobago.
Ecotourism in Trinidad and Tobago
As one of the industry leaders in the Caribbean, and throughout the world, Trinidad and Tobago recognises the importance of ecotourism and sustainability now and in the future. As such, an ecotourism holiday on either of the islands is not only possible, but a thoroughly educational and enjoyable experience.
Photo Credit: Shriram Rajagopalan
Special Thanks: Miss Candace Villaroel