by Hugh Riley, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organization
5 June 2017
Theme: Connecting People to Nature (The Caribbean Does it Best)
The Caribbean today lends its energy, its people and its landscapes, to the observance of World Environment Day, with the rest of the global community.
This year, World Environment Day highlights the symbiotic relationship between people and nature, but also encourages the world to unplug from worries and from technological anchors and be at one with nature.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is pleased that the theme this year, “Connecting People to Nature”, implores the world to get outdoors, to appreciate nature’s beauty and importance, and to honour the call to protect the earth that we share.
The theme seems such a natural fit for the Caribbean which, so clearly epitomizes what the United Nations must have envisaged when it said: “On 5 June, go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature.”
There can be no better global invitation to experience the Caribbean, the corner of the world where consistently connecting people with nature is the bedrock of our tourism product. There can be no stronger international endorsement of our Year of Adventure, during which we encourage visitors and locals alike to, among other activities, indulge in multiple personal experiences with nature. There can be no greater universal recognition of our purpose, Leading Sustainable Tourism, One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.
The Caribbean is one of few places on earth where it is perfectly fine to spend the day lazing around beneath the sun, and where hiking, horseback riding, snorkelling and even a bit of farming brings joy and livelihood to visitors and locals alike. In our warm and welcoming region, visitors are encouraged to lose track of time while exploring the great outdoors.
The CTO fully endorses the call for each of us to reflect on the extent to which we are part of nature, and how intimately we depend upon it. As the world accepts the challenge to find fun and exciting ways to forge vital relationships with the environment, we invite you to journey this path with us.
Our pledge on this World Environment Day is to encourage every traveller and every citizen to adopt as a lifelong mantra, respect for the environment and a true connection with nature. The Caribbean understands the joy that bond can bring and the importance of preserving it for future generations.