Georgetown, Guyana will be the site of the 13th annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism next spring.

Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, which organizes the conference, said that STC-13 "will highlight the attributes of a destination with vast natural resources and large-scale eco-systems."

The 12th annual confab wrapped up Wednesday in Bermuda with a final session headed by Bermuda stakeholders who outlined Bermuda’s efforts in sustainable development.

Moderator Michael J. Winfield of Bermuda highlighted the need for those in the hospitality industry to pay more attention to the environment.

"In hospitality, you look for profit. Unfortunately, the return on investment in environmental sustainability is questionable at this time. Addressing this is a necessity," Winfield said.

An earlier session focused on youth and their environmental concerns.

Russell Griffith, management trainee at the Fairmont Southampton, host hotel for this year’s conference, said that training is key to attracting maintaining youth in the travel industry.

Ashley Ann Shepard, spa director at the Fairmont, urged travel professionals "to listen to my generation and let us know how we can both help the industry and get involved in the industry."

Riley seconded that, telling conference delegates that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow in the travel industry.

"We need their innovative thinking, their marketing savvy and technical skills to progress and to force changes where necessary," he said.

Two awards for environmental excellence were presented during the conference by CTO in collaboration with TravelMole, an online travel news service, to Barbados’ Harrison Cave and the Surama Village Eco-Lodge in Guyana.

The Barbados attraction was cited for its recent environmental upgrade that incorporated the use of natural wood and stone products in its design elements and the use of rainwater harvesting.

The eight-room eco-lodge, managed and operated by the local Makushi Amerindians, supports the local village of 290 people and provides employment for most of the village households.

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