As other destinations talk sustainability, what Nevis is doing is worthy of attention.
According to Mark Brantley, Nevis’ deputy premier and minister of tourism, the island is on the cusp of becoming the first totally “green” destination in the world.
“Nevis as a volcanic island is blessed with geothermal underground resources,” he said. “We are in the process of awarding a contract this summer to a developer to harness the geothermal energy into electricity that will power homes and businesses on Nevis.
“This could come on line within the next three years as a renewable clean source of energy that will leave no carbon footprint or emissions,” he said. “It marries nicely with our perspective of Nevis as clean, green and sustainable, which dovetails with the high-end nature of Nevis.”
The thermal power also could be exported via undersea cables to supply neighboring islands, such as St. Kitts, using the same source of energy.
Brantley said that the U.S. government has commissioned a study to explore ways to harness this energy and export it to Puerto Rico via the underground cables.
Nevis also wants to remain authentically Caribbean, eschewing high-rise developments, fast-food chains and large cruise ships. No building can be higher than a coconut palm tree.
“We are not all things to all people,” Brantley said. “We have not pandered to the low-cost traveler or mass tourism. Maybe part of our charm is that we are not so easy to get to.”
Cape Air serves Nevis twice daily on nine-seat Cape Air planes from San Juan, also by Liat from Antigua and Winair from St. Maarten.
Most U.S. travelers fly into St. Kitts and take 20-minute ferry or launch services over to Nevis.
“We have miles of beaches, a thriving art scene, plantation hotels, villas and the flagship Four Seasons resort, a small population, history and heritage, and a clean, green source of energy,” Brantley said. “There is value in maintaining this island.”