One carrier has come up with
a novel approach to the issue of sustainable tourism that involves science,
students and scholarships.
JetBlue recently launched a
program to increase planning for sustainable tourism in the Caribbean region
through grants to students who will focus on using science to improve the
travel experience for customers and communities now and in the future. The grants highlight the
airline’s commitment to education and the environment and focus on the impact
of climate change in the Caribbean.
For the first year of the
grant, JetBlue partnered with the Center for Responsible Travel (Crest) to offer
two student scholarships to attend Crest’s and the Puntacana Ecological
Foundation’s conference, Innovators Think Tank: Climate Change and Coastal
& Marine Tourism, held recently at the Punta Cana Resort & Club in the
From a field of 90-plus
applicants, two recipients were selected: Stefan Knights from Hugh Wooding Law
School in Barbados and Katrina Khan from the University of the West Indies in
Trinidad & Tobago.
The conference revolved
around the theme of how coastal and marine tourism must be planned, built and
operated in the era of climate change.
“Too often conferences and
think tanks are out of reach for students. These grants open the door to the
community of students who have cutting-edge ideas about sustainable tourism,”
said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability for JetBlue.
“If tourism in the Caribbean
is going to flourish through a changing climate and increased ecosystem
pressures, the tourism industry and its brands are going to need support and
ideas from universities and students,” she said.
The tourism industry can
either be part of the problem or part of the solution in dealing with climate change,
according to Crest Director Martha Honey.
“It is imperative that we
engage the next generation in the solution. It’s time to take the blinders off
much of our industry and get passionate young people involved in preserving not
only tourism-related livelihoods and the environment but our very existence,”
The outcome of the conference
will be showcased in a video documentary titled “Caribbean ‘Green’ Travel”
and in a publication, both scheduled for release late this year.