PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic --- The Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism launched a fund-raising initiative, Friends of CAST, targeted at Caribbean nationals, visitors, organizations and others interested in preserving the region's environment.

Deirdre P. Shurland, director, said that the goal of the initiative "is to provide a new avenue of support to raise funds to carry out CAST program activities."

The membership of CAST, which evolved out of the Caribbean Hotel Association's Environmental Committee in 1997, includes small and large hotels and associations throughout the region.

CAST activities include establishing environmental, food safety and sanitation standards; beach management and certification programs; administering technical assistance programs for small hotels; land-use planning and management; and developing partnerships for sustainable development.

Further information about CAST is available at www.cha-cast.com.

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