Sustainability is an abstract term, associated with complex measures and bewildering applications.
Yet for an island tourism economy founded on unique natural beauty, the topic becomes both pragmatic and generational: What does “sustainable” mean in practical terms? What steps will preserve TCI for the nation’s children?
On Oct. 4, Amanyara Resort convened a diverse group of guests for a day-long sustainability symposium. Its mission: To spark a deeper and more stimulating national conversation around preserving our precious environment. The invitation list ranged from students to business owners and members of the hospitality industry.
Aman veteran Ian White, who recently took the helm as the TCI resort’s general manager, got things started with the help of Anna Nash, Aman’s Global Head of public relations. But to help shape and direct the conversation, they turned to guest speakers Juliet Kinsman, a luxury travel expert, and Steven Overman, author of The Conscience Economy, an influential 2014 book on the sustainability challenge.
“I felt it was important to bring together my partners on the island to talk about the most pressing issue of our time,” White said.
The day, which Amanyara staffers hope will become the prototype for an annual event, began with a breakfast for students from Providenciales high schools and the Edward C Gartland Youth Centre (ECGYC) Eco-Warriors club. The relaxed setting offered the young people a chance to meet the guest speakers and resort staff. But it also gave the adults an opportunity to hear from the next generation. The youths’ articulate and enthusiastic message: We want a voice in safeguarding our future.
Those teens sounded up to the challenge, too, showing both enthusiasm and an ability to engage with the experts on serious sustainability topics.
“We learned about the environment and how we can save it,” said Siobhan Faith Bowens, a member of the ECGYC. “During the event, we worked on trying to find out where the problem lies, because as the youth, we are your future, and we want to make sure that the world is clean enough for us and the people that come after us.”
As the morning progressed, Kinsman and the Amanyara staff presented an A-to-Z compendium of the hotel’s sustainability initiatives. The resort’s efforts range from a coral adoption project that connects guests to the preservation and restoration of local coral reefs, to a Zero Plastic Waste strategy.
Lunch featured discussion with TCI business people, and the day rounded out with the resort hosting members of the Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association.
“Change happens when communities come together with an authentic common purpose,” said Overman, the sustainability writer. “Amanyara brought people of all ages and business sectors together, and then the magic happened: A shared commitment to become ‘Better by Business.’”
Amanyara plans to continue guiding the program, and with other businesses now committed to hosting future events, hopes are high for new sustainability initiatives and travel experiences.
Images provided by Amanyara