Responsible tourism in Tobago is where the tourism sector and our visitors take responsibility for the protection and conservation of our natural environment. This tourism management strategy is a living, breathing illustration of our mutual respect for the conservation of our environment, local culture and way of life.
This guide has been specifically designed for visitors that want their holidays to be a learning experience, an enjoyable trip visiting the natural and cultural wonders of Tobago. And in the process a journey benefiting the people and places visited, one which contributes to the conservation of nature, the perpetuation and enrichment of cultural heritage and the successful development of the local communities.
For us in Tobago, responsible tourism intimately encompasses local communities enabling them to enjoy a better quality of life, through increased socio-economic benefits and an improved environment. As a result of our responsible tourism ‘efforts in action’, guests are provided with a better holiday experience and local tourism operators are encouraged by increasingly beneficial business opportunities.
Through encouraging and promoting a more sustainable tourism industry within Tobago, we are effectively bringing together a plethora of stakeholders, so that our responsible tourism approach is the embodiment of protecting and caring for the diverse cultures of our island, as well as its natural environment, and at the same time optimising on business and economic sustainability.
The importance of our responsible tourism efforts cannot be overstated for Tobago and its environs. The island has outstanding natural biodiversity and an exquisite, unspoiled habitat that has proven a delight for eco tourists the world over. Tobago’s rich variety of indigenous flora and fauna includes the Main Ridge Forest Reserve. Declared a protected rainforest by the English Crown over 200 years ago, this is the oldest protected piece of land and forest reserve in the western hemisphere. In the year 1776, with the help of environmentalists, the law was passed to protect nearly ten thousand acres of forest for the preservation of water and life for future generations. Carefully designed, natural forest trails allow a unique small island experience, where visitors can explore the reserve's habitats or enjoy a swim in a sparkling waterfall pool.
More than 200 species inhabit the island's bird sanctuaries, which include St. Giles Rocks, Grafton Caledonia Wildlife Sanctuary and Little Tobago Island. Our Botanic Gardens contain a host of tropical trees and shrubs. Monkeys, agouti, wild hogs and parrots, as well as a collection of native artwork, can be glimpsed at the heralded Genesis Nature Park.
Protecting and sustainably enhancing this rich tapestry is at the heart of all of our strategy, which supports and helps guide the tourism industry to a holistic management approach by providing:
- Training and learning
- Standards and guidelines
- Auditing and evaluation
- Certification schemes
- Marketing & promotion
Tobago’s responsible tourism aspires to support and communicate a positive impression of our island, both at home and for the regional and global market. And, as such, Tobago is proud of its pioneering record on sustainable tourism, which is a key reason why more than half of our annual gross domestic product (GDP) is attributed to tourism, and approximately 20 percent of our local workforce is directly employed within the industry.
The parks, sites, activities, shops, cafés, restaurants and accommodation – from home stays to boutique hotels and larger properties – as well as local tour operators, have all been an integral part of our responsible tourism approach and are committed to sustainable development by making their businesses more responsible, environmentally, socially and culturally relevant. And, by choosing to visit Tobago you will also have an important role to play, helping help their activity to achieve financially sustainability.
That said, we think the more you get to know about Tobago, the more you will want to come back time and again. As you experience and understand the beauty of the Tobagonian people, the more you’ll be eager to learn, and return.
Tobago Tourism Board