~Theme: Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development~
On behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, I would like to wish everyone a happy World Tourism day!
The theme for this year's World Tourism Day is: "Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development".
However, before expanding on my message to you today, I would first like for you to understand the meaning of sustainable energy and its relation to tourism.
Wikipedia defines sustainable energy as the sustainable provision of energy that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Technologies that promote sustainable energy include renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy, wave power, geothermal energy, and tidal power, and also technologies designed to improve energy efficiency.
When paired with tourism, we refer to the term: "sustainable tourism", which is tourism attempting to make as low impact on the environment and local culture as possible, while helping to generate future employment for local people. The aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development brings a positive experience for local people, tourism companies and the tourists themselves.
This year's theme for World tourism day "Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development" is quite fitting for our situation, where global oil prices affect the cost of doing business on Sint Maarten, which in turn directly impacts the cost of living, the happiness of our people and ultimately the quality of our tourism product and our service.
This theme provides a unique opportunity for us to embrace the various natural power sources as a means to limit its impact on the environment while also reducing the cost of doing business and cost of living for us all.
As a community and a country we must move away from high-emission and oil dependent technologies and embrace the use of technologies that promote sustainable energy, such as wind, and geothermal energy, to name a few.
Just recently the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise facility began with an exemplary approach to embrace natural sources such as a means to reduce its costs through the use of wind mills. This is an example that we all should follow to reduce the costs of electricity.
I imagine that not everyone understands the direct benefit of switching to these more natural resources, but the benefits are clear and bountiful.
Firstly, by embracing this energy solution, we will play our part to fight the world's struggle against climate change, leaving future generations with an environment that they too can enjoy.
Secondly, many countries around the world who have embraced alternative energy solutions have boasted increased employment figures.
Thirdly and lastly, whether you are operating a business or managing a household, the use of low emission technologies can significantly reduce the cost of utilities.
Everyone has a role to play in sustainable tourism, so on this world tourism day; I encourage us all to join in creating a more sustainable future for us all.