How are the wetlands of Trinidad and Tobagos protected
Ecotourism in Trinidad and Tobago
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As sister islands in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago are the southernmost of the Lesser Antilles. The island nation off the coast of Venezuela has not focused on expanding its tourism market for a long time and is perhaps therefore relatively unknown. However, that doesn't mean the islands have nothing to offer. In addition to Trinidad's pride, the carnival, which is one of the largest in the world, and Tobago's tempting dream beaches, another niche is emerging: ecotourism. For several years now, the islands' tourism authorities have been promoting progress in ecotourism. Some pioneering projects have been implementing this for a long time and show us that sustainable thinking and acting can be combined with the tourist use of our natural treasures, even in a small sense. Here are some examples for planning your trip to Trinidad and Tobago.
Asa Wright Nature Reserve (AWNR)
The Asa Wright Nature Center was founded in 1967 in the Arimas Mountains (Trinidad) and has since dedicated itself to the protection of nature and wildlife in the region. The reserve has been active for more than 50 years and shaped ecotourism long before this name even came up. Today, visitors to the former cocoa, coffee and citrus plantation can take part in group tours and get to know the exotic flora and fauna. In addition, projects are carried out in cooperation with school groups and bird watchers will always find a quiet place in the accommodations to pursue their hobby with a spectacular view.
Grande Riviere Environmental Awareness Trust (GREAT)
Grande Riviere is one of two villages in Trinidad that successfully run a community-based turtle conservation program and combine it with ecotourism. The foundation has had the goal of protecting nesting leatherback turtles on the beach of Grande Rivière since 1992. A full 25% of the villagers are now involved in the exciting project that attracts around 10,000 tourists a year. Specially built houses and guest houses are managed by the residents and tourist groups are led by local guides so that the animals are not disturbed by people. Hunting bans have also been issued here to protect species such as the endangered Pawi (Trinidad Piping-Guan). The whole thing is also communicated in local schools and institutions in order to anchor the idea of protection in the children's minds early on.
Caroni Bird Sanctuary
Ecotourism is already taking place in the Caroni Swaps bird sanctuary (Trinidad). The second largest mangrove wetland in the country is also the overnight stay of the Scarlet Ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago. When taking part in a guided boat tour, at dusk you can watch numerous swarms returning from foraging and seeking shelter in the woods. Flamingos have also been seen in this area for a number of years. A total of 20 endangered species live in the swamps. The income from ecotourism therefore benefits local communities and the birds, which have been protected since 1975 with the entry into force of the Ramsar Convention, which, as an intergovernmental treaty, forms the framework for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands and their resources.
Main Ridge Forest Reserve (Tobago)
A successful example of ecotourism on Tobago is the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, which was declared a Crown Reserve in 1776. This makes it the oldest state-protected forest reserve in the western hemisphere that was established for protection purposes. The 4046.86 hectares of tropical rainforest provide a habitat for numerous animal species. These include the rare white-tailed Sabrewing hummingbird, which is endemic to Tobago. The main part of the reserve is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Entry to the site is only permitted on guided tours by qualified forest rangers, who take around 15,000 ecotourists into the interior of the Main Ridge every year. These efforts did not go unnoticed internationally either. Between 2003 and 2006, the Main Ridge Forest Reserve was selected by the World Travel Awards as "the world's leading travel destination for ecotourism". Awards for the World's Leading Green Destination followed in 2007 and 2009.
Sustainable tourism Trinidad and Tobago
As you can see, Trinidad and Tobago may not have a uniform ecotourism concept, but sustainable tourism is already being promoted in some places on the islands. The constant involvement of the communities and especially the local youth gives hope for the continuation and expansion of ecotourism. Because according to the motto "What you know, you want to protect ", the early development of sustainability awareness is the key to a generation that uses the planet's resources sparingly and can thus make them a little bit better. All of this gives us just one more reason to choose a Caribbean tour for your next vacation.Back to overview
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