The Turks & Caicos islands are an eco-friendly destination, which offers ecotourism experiences and natural environments for travelers to enjoy. Prioritizing the planet and its wildlife has been a longstanding focus of the destination for decades, with sustainability measures from the island’s government, local businesses, hotels and resorts, and the participation of visitors. In honor of Earth Day, here are a few ways that the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board and government are aiding in preserving the island’s natural beauty.
Turks and Caicos’ tourism businesses have implemented multiple policies to offer the remarkable experiences presented by the destination without the environmental impacts. For example, Big Blue Collective, a popular tour operator on Providenciales is the first company to decrease their overall footprint with quieter and less polluting four-stroke motors; excursions via power catamarans; the elimination of single use plastics such as bottles, cups, and plates from their tours; and a requirement for reef-safe sunscreen on all trips.
To support the destination’s sustainability goals, many hotels and resorts have enacted their own eco-initiatives. West Bay Club has its own waste treatment system, and recycles gray water for landscaping purposes; each room at Wymara Resort is equipped with an Energy Management System through which electricity is turned on via each guest’s room key; COMO Parrot Cay has its own banana and coconut plantations, where guests of all ages can plant their own trees and learn about the native fauna and flora; and Pine Cay has implemented a no-car policy on the island, and swapped individual plastic toiletry bottles for refillable dispensers. The recently-opened Ritz-Carlton is also turning a focus on electric vehicles, partnering with Fortis to install eight charging stations, which will be free to all members of the community. The resort plans to strictly offer electric vehicles come 2024.
The Turks & Caicos government has taken steps to instill eco-friendly laws that all establishments must adhere to, including banning the use of plastic straws, Styrofoam products, plastic bags, cars over 10 years old, and more.
Preservation of Wildlife
Through its enactment of a Protected Areas system, the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) ensures the protection and promotion of biodiversity throughout the islands. In fact, the destination has one of the most extensive Protected Areas systems in the Caribbean, with 35 Protected Areas, including National Parks, Nature Reserves, Sanctuaries, and Areas of Historic Interest. Within these areas, activities that are harmful—such as fishing and collecting of organisms like coral—are prohibited to safeguard the prosperity of native species. For those interested in ecotours, Little Water Cay, also referred to as “Iguana Island” is an excellent location for viewing the endemic Rock Iguanas in their protected, natural habitat, and Flamingo Pond, where flamingos flock sometimes in the thousands is protected as part of the Mansar Natural Reserve but can be seen from an overlook by tourists.
For more information, visit turksandcaicostourism.com.
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