Dominica was officially ranked as the top sustainable island in the Caribbean and among the top ten in the world by National Geographic Traveler.National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations (CSD) surveyed conditions on 111 selected islands and archipelagos in its fourth annual Destination Scorecard survey, which appears in the November/December 2007 issue of National Geographic Traveler.
An independent panel, which consisted of 522 well-traveled experts and aided by George Washington University in Washington DC, considered the qualities that make world-wide island destinations unique using six criteria weighted according to importance: environmental and ecological quality; social and cultural integrity; condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites; aesthetic appeal; quality of tourism management; and outlook for the future.
With a score of 77, Dominica (pronounced “Dom-in-eek-a”) tied as the number one rated sustainable destination in the Caribbean and is noted for being a “Beautiful country. Still largely forested, amazing biodiversity, great bird watching and scuba diving.” The article also states “The Nature Isle is aptly named - awesome power and incredible beauty of nature unspoiled. Its lush mountains, indigenous population, art, craft, agro-based products and small-scale accommodation facilities all add to the opportunity for sustainable tourism development.”
The survey was conducted by the CSD, whose mission is to help protect the world’s distinctive places through wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship. The CSD works to attain this goal through “geotourism,” defined as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of the place being visited - its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.”
Known as “The Nature Island” and located between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean, the independent nation of Dominica (pronounced “Dom-in-eek-a”) is the largest and most mountainous of the Windward Islands, encompassing an area of nearly 290 square miles. Of volcanic origins with mountains reaching heights of nearly 5,000 feet, rainforests that are considered among the last true oceanic rainforests in the world, more than 365 rivers, waterfalls, boiling lakes and pristine coral reefs, Dominica’s natural diversity is truly unique. Dominica is also home to the last remaining settlement of the Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean - The Carib Indians. A place where man and nature live in harmony, adventurers and nature lovers alike will revel in the Island’s eco-tourism options which include scuba diving, snorkeling, mountain biking, kayaking, horseback riding, nature tours, hiking/trekking, whale, dolphin and bird watching, sailing and fishing.
Dominica continues to be recognized for its attributes and sustainable tourism efforts, including being the first country in the world to receive Benchmarking designation from the prestigious eco-tourism organization Green Globe 21 and ranking as the only Caribbean destination in the top five happiest countries on earth in the Happy Planet Index (compiled by Britain’s New Economics Foundation).