Jamaica`s Half Moon Golf, Tennis and Beach Club is the first winner of the Emerald Award for Sustainable Tourism.
The DC-based Counterpart International presented the prestigious award at the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Emerald Award honors a luxury hotel with a proven track record in environmental responsibilty.
Lelei LeLaulu, Counterpart International`s chief executive officer said: “We decided that it would distinguish itself from other awards by focusing on properties which manage to combine the provision of luxury services and accommodation with a concomitant commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism.
LeLaulu said there has been a lot of concentration on the eco-lodges and the smaller eco-tourism resorts, which has generated tremendous international interest, publicity and demand. “So we`ve decided to concentrate more on the other side of the tourism industry and encourage those properties which do draw the upper echelons of international spenders to incorporate sustainable development in the enhancement of their resorts.
The sustainable development champion commended Half Moon`s staff who are acutely aware of the importance of trying to conserve the Caribbean`s natural environment.
Richard Whitfield, Half Moon`s managing director, said he was proud to accept the award on behalf of the resort. He paid homage to Heinz Simonitsch, his predecessor, who was the architect of Half Moon`s environmental efforts. “In 1991, he kicked us into awareness and the effort of educating 800 employees at Half Moon was given the impetus by Heinz.
Half Moon also was named the Caribbean`s leading hotel at the World Travel Awards in St. Lucia last month.
CMEx, produced by Counterpart International, its affiliate Counterpart Caribbean, Air Jamaica, Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), Caribbean Hotel Association Charitable Trust (CHACT—“Life Needs the Caribbean”), EarthVoice and Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), was supported by Almond Beach Resorts, American Express, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Bay Gardens Hotel, Barbados Tourism Authority, Cable and Wireless, Caribbean Star Airlines, Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Glamour Tours, Half Moon Golf, Tennis and Beach Club, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Nortel Networks, St.