The Cayman Islands’ dive industry has moved a step closer to becoming carbon neutral with the announcement that two of its top dive resorts have become Green Globe Certified. Compass Point (www.compasspoint.ky) is located in the tranquil, sleepy East End of Grand Cayman close to some of the island’s legendary wrecks; also newly Green Globe Certified is Cobalt Coast (www.cobaltcoast.com) in West Bay, a 15 minute drive from Seven Mile Beach, and popular with families wishing to learn to dive as well as technical and advanced divers.
In gaining Green Globe Certification, the resorts join the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, also on Grand Cayman, which at 65 acres is one of the Caribbean’s leading horticultural attractions as well as a Gold Medal winner at the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show, and the first botanic park in the Caribbean to secure Green Globe Certification.
The Cayman Islands is already credited with having one of the most stringent marine conservation policies in the world, a fact which has contributed to a largely pristine reef system. The Central Caribbean Marine Institute on Little Cayman is one of the most significant research centres of its type in the world and carries out crucial research into subjects such as the impact of global warming and the effect of invasive species on reefs and native marine life. The sinking this summer of the USS Kittiwake, a US submarine rescue vessel, will create an artificial reef just off Seven Mile Beach, and will be a major achievement in the future protection of the reefs. Earlier this year Lighthouse Point opened in Grand Cayman’s West Bay, a shining example of a dive resort built from scratch to the highest possible environmental standards. The rarest iguana in the world, the Cayman Blue Iguana, found nowhere else on earth, was brought back from functional extinction and roams freely in large numbers in the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park.
Green Globe is a highly regarded certification scheme for the travel and tourism industry that demonstrates a commitment to improving environmental performance and efficient operations. A number of resorts in the British Overseas Territory are participating in the Cayman Islands Environmental Project for the Tourism Sector (CEPTS), a joint pilot project between the Departments of Tourism and Environment and the private sector to encourage tourism organisations to strive for Green Globe Certification.
“Green Globe Certification represents a considerable investment of time and money by all the properties and attractions that participate, and it is absolute testament to their commitment and passion for the natural environment,” said Don McDougall, regional manager for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism in Europe. “There is no doubt that being able to display the Green Globe on their websites and demonstrate a high level of environmental awareness counts for a great deal among not only the UK diving community but those international visitors who are attracted to Cayman for its strong natural attributes”.
Little Cayman, the smallest of the three Cayman Islands with just 150 inhabitants, is also participating in CEPTS with the objective of being one of the only destinations to be certified in the Green Globe scheme.