Award reflects link between environment and tourism

| 01/07/2013

Kate Pellow.jpg(CNS): Kate Pellow, the Director of Development and Communications at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) was the 2013 recipient of CITA’s Stingray Award for Allied Manager of the Year – the first time a CCMI employee has been recognized at the awards. The link between marine research and environmental education is not often linked to tourism. However the tone of the awards ceremony, with a strong focus on sustainable tourism including the CEPTS programme, the Green Globe Awards and the inclusion of CCMI as an award winner is a striking and contemporary approach to the Islands’ tourism product.

CCMI was first established in 1998 and built their facility (opening fully) in 2006. Since then, over 100 visiting scientists, over 1000 college students and hundreds of local students have travelled to the Little Cayman Research Centre to study the marine environment in this ‘healthy’ coral reef ecosystem. The facility also holds weekly tours and weekly talks under the ‘Reef Lecture Series’, sharing our most up to date projects with tourists and locals alike. Whilst CCMI is a small organisation within the context of the hotel and watersports industry, ¾ of their funding is raised outside of the Cayman Islands and all of it is spent here, not only progressing our environmental goals which benefit local tourism but also supporting the local economy.

The real focus of the organization, however, is the long-term monitoring and improvement of coral reef health, providing critical information for future generations and conservation managers. CCMI’s research is always underpinned by outreach and education initiatives – helping to build local capacity and understanding on coral reef ecosystem threats and solutions.  For Pellow, the inclusion of CCMI at the Stingray Awards is poignant for several reasons:

“I have been coming to the Cayman Islands since I was 16 (that’s a while ago). I completed both my bachelor and masters degree dissertations on ‘sustainable tourism in the Cayman Islands’; it is therefore a real honour to be included in the Stingray Awards, surrounded by people both past and present who have made the tourism product what it is today, many of whom I have written about in my academics or had the privileged of working with. The CCMI team work incredibly hard and I am forever being challenged to keep up with the emerging trends and data being produced by their research projects, I learn something new everyday. The team in Little Cayman and the CCMI Board are a real credit to the Cayman Islands, especially the tourism product, so this award is very much a recognition for all of us. I’m very proud to work with them all.”

Visit the CCMI website.

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Category: Science and Nature

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