Travel

How Puerto Rico Is Leading The Sustainable Travel Game

puerto rico
Puerto Rico is going all-in on sustainable tourism. | Sahani Photography
Puerto Rico is going all-in on sustainable tourism. | Sahani Photography

Puerto Rico continues to punch far above its weight in its ongoing recovery efforts. Today, the government of Puerto Rico kicks off a three-day summit hosted by disaster-relief initiative Tourism Cares. The summit is expected to connect more than 150 travel professionals to exchange best practices for sustainable tourism, attend exhibitions where local entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, and volunteer at a community farm that became an unofficial headquarters for disaster-relief efforts in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, supplying food and clean water.
 
That community-oriented farm, Centro de Microempresas y Tecnologías Agrícolas de Yauco (CMTAS), is currently designing educational and aid-training programs for multiple communities across the island that are lacking in resources.

“Investing time and labor at this farm is an example of how to support authentic tourism development and help build resiliency,” Paula Vlamings, Chief Impact Officer of Tourism Cares, said in a statement. “Industry professionals will learn about why issues like food sovereignty are crucial for local communities, and experience how this kind of tourism can also benefit travel businesses.”
 
In March, the island passed the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act, requiring a transition to 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. Meanwhile, a new Green Certification Program to highlight eco-friendly tourism (including emerging agritourism businesses) is the first of its kind anywhere in the Caribbean.

Known for our world-class beaches, natural wonders, and unique culture, Puerto Rico is committed to the growth and enhancement of sustainable practices within our tourism offerings —not because it’s nice to have,” Discover Puerto Rico CEO Brad Dean said in a statement, “but because it’s a necessity for our industry to sustain the precious wonders found on our island, for future travelers and generations to come.”
 
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Kastalia Medrano is Thrillist's Travel Writer. You can send her travel tips at kmedrano@thrillist.com, and Venmo tips at @kastaliamedrano.