One of the oft-repeated phrases on this blog is “sustainable tourism.” We go to great lengths to mention our commitment to sustainable tourism in our blog posts, and we have posted several times about some of our sustainability efforts, but we should probably explain a little more about the whole PUNTACANA Resort & Club philosophy and discuss the important role the Puntacana Ecological Foundation plays in our environmental efforts. So, without further ado, let’s answer an important question: what is sustainable tourism?
In order to answer this question, we should probably start with a brief history lesson. In 1988, Grupo PUNTACANA designated 1500 acres of land as the Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve. At the same time, the Puntacana Ecological Foundation was founded to run the newly created reserve. While these are the first big picture moments we can point to, the emphasis since the resort was founded has been on environmentally sound tourism that enriches the local community.
While the work that was done in 1988 is a great example of sustainable tourism, Grupo PUNTACANA has been dedicated to environmentalism since the resort was founded in the 70’s. This commitment can be seen today with some of the projects that we have discussed here on the blog, among them our efforts to restore the population of staghorn coral, our interest in sustainable, organic farming, our efforts to conserve the Ridgway’s Hawk, and our initiative to preserve and protect our sea turtles. All of these projects are examples of sustainable tourism in action. After all, one of the most amazing things tourists to our resort look for is the environment. We are lucky to live in paradise, and we are doing our best to make sure it stays a paradise forever.
The environmental impact of our work is not the only aspect in which our efforts constitute sustainable tourism. Our organization seeks to also better the social and cultural climate in its surrounding areas, and we do so in a few different ways. We have written previously about the Ann and Ted Kheel Polytechnic High School, but this is only one of the educational opportunities provided by the resort. The Puntacana Foundation has also supported the Verón Primary School in addition to founding the Puntacana International School. More recently, the “Grupo PUNTACANA con la Comunidad” project kicked off and has already started giving back to the community in many remarkable ways.
The United Nations actually lists several attributes that they deem essential for any successful, sustainable tourism development. These attributes include balancing social and economic objectives with environmentally sound management and making sure the social, cultural, and environmental needs of the area are given priority over making a quick profit. I like reading these sorts of statements, because it makes it very obvious that we are on the right track and fighting the good fight. People, the environment, and the Dominican culture will always take priority over making a quick profit here at Punta Cana.
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