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Education and Media Seen As Key in CMEx Declaration

CASTRIES, St. Lucia (February 13, 2010) - Youth delegates to the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) called for effective regional action on global warming and for more education to assist youth in making the region's destinations "climate friendly".

In a declaration adopted at the CMEx session in St. Lucia last December, youth participants voiced serious concern about "the separation and segregation of the Caribbean region" and called on governments "to aggressively encourage stakeholders to resume efforts to unite the Caribbean and market the region as a one."

In addition to working with the media to disseminate travel and tourism messages in the Caribbean, the youth expressed concern at the lack of education in the tourism and environmental fields: "We believe that through education, tourism can become a more sustainable business, and we can teach every citizen how they can benefit from this industry."

Focusing on the importance of youth - the future leaders of the world, the declaration urged young people be given "all the resources to do a better job than their predecessors with governing their communities, regions, countries and the world."

Cognizant that sustainable tourism "transcends environmental policies and practices and includes the social, economic, cultural and community impacts of responsible travel", the delegates asserted climate change "is the first universal calamity too important to only be addressed by politicians and scientists."

Urging all Caribbean countries to become members of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the delegates called on all relevant governments and educational institutions to educate the youth "on the importance of the tourism industry and the value of protecting their environment - teaching students how to get involved in sustainable tourism and encouraging them to think innovatively."

lelei le laulu"Determined that the media needs to have a greater presence at CMEx symposia - to help focus media and public policy on climate and tourism," the students, drawn from secondary schools, asked businesses to "create, foster and nourish meaningful relationships with the media."

Challenging the media to craft messages that "engage the target audiences through a multi-tiered campaign," the youth declaration requested "regional governance mechanisms for climate change initiatives in the Caribbean, and literature so tourists understand what climate change and 'going green' mean on a more personal level."

The youth firmly proposed implementing criteria and guidelines that individual island nations have to meet "to be recognized as a climate friendly destination, and to encourage hotels, restaurants, and related industries to launch climate friendly initiatives."

The student delegates were sponsored by CMEx as part of its commitment to ensuring the best and brightest of the region's youth select sustainable tourism as the first, and not last, resort, as a career.

Since 2001, the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) has produced 18 conferences and symposia throughout the Caribbean and North America to underscore the value of the region's largest industry, tourism, in bettering the health, education, culture, environment and wealth of communities in a climate friendly fashion.

The CMEx meeting - held December 3 to 7, 2009 in St. Lucia - was supported by Almond Resorts, American Airlines, American Eagle, Anse Chastanet Resort, Association of Caribbean Media Workers, Barbara Pyle Foundation, Bay Gardens Resorts, Calabash Cove Resort and Spa, Cap Maison Luxury Villa Resort and Spa, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust, Caribbean Broadcasting Union, Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, Caribbean Tourism Organization, CaribWorldNews, Carnival Sailing, Coco Palm, Community Benefit Development, Cotton Bay Village, Counterpart International, Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort, East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Limited, Jade Mountain, LUCELEC, Marketplace Excellence, Max Micoud Designs, Palm Haven Hotel, Rendezvous, Ruder Finn, Saint Lucia Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Saint Lucia Tourist Board, Sandals Resorts, Sensible Development Corporation, Soufri?re Regional Development Foundation, SpeakEasy M.E.D.I.A. Foundation, Stephen Paul's Photographic Images, St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, Ti Bananne Caribbean Bistro and Bar, Tourism Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago, and Tropical Shipping.

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies' Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago. The "Helen of the West Indies," Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - a tropical rainforest and one of the world's few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz festival. Saint Lucia's wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. For information about the island of Saint Lucia, call 1 (888) 4-STLUCIA, or visit www.saintlucianow.com.