beaches

A cleaner side to Cape Verde…

Santa Maria is among the best beaches in the world, according to the TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice awards 2016. Crystal clear water, fun waves and golden, soft sand are some ingredients that make this beach so special. Surrounded by international standard hotels and beach clubs, Santa Maria attracts many holidaymakers and locals. If you are looking for tranquility, this is it! But don’t get tricked, at the “Reef” surfing spot you can also ride waves and have breathless experience!

Santa maria beach cleanA way to show love to a place is by giving back, and this is how Revolusal (Sal´s Surfing Association) decided to celebrate their 9th anniversary last weekend. They organised a two-day event at the Reef spot where their members, children and beach-lovers participated in several water sports and environmental education activities.

The Travel Foundation was pleased to support the beach clean-up race where children and adults, residents and holidaymakers, collected about 400 kgs of litter that were on the beach and in the seawater! I loved watching the kids running enthusiastically to get their gloved hands on rubbish and also appreciated the holidaymakers that took 40 minutes of their sunbathing time to help us clean the beach – it is heartwarming to see people visiting my country, caring for it as well.

CV beach cleanHappy kids, positive atmosphere and a truck full of waste were the results of the event. It was disturbing to see the items/rubbish collected, especially those found in the water. More than ever, I’m certain that Sal´s beaches are areas that need special attention in order to guarantee sustainability of this beautiful tourism destination.

Beach cleans are very important, but prevention is a key ingredient as well. Beach-users (visitors and locals), excursion providers, hotel and tour operators need to have responsible attitudes towards the resource that is the very reason of their visit/ business. Travel Foundation will continue to support Revolusal’s commitment to keeping Sal’s beaches clean, and we will work together with other destination partners to improve beach user experiences.

Santa Maria now has a cleaner face. If you do pay it a visit, don’t forget: leave no litter …only your footprints on its soft sand.

*POST UPDATE 01/06/2016*

Last Saturday we supported another beach-clean. This time we joined the Project Biodiversity and other stakeholders in celebrating the World Turtle Day (23rd May). Some 115 volunteers, mostly from the civil society, joined efforts in cleaning the Serra Negra Beach, which is a Natural Reserve located on the southeast of Sal Island. The great teamwork certainly paid off, as they were able to fill up about 68 trash bags! Boy will the turtles be happy next time they come around – that beach has the highest density of nesting Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) in the island. Kudos!

Dalia GomesWritten by Dalia Gomes, Programme Co-ordinator, Cape Verde.

Read more about the Travel Foundation’s work in Cape Verde.

 

INTERESTED IN ORGANISING A BEACH CLEAN?

Get involved with this year’s Make Holidays Greener campaign, which is all about keeping beaches clean. Find out more >

The sign of an interesting visit

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Since the Travel Foundation started working on the Island of Sal, in Cape Verde, we noticed that there was a general lack of signage – a simple thing, but essential for informing visitors about sites of importance, flora and fauna, and protected areas.

Data from questionnaires handed out to 255 visitors and 175 residents of Sal in 2015 confirmed that over 75% agreed that it was a very good idea to implement new signage.

It was a long process as we wanted to collect information and experiences from different stakeholders, ensure we achieved an appealing design that would fit into the landscape and choose the correct environmentally friendly material, especially in the case of the beaches.crop2

Today we are very happy with what we have achieved: informative signage that, at the same time, encourages the reader to respect the chosen sites. Pedra de Lume, a cultural heritage site, now has 2 signs with information about its important role in Sal’s development.

Besides contributing to visitors’ interpretation of the site and sharing information about the history of the island, the signs also brought a sense of pride and recognition among the locals.

On Kite beach we listened to the owners of the famous Kite Surfing school on Sal, about their concerns for the safety of visitors coming to practice kite surfing, and therefore we designed a map of the area which we are sure will improve kite surfers’ experiences.

We are so happy and proud to be a part of the process of developing significant tourism sites, although there is still much to do.debora-abu-raya

By Débora Abu-Raya, National Programme Manager.

More about our work in Cape Verde.

Sal Paintball makes holidays greener

Sal beach cleanOn 12th July around 40 people came together in Sal, Cape Verde, to clean about 2km of beach. Almost 500kg of rubbish was collected, mainly plastic bottles and fishing gear (fishing nets and containers) washed up on Kite beach, on the East coast of Sal.

The most unusual items they collected were a water boiler, a gas bottle, and a pepper shaker. The most common pieces of trash were plastic bottles – around 300 of them in all, which underlines how important it is for everyone to try and reduce their single-use plastic (e.g. with re-usable bottles).

Thank you so much to all the participants and organisers, and especially to Sal Paintball and Explore CV for the lunch, drinks and activities at the end of the beach cleaning, and to the CMSal (City Hall) for supplying water, bin bags and transport. Sal beach clean Photos: Duncan Gillies, Sal Paintballers.

Ocean trash is not a new problem

Guest post by Sarah Kollar, Coordinator, Trash Free Seas Program15_6_Degrees

Ocean Conservancy

We face many complex challenges when it comes to a clean and healthy ocean, but one problem is simple to understand: trash. Ocean trash –or marine debris, litter, rubbish, and all the other names we have for it –includes any manufactured item that makes it way to the marine environment, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

The topic has recently jumped to the forefront of many ocean discussions as more and more people are discovering the sheer enormity and numerous impacts of trash in marine environments. But for Ocean Conservancy and the millions of International Coastal Cleanup volunteers around the world, we’ve been tackling ocean trash for nearly three decades.

A Regular Cleanup

Every year, as part of the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean, hundreds of thousands of volunteers join forces to for one day to collect and remove debris from their local waterways and coastlines.

DSC_4909Beyond removing debris, participants also log the types and amount of trash that plague their specific area and report these data back to Ocean Conservancy. Consequently, from the great work of volunteers across the globe, we have amassed a global database on marine debris which creates better understanding and informs effective solutions.

By collecting, counting and tallying debris, it becomes apparent that ocean trash –no matter where it comes from –is not an ocean problem, but rather a people problem.

The most common items collected during cleanups are those that we use every day. Single-use disposable items, often plastics, are collected by the thousands. And over the years, volunteers have also found many peculiar items, including eight bowling balls, a plastic dinosaur toy, and a fireplace from the 2014 Cleanup.

The Cleanup also shows that we still have work to do. Marine organisms can become trapped or entangled in items like fishing line, which seriously impairs mobility and often leads to death. Furthermore, ingestion of debris has been documents in over 600 marine species including all seven species of sea turtles.

Health Hazards

The impacts do not stop in the water. We too, are greatly affected by ocean trash. Coastal communities and their economies are hindered by trash littering their beaches. Trash in the ocean is both an environmental danger and threat to our own health.

Just as the impacts of debris our numerous and far reaching, so too must be our solutions. It is the collective effort and collaboration of organizations around the world that will help us realize trash free seas. Ocean Conservancy is thrilled to work with the Travel Foundation and the Make Holidays Greener campaign to remind us all to do our part, even as we relax on holiday.

To join in the solution and learn more about our various initiatives to prevent ocean trash at the source, check out www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris. To get involved with the International Coastal Cleanup, check out www.signuptocleanup.org. Follow us on Twitter @OurOcean and find us on Facebook. Thank YOU for all that you do for a cleaner, healthier ocean for all!Print

Make Holidays Greener month starts today! If you have not already signed up to run a beach clean then please get involved!

Beach cleans are for life, not just July!

Uga Escapes in Sri Lanka and Kuoni teamed up to run a beach clean as part of Make Holidays Greener’s Big Beach Clean campaign at their Uga Jungle Beach property. Having taken part in the campaign, the general manager of Uga Jungle Beach, Mr V.A. Sivapriyan wants to continue to run regular beach cleans throughout the year to keep the beach environment as clean as possible.

Below, we hear from staff at Kuoni UK and the hotel…

Jemma Purvis, PR Kuoni UK     

slide0010_image011“When the Travel Foundation contacted Kuoni UK about their latest campaign to Make Holidays Greener, we jumped at the chance.

I had recently come back from Sri Lanka and had been staying at UGA hotels along the east coast, which are all set in stunning locations surrounded by natural beauty.  One thing I did notice however is that when you ventured further along the beach away from the hotel there was some litter scattered around, which had clearly been washed up.

The Big Beach Clean campaign seemed like an excellent solution, so I contacted our friends at Uga Escapes who were more than willing to team up and take part in this event at their hotel, Jungle Beach in Trincomalee.”

    V.A.Sivapriyan, General Manager – Uga Jungle Beach

“UGA proudly joined hands with Kuoni and the Travel Foundation to assist in preserving the beKuoni uga escapesauty of these virgin beaches.

I would say the beaches of Kuchchaveli where Jungle Beach is situated, are among the most pristine beaches in Sri Lanka, as these coastal areas are devoid of any commercial or private establishments. However due to the marine pollution, there are lots of plastic objects that are constantly washed  ashore, which tarnishes the natural beauty of the coast.

The beach clean was a great success and we are determined to continue this throughout the year to provide a pleasant holiday experience to our valuable guests.  It will also help showcase our commitment to sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka”

Thimasha Wanasinghe, Guest Relations Executive – Uga Jungle Beach

“We informed guests at Jungle Beach about the Make Holidays Greener beach clean on the 17th slide0013_image019June at Kuchchaveli beach, some of them were really excited and decided to take part.  They joined our staff at UGA and a group of travel agents who were visiting on a trip organised and lead by Kuoni UK. 

Participants started their clean-up from the entrance at two sites — north beach and south beach and worked toward the middle. They bent, squatted and kneeled on the sand to search for objects, the main culprit being plastic.  

 As our property is located amidst a shrub jungle that borders a lagoon, we are very conscious of keeping the environment clean. So this is a big, beautiful and extremely important initiative brought forward by the Travel Foundation to maintain a clean beach and a sustainable environment for our future generation of Sri Lanka.”  

Greener beaches to spread across the med…

The Chairman of The Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI), Philippos Drousiotis, was invited to present at the MITOMED final conference “Challenges and perspectives for Coastal and Maritime Tourism in Europe” which took place in Florence, Italy, on Tuesday the 12th of May, 2015.    MITOMED stands for ‘Models of Integrated Tourism in the Mediterranean’, is a transnational project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

MITOMED_version 1_IY_page1_image1The CSTI is a key partner of the Travel Foundation in Cyprus. Below we hear more from Philippos…

“With partners from coastal regions across the med, it was a great opportunity to talk about the work being done in Cyprus, to share our learnings and hope that the benefits can be spread to other destinations.

Something that really seemed to strike a cord with attendees was the ‘Greening Cyprus Beaches’ project, and the MITOMED partners are interested in promoting the Greening Cyprus Beaches project by including it in the action plan of the project for sustainable management of maritime and coastal tourism.

It will be presented as a good example for the regeneration of the sun & sea product in the med area by having quality beaches. It’s great to see that the results of one of our projects can be applied to other destinations, and they can benefit too.”

Find out more about the Greener Beaches project here.

Greener beaches, cleaner oceans

The Travel Foundation has teamed up with Travelife for Hotels and Accommodations to launch this year’s Make Holidays Greener campaign, raising awareness of the need for cleaner, greener beaches.

Last year over 100 companies took part, in 22 countries, gathering up over 600 bags of rubbish (and therefore preventing it from entering the oceans and harming wildlife)!

“We’re delighted to have Travelife as a partner for the Make Holidays Greener campaign,” said Salli Felton, Chief Executive of the Travel Foundation. “The campaign looks set to be even bigger and better than last year.”

The global community is waking up to the issue of litter entering the oceans. If current trends continue then by 2025 there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the ocean.

Plastic never biodegrades, it just breaks into smaller pieces. In this form it is at its most dangerous, as small fish gobble up the microparticles and it works its way up the food chain.

The Big Holiday Beach Clean-up is an opportunity for the travel industry to do something positive about this issue and help keep it on the agenda. Getting involved in the campaign is a great way to show your customers and staff that you care, and to highlight your green credentials.

Companies can support the campaign by organising a beach clean during or before July and by sharing their stories on Facebook and Twitter, using #greenerhols.

Please visit www.makeholidaysgreener.org.uk for a range of free resources, including how to organise a beach cleanup and top tips for customers.

microplastic

Tourism through a lens…

Last month we asked Chris Willan, professional photographer, to capture our activities in Jamaica and Mexico. It’s the first time Chris has shot for us in these locations, so we asked him to share his experience. He’s back from his trip and here’s what he had to say…

The brief arrives from TF. What’s your first thought? Be honest!

You always have a huge shopping list! It was a massive brief, but I like a challenge, it’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I’ve shot in both locations before, but Mexico was more of an unknown for me, I’d not really been off the beaten track before so I was really excited about going to some of the villages and visiting a pearl farm. When you first said Cancun I just thought of hotel strips, I could not have been more surprised. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable trips I have done in a long time. It has everything, you just need to know where to find it.

You visited the Rastafari Indigenous Village in Jamaica, what do you think holidaymakers will enjoy most? Arlene

Having arrived via a beautiful tropical garden, Arlene greets you, and introduces you to the concept behind the village, and then you have to go barefoot through the river to reach the village. It’s only ankle deep and is a lovely experience. You’re given a stave and encouraged to celebrate water and the life it gives, which is very important in Rastafari culture. It’s a great sensory experience – most people don’t do that on a daily basis! Throughout the day you learn lots about the Rastafari lifestyle, and the Emperor Haile Selassie I from Ethiopia, and why it became a way of living and a religion. I actually knew a fair bit about this because I was born in East Africa and my father has a picture of me next to the Emperor Haile Selassie I when he was on a state visit to Uganda!

You spent some time in Montego Bay, did you find any hidden charms?

I find as a traveller the most charming things are the real things, real life happening. I prefer quieter places to reflect and my favourite place here was Dump-Up Beach, one of the few public beaches left; it’s where the locals gather. I just liked sitting down there watching people play football, and seeing families gather. It had a real community feel, and I really like seeing people enjoying the place naturally, when you know it’s not a spectacle for tourism. It has a feel that it’s ‘real’ Jamaica.

In Mexico, you visited two communities in the Yucatan peninsula, one making jam and the other honey products. What are their surroundings like?

HoneyFirstly, I visited the jam making community in Chumpon. The indication that we’d arrived was an enormous tree in the centre of the village – their Trafalgar square! My first thought was that there isn’t very much there, a little shop, and some houses varying in their construction, some modern and some very traditional. There’s quite a lot of contrast – modern cars parked outside very traditional houses, and the jam factory is modern and well equipped. One thing that really stood out with this group was that they were so grateful to the project because it would mean that their children wouldn’t need to leave the village to go and work in hotels in Cancun. They could continue with their traditional way of life, and they really appreciated that they could continue to live this way. The village that’s home to the group making honey products had a very similar feel, again a big tree marking the centre. A lot of the village seemed very engaged with the project, and they were very welcoming and accepting. It was a really enjoyable experience, but I was a bit against the clock! Sometimes you need to put a bit of gasoline on the fire to get the shots you need. There is so much to learn from the Mayan culture, they’re great to listen to and it leaves a lot of questions about how we live today.

You met a lot of people during your time overseas. Who sticks in your mind, and why?

YuriYuritzin Flores, TF’s programme manager in Mexico. She has an aura around her that just says she is the perfect person for the job, I have never seen anyone so welcomed by so many people in so few days. She’s hard working, was concerned with everything going smoothly, constantly sending messages to update everyone if we were running late etc. She was the stand out personality – you can often feel like the lone warrior in sustainable tourism, but through her you realise there is actually an army of people out there concerned with the same thing.

PaulineIn Jamaica, it would have to be Pauline at the craft market in Mo Bay. She took me under her wing and made sure I was ok, she got me some food, we had a laugh together and everytime I went past the market she’d give me a big wave and made sure everyone else made me welcome too. She made me feel like I was travelling with my mum – if anything was wrong I knew I could go to Pauline and she’d make it all ok!

Every good photographer needs to keep their energy up with some good food. What dishes shone in Jamaica, and in Mexico?

In Jamaica my best meal was rice and peas and goat curry in the market in Mo Bay. There isn’t much meat in a goat curry, and you will get told off if you don’t suck the bones! It’s spicy and definitely very Jamaica. The fresh juices were also great. I sat eating it on a broken chair with lots of people around me doing the same, it made me feel like I was at a family dinner.

In Mexico everything is great, but I’d have to choose the handmade tortillas I had in Chumpon. Everyone ate communally in a central building with a thatched roof, and the tortillas came with a paste made from roast pumkpin seeds, tomatoes, shallots, fresh cheese (which is like cottage cheese in the UK), and sauces, all washed down with Pitahi juice. It was absolutely delicious. For me though, food isn’t just about taste, it’s about experience, and getting to eat with the locals, and watching them prepare it from scratch was great.

Down to the nitty gritty…Jamaica – favourite picture? Just one! And why?

DumpUpDump-Up Beach, it was the end of the day and I knew within 20 minutes they’d be no light left for the rest of the day, the light was good and I got the perfect shot of locals playing football on the beach.

IslaMujersSame goes for Mexico…

Again, it was the end of the day and I was waiting for the sun to go down over Isla Mujeres and I was watching some pelicans flying around. I often think the ‘end of the day’ pictures sum up how your day went. The sunset gave a feeling of calm, and the energy was coming from the Pelicans – it really summed up how the trip had gone.

That’s why you become a photographer. The camera has given me a passport to an amazing life, taking pictures is the first and last thing I think about every day, and at 51 I’m still looking forward to my best years. With photography you can get better as time goes on, the experience gives you the understanding you need to get a great picture.