JetBlue Launches New Grant Program to Increase Planning for Sustainable Tourism in the Caribbean Region

Grants highlight the airline’s commitment to education and the environment and focus on the impact of climate change on Caribbean tourism
Jul 21, 2015 3:50 PM ET

July 21, 2015 /3BL Media/  - JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) recently launched a grant program focused on sustainable tourism in the Caribbean. As education and the environment are key pillars of the airline’s corporate social responsibility platform, these grants will focus on using science to improve the travel experience for customers and communities now and into the future. These scholarships will bring college students into the conversation about climate change and highlight how important the responsible use of natural resources are to the economies and growth of the Caribbean region.

For the first year of the grant, JetBlue has partnered with the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) to provide an opportunity for two students to attend the first-ever Innovators Think Tank: Climate Change and Coastal & Marine Tourism on July 22-24, 2015 at the Punta Cana Resort & Club in the Dominican Republic. The panel will highlight how the Caribbean can prepare its tourism sector to better deal with climate change. The Think Tank is bringing together a select group of invited participants including leading practitioners in responsible tourism and climate change experts. The geographic focus of this invitation-only Think Tank is the Caribbean and North America.

“Too often conferences and think tanks are out of reach for students. These grants will open the door to the community of students who have cutting edge ideas about sustainable tourism,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability, JetBlue. “If tourism in the Caribbean is going to flourish through a changing climate and increased ecosystem pressures, the tourism industry and its brands are going to need support and ideas from universities and students.”

The 2015 Think Tank is designed as an intimate, working session organized around a single critical theme:  how coastal and marine tourism must be planned, built, and operated in an era of climate change. With this targeted focus, practitioners and experts will focus on tangible, hands-on climate change solutions for coastal and marine tourism.

Martha Honey, CREST executive director said, “The choice is easy. The tourism industry can either be part of the problem or part of the solution in dealing with the realities of climate change. It is imperative that we engage the next generation in the solutions. It’s time to take the blinders off much of our industry and get passionate young people involved in preserving not only tourism-related livelihoods and the environment, but our very existence.”

The outcomes of the Think Tank will be collected in a publication and showcased in a video documentary - “Caribbean ‘Green’ Travel”- both scheduled for release in late 2015. The Think Tank publication will serve as a guide within the tourism industry.   The educational documentary will illustrate the Caribbean, known for its large cruise and coastal resort tourism, and opportunities for socially and environmentally responsible travel.

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About JetBlue
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 32 million customers a year to 90 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 875 daily flights. For more information please visit

About the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST)                                                                                 The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is a non-profit research and policy institute with offices in Washington, DC. Its mission is to promote responsible tourism policies and practices globally so that local communities may thrive and steward their cultural resources and biodiversity. Founded in 2003, CREST stands alone in the areas of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism.  Its international network of highly trained experts provides research and interdisciplinary analyses and solutions, as well as publications, conferences, trainings and educational workshops. CREST delivers programs and services in field research, feasibility and impact studies, market research, certification programs, travelers’ philanthropy and strengthening sustainable tourism and ecotourism.

With a specific focus on coastal and marine tourism, CREST has organized three highly successful Innovators Symposia in recent years at Stanford University; in Los Cabos, Mexico; and in Grenada. These Symposiums brought together leading tourism innovators in the Americas who are charting new, more sustainable models of coastal and marine tourism.