Tourism bosses call for government pow-wow

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Board of Directors has called on the heads of governments throughout the Caribbean to convene a regional summit on tourism within the next six months. The last Heads of Government Summit on Tourism was in July 2001.

“[The tourism association] and the Caribbean hotel industry see an urgent need for a summit meeting on the highest level to deal with a variety of issues adversely impacting tourism to our region,” said Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of the private sector body. “[We] will work diligently to make this summit meeting a reality.”

The board of directors had previously explained the need for such a summit. They said that they recognised the centrality of tourism to future Caribbean prosperity; the need for governments and the tourism industry as a whole to work more closely together; the unique capacity of the tourism industry; and the concerning challenges that the industry as a whole now face.

“If the Caribbean is to remain the world’s leading warm weather tourism destination, [the association] believes that governments, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, the leadership of the industry and industry partners need to develop jointly and as a matter of urgency, a strategic approach that provides sustainable long term growth in the Caribbean tourism economy,” read a statement released during the recent Caribbean Tourism Marketplace conference. “To this end, the [tourism association] board calls on Caribbean heads of government to consider with industry partners all major aspects of tourism including airlift, travel facilitation, marketing, visitor security, human resource development, the environment, and new ways to encourage GDP growth through a common approach to the problems facing the industry.

“Such a summit would enable the Caribbean, as the most tourism dependent region in the world, to address global competition and return to the levels of success last seen in 2006,” the statement continued.

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