The 10-year Regional Tourism Strategic Plan mandated by Caribbean Community Heads of Government in December 2001, is one of the subjects for discussion at a Policy Workshop on Caribbean Tourism to be held in London on November 6th and 7th, 2003.
The Plan, a collaborative effort of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and affiliated tourism stakeholders, was approved by the board of CTO in 2002. It addresses the restructuring of the Caribbean’s tourism industry in terms of its policies, plans and organisational structures in order to enhance its competitiveness and sustainability.
It also offers ways to reposition the region’s tourism industry in the twenty-first century, taking into account individual country plans for the development of the industry.
The Plan’s objectives are to:
Increase annual tourism expenditure by at least 5% percent per annum over the next 10 years.
Increase stay-over arrivals by at least 1% above the world average growth, as estimated by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO).
Arrest the declining market share of cruise tourism and increase the conversion of cruise tourists to stayover tourists.
Enhance the linkages between tourism and other sectors of the economy, in particular through increasing the purchases of supplies, services, food and beverage, etc by the cruise sector.
Increase the level and range of employment opportunities for Caribbean nationals in the industry and provide the requisite levels of tourism education and training.
Increase the professionalism, quality, level and diversity of service in the industry.
Minimise the adverse impacts on the environment and other tourism assets.
Achieve the highest levels of technological expertise needed to compete in an information- driven industry in the Information Age.
The minister of tourism for the Bahamas and chairman of CTO, Obie Wilchcombe and Simon Suarez, president of the private sector Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) are scheduled to speak at the first session where the plan will be discussed.
A number of senior officials from the British government and the European Commission, as well as senior figures from the tourism industry in the United Kingdom will address the workshop.
Topics to be covered during the two-day workshop include: The Strategic Objectives of the Caribbean in Tourism Development; Tourism and the International Trade Agenda; Sustainable Development and the Social Responsibility; Creating and Maintaining a Secure Environment for Tourism and Relating Tourism to the Development Agenda.
The objective of this policy workshop is to distinguish the core issues around which tourism might be made more central to the policy dialogue, the FCO said.It aims to explore among other areas, the challenges facing the Caribbean tourism industry, how tourism might be made more central to dialogue among the Caribbean, the UK and the European Union (EU), the best way to advance the interests of the Caribbean tourism industry in African, Caribbean and Pacific ACP/EU trade negotiations and the World Trade Organization (WTO) services negotiations and the threat to and opportunities arising from the global threat of terrorism.“It is recognised that there are no easy solutions to the challenges facing the industry in the region,” the FCO said.“However, it is hoped that this policy workshop can begin the process of forging a consensus on the need to address tourism policy issues in a manner that brings about a greater awareness among ministers, senior officials, negotiators, aid donors and others, of the central role of tourism in Caribbean development,” it added.