American Express back Caribbean tourism

With its support for promotion of the Caribbean with one voice, and its support of local media houses in their coverage of cultural and environmental issues, financial services company American Express is solidly committed to the development of the Caribbean’s tourism industry.Peggy Richardson, who holds responsibility for American Express’s Destination Business Development activities in the Caribbean, said that her company wants to continue working with the region’s tourism partners to ensure that as the industry prospers, the Caribbean’s national treasures are maintained and preserved for future generations. “Culture and sustainable tourism make the region attractive, and we have to take the necessary steps to ensure that tourism is sustainable for all,” said Richardson, who underscored her company’s commitment to working with the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST) and the region’s stakeholders.The Miami-based Richardson also pledged her company’s support for the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), the biannual gathering of leading Caribbean and international journalists and editors and movers and shakers in tourism in its efforts to strengthen awareness of the importance of sustainable tourism in the region. The CMEx V meeting, produced by Counterpart International, will be held in Barbados, December 4-8, 2003.Ms. Richardson noted that her company was pleased with the first year of the Life Needs the Caribbean campaign, of which it is a founder member, and wanted to see industry commitment to fuel its continuing growth. “We have to understand that the first phase was a branding campaign, and the next stage is to focus energies on translating increased interest in the Caribbean into more bookings on the website (“Alec Sanguinetti, Director General of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), said that CHA and the Caribbean region were fortunate to have such a committed international partner. He noted that American Express makes strong contributions to environmental education, hospitality training and its official card programme - which embraces numerous Caribbean destinations - complements regional efforts to encourage travel to the region. “We are really privileged to have such a key partner and the Caribbean ought to support their empowerment efforts.”