As Caribbean countries look to tourism for the long haul, the head of the region’s hotel association has suggested the media provide a “fair and balanced picture” of tourism and the industry’s stakeholders need to collaborate.
Chairman of the Caribbean Hotel Association, Ralph Taylor, also called for the media and industry stakeholders to collaborate, as the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism opened late Thursday at the Almond Beach Village in northern Barbados.“We must seek to create the right environment, that would enhance tourism-community linkages and ultimately stimulate entrepreneurship,“Taylor said. “What we in the industry need to however, is help those in the media to develop programmes that represent a fair and balanced picture of the opportunities, threats and challenges that exists within this sector.“Taylor further called for linkages with the industries vital to tourism - agriculture, fisheries and to some extent manufacturing -adding that our region should be self sufficient in labour.“There must be a business strategy to exploit tourism, not only for the good of the hotel sector, but the wider community,” he said. “There should be the opportunity to sell regional Governments on our ability in the tourism industry to maximise foreign exchange. The central banking system must be encouraged to seek new ways to combat interest rates.“The Caribbean Hotel Association leader further believes there is more that can be done, including lowering the cost of utilities in an attempt to lower competitiveness. “If we have the confidence of the Caribbean people that our industry can deliver on its promises, then we can convince our Caribbean Governments and the wider private sector to get on board,” he says.