PROFIT in the Caribbean
is a new programme which is being set up to promote partnership and investment opportunities in the tourism industry sector by bringing together enterprises from the Caribbean and Europe.Following a dramatic upsurge in travel to the Caribbean region, Pro€invest, a programme of the ACP Group and the European Commission for the promotion of investment, have chosen to undertake this tourism investment project.
Alec Sanguinetti, Director of Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) informed BTN that Pro€invest approached the CHA after their investment conference in Bermuda last year, and were keen to initiate this programme.
Alec commented: “Following the demise of business traffic, airlines have identified the leisure market as an alternative source for them. The Caribbean is now enjoying more airlift from the UK, Europe and North America than ever before”.
“The Caribbean has been very fortunate and we have been the beneficiaries of whatever good can come out of current world tensions. It is important however for the public and private sector to really work together to create the sustainable programmes necessary”.
Alec told me that Pro€invest is currently identifying potential investors in Europe and will then “marry” those investors with projects in the Caribbean, bringing both parties together in October in Antigua Bay.
PROFIT in the Caribbean will host their first meeting in October in Antigua Bay at the Ritz-Carltion Hotel in October. Invitees will include European investors and the project representatives from the Caribbean. The objective of this meeting is to provide an opportunity for both parties to meet with computer scheduled appointments.
Tourism Global, sub-contractors to the CHA, have been engaged to promote the programme in the Caribbean and are working jointly with Deloitte and Touche, who are promoting the programme in Europe, identifying potential investors.
Hudson Husbands, Chairman of Barbados Tourism Authority and Principal Consultant of Tourism Global told BTN this programme will benefit members in several ways. He commented: “Members will have the opportunity to meet the market at no cost. If their project is chosen they can get up to 50,000 euros for assistance, including capability studies and technology updates. If the project is successful pro-investors are willing to assist in introducing the project to the European investment banks”.
The first objective across the region today is the completion of the ‘expressions of interest’ for Caribbean tourism projects seeking investment partners
Jean Holder, Secretary General, Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), who is an endorsement partner in this project, commented: “From a Government perspective we are clearly talking about an industry which is critical to the socio-economic development of the region. The number of visitors that we can entertain in the Caribbean is limited to the number of rooms we have. Our ability to hold on to the people who travel to the Caribbean is limited by the quality and the value of the product we have. Therefore any programme that will create more and better rooms and activities is critical for the survival of the industry.
“The reality is that unless we can produce a high-quality product, the industry can not survive and can not be sustainable. This particular programme, which is concentrated, clearly articulated and targeted, therefore goes directly to the heart of what is required in the Caribbean.
“The EU has demonstrated throughout the years that they understand what tourism means to the Caribbean. Unlike other agencies that claim to be developmental Europe has proved willing to put there money where their mouth is. This is quite a major step forward for us”.
Hudson Husbands added: “Investment is like the blood of the industry. If there is no investment, the industry is essentially dying. With investment going in, we can look to the future; we can look to the prospect of growth. That is the compelling reason why people should participate”.