One of the world’s most authoritative tourism bodies lauded an initiative which enlists journalists in the design
of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean, one of the most desirable visitor
On the eve of Counterpart International’s 6th Caribbean Media Exchange on
Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)
commended the organizers for spreading the message of travel and tourism’s
importance to bettering the lives of millions.
Unveiling a comprehensive study on the impact of travel and tourism on
Caribbean jobs and the economy at the Caribbean Hotel Industry Conference in
Puerto Rico, WTTC president Jean-Claude Baumgarten told delegates of the
importance of raising awareness about the industry’s indisputable role as a
generator of wealth and employment across all parts of the region.
“Travel and tourism is without question the most important export sector in
the region. It helps to diversify the Caribbean economy, stimulate
entrepreneurship, catalyse investment, create sustainable jobs and helps
social development in local communities. However, the impact of the industry
is generally not understood by public officials, the industry itself, or the
communities where it takes place,” said Baumgarten.
The report commends the role played by CMEx in spreading the message of
travel and tourism’s importance through the media, while recommending
another approach to raising awareness through the large army of travel and
tourism employees who can be ambassadors of the industry’s contribution
throughout the broader economy.
“CMEx does a very good job of improving the quality of media coverage on
travel and tourism issues for the region, largely through educating the
media about these issues, and should be supported and encouraged to continue
this critical line of awareness building,” the report advocates.
WTTC is the forum for global business leaders comprising the presidents,
chairs and CEOs of 100 of the world’s foremost companies. It is the only
body representing the private sector in all parts of the travel and tourism
Speaking from Berlin where Counterpart International is hosting a major
forum on development, Counterpart’s president Lelei LeLaulu congratulated
the WTTC for producing this blueprint for the industry and for recognizing
the strategic importance of CMEx to the region’s development. “Tourism is
the world’s most effective anti-poverty tool and we hope this report will
help convince regional decision-makers to place stronger priorities on
tourism to fuel its sustainable growth and development,” he said.
In 2004, travel and tourism in the Caribbean is forecast to see real growth
of 10 %, generating US$40.3 billion in economic activity.
The WTTC report, commissioned by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), was
funded by American Express and Sandals Resorts, and supported by Air
Jamaica, American Airlines and several CHA member hotels.