BARBADOS, JUNE, 2002 - A working group established by the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), will meet in Puerto Rico on June 18 to review the final draft of a Regional Tourism Strategic Plan mandated by Caribbean Heads of Government in December 2001.
Regional Tourism Ministers and the CTO Board of Directors discussed the first draft at their meetings in New York during Caribbean Week, from May 28-31.
“We are now in a position to take on board a number of responses that were made to the first draft,” says CTO’s Secretary General, Jean Holder.
The final draft is being prepared by tourism consultant, Victor Curtin, who was hired by CTO to help in the preparation of the plan.
“There will be a further opportunity for the public and private sectors to look at this document again in Puerto on the 18th of June, when a working group that was established by the Board of Directors of CTO will meet to have a final look at that draft,” says Mr. Holder.
The Strategic Plan, which is funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat, is intended to address 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 will offer 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.
A fundamental objective of the Regional Tourism Summit held in The Bahamas last December, was to assist Caribbean countries to respond to the structural changes and increasing competition in the global tourism industry and the unprecedented pressures unleashed by the events of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath.
“Their vision was that tourism people, public and private sector together, should work on a Regional Strategic Plan that would address the issues and that would come up with some recommendations for action across the board,” states Mr. Holder of the CARICOM Heads of Government.
The leaders received technical papers, perspectives, proposals and recommendations from various sub-sectors and interest groups for the future development of the industry, but proposed that these should be incorporated into a strategic plan to re-position the industry in the Twenty-First Century.
Mr. Curtin, a Tourism Adviser based at CTO for nine years, has been working with the Planning Group, which includes representatives of CTO, the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) and individual countries, to merge the recommendations and output of the varied proposals, as well as the national tourism plans of Caribbean countries and the views of the private sector into one comprehensive document to be presented to CARICOM Heads for their consideration. A final will be completed by July 31, 2002.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization is the region’s tourism development agency comprised of 32 member governments and a myriad of private sector companies with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto.
The CTO’s primary objective is to provide to and through its members, the services and information needed for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people. The organization provides specialized support and technical assistance to member countries in the areas of marketing, human resource development, research and statistics and sustainable tourism development.