The Bahamas has been elected to a second straight two year term as chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).
The country’s Minister of Tourism, Obie Wilchcombe, who assumed the chairmanship in May of this year following the Progressive Liberal Party’s election victory, will continue to serve as chairman of the regional body.
“I am honoured and delighted to have an opportunity to serve at this time when we are challenged to reinvent Caribbean tourism,” said Mr. Wilchcombe shortly after the election at the 38th meeting of the CTO Board of Directors late on Sunday.
Mr. Wilchcombe promised to create a new spirit of togetherness among CTO member countries in an effort to foster “new and positive developments” in Caribbean tourism.
“We have to look at new ways to do things; to challenge ourselves to find the collective will to strengthen the CTO and to cause positive things to happen in the development of tourism,” the chairman said.
He called on the more successful countries to assist the less flourishing and emerging destinations to reach their potential so the entire region can reap the benefits of tourism.
“Tourism can work for the region,” the Bahamas minister said, “but bigger countries have to help smaller countries, particularly in the area of marketing.”
At Sunday’s election, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) representing the English-speaking Caribbean was elected first vice chair; St. Martin, representing the French-speaking members, second vice chair; Curacao (Dutch Caribbean) third vice chair and Puerto Rico (Spanish Caribbean) fourth vice chair.
The Executive Committee will be completed with representatives from the private sector representatives, following their internal elections.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and marketing operations in New York, London and Toronto, is the Caribbean`s tourism development agency and comprises membership of 32 governments and a myriad of private sector companies.
The CTO`s mission 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 development.