The challenges that continue to confront Caribbean tourism will be the subject of discussion among ministers and officials of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) next week.
Ministers of tourism from CTO member countries and the Board of Directors of the regional tourism development agency, including the public and private sectors, will discuss how to deal with these challenges when they meet in New York for Caribbean Week from June 1-6.
“The ministers will be looking at how we will move from a very difficult period of war and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and very poor economic performance in our source markets into a program for recovery, growth and sustainability in what is going to be a fiercely competitive situation as every country seeks to recover from the past year and a half of enormous difficulties,” said Jean Holder, CTO’s secretary general, who will present an update on the performance of the region’s tourism industry and prospects for the future.
Among the major agenda items are the key issues of air transportation service to the region and what is expected of governments to ensure air access; matters related to trade negotiations, particularly the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); a strategic response to SARS; an upcoming seminar on public/private sector cooperation to be conducted in Barbados
by the World Tourism Organisation Business Council and tourism marketing opportunities that cricket’s World Cup will present in 2007.
Traditionally, Caribbean Week has been a week-long series of meetings attended by all categories of CTO’s membership including Ministers and Directors of Tourism, Chapter Presidents and Allied Members representing airlines, hoteliers, tour wholesalers, travel agents and other interested parties, who discuss ways to increase tourism in the region. However, this year CTO has added a program of consumer-focused events in an effort to generate interest amongst the general public, including the Caribbean diaspora. The theme for Caribbean Week 2003 is Caribbean Week in New York: The Best of Both Worlds.
“We have a body of people in New York which is larger than the populations of several of our member countries,” stated Mr. Holder.
“We decided this year to try to create an interface between the ministers, officials and private sector representatives coming from the Caribbean and the people who live in New York so that New York knows that the Caribbean is in town and we can draw not only on our own diaspora but on those friends of the Caribbean who live in New York and the American officials there.
“There is a very strong nexus that has developed between the Caribbean diaspora and the leaders of New York and the CTO sees this not only as an avenue to create good relations but also as an opportunity for doing business. These are all potential customers for Caribbean tourism,” added the CTO secretary general.
Caribbean Week ends with the highly anticipated 30th annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball, a ritzy black-tie fundraiser at the enchanting Waldorf =Astoria.
Royal Band at Caribbean Week NY