Caribbean Tourism Organisations 26th annual Tourism Conference is now in full swing and proving to supply a wealth of information to the tourism sector. Boards of tourism as well as those who market the Caribbean destinations are in high spirits about the future of the region.
The conference entitled, ‘Recovery and Growth in a Fiercely Competitive Market’, is being attended by six hundred or so delegates including Ministers and Directors of tourism as well as CTO affiliated travel agents.
So far a few controversial matters have been broached at the conference including a leak exposing a new addition to the Bahamas Tourism Board, which has now been embargoed until further notice. The information was accidentally announced at a press seminar at the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, host hotel of the conference.
In the same seminar Gay Myers of Travel Weekly brought up the recent attack on Jean Holder, the organisations secretary general, by the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA). The online leg of Travel Weekly www.twcrossroads.com recently reported; In a letter sent Oct. 10, and obtained by Travel Weekly, CHA president Simon Suarez cited “recent actions” by Holder that resulted in CHA`s executive committee concluding “that it is no longer possible to have the necessary confidence or trust” in Holder.
The CTO responded with a statement containing ‘unequivocal’ support for Mr. Holder from CTO Chairman Hon. Obie Wilchcombe. This ‘attack’ came near the eve of the highly important CTC-26 conference, this year being hosted on the USV island of St. Thomas. It is believed that the letter is also in response to the new booking engine that the CTO have introduced on their website www.onecaribbean.org. It is understood that the CHA sees this as a direct line of competition to their own booking engine featured on www.gocaribbean.com.
In the statement of support issued by the CTO Hon. Wilchcombe stressed, “My support for the secretary general is unequivocal. I stand with him, any criticism of Mr. Holder is a criticism of me,” he added, “While I welcome the views of our friends and our partners I am bitterly opposed to what I consider an unwarranted attack on a man who has earned honour in this region for taking an idea, a dream, giving it life and making it live.”
In the letter Simon Suarez demanded the immediate resignation of Mr. Holder.