The region`s reporters and editors should keep the issue of the proposed Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Fund at the forefront of public discussion if tourism is to continue leading social and economic development in the Caribbean while preserving its natural environment.
Speaking ahead of the Fifth Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx), to be held in Barbados December 4-8, 2003, Alec Sanguinetti, Director-General of the Caribbean Hotel Association, said “we can`t allow this issue to lose momentum, if it does, the Caribbean would have lost a golden opportunity.”
Sanguinetti said the new booking engine www.gocaribbean.com represents a major revenue generating opportunity for the region`s suppliers - whether small, medium or large, “but we need to make decisions on the continued pooling of resources for marketing the region,” said Sanguinetti as he referred to the successful start of the public-private sector initiative dubbed “Life Needs the Caribbean”.
“The media can continue to help influence decisions to ensure that we gain a greater share of world tourism business and have the resources to train our people to world class standards, and preserve and protect our product. The aims of CMEx are to bring a heightened awareness of what to look for in considering tourism-related coverage but also on how the reporters can influence the design and execution of sensible tourism policies,” said Sanguinetti.
CARICOM heads of government have reiterated the importance of the tourism sector to the Caribbean economy, and they recently reaffirmed the need to establish and mobilise resources for the Sustainable Tourism Development Fund to implement a strategic plan for tourism, but it has not yet been established.
“Anybody who is not on GoCaribbean.com needs their head examined,” said Peter Odle, a successful small hotel operator in Barbados and second vice president of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA). “It`s not a question of just going on the website and leaving the rates; you need to go on it, manage your inventory and work it constantly ... every small hotel should be on GoCaribbean.com!”
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