Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) secretary general Hugh Riley has issued a heartfelt Christmas message to tourism industry stakeholders from across the region and wider world.
“We in the Caribbean are privileged to live in the most purely beautiful and desirable region on earth and we count among our many blessings some of the world’s most welcoming and talented people,” Riley stated.
“Ours is a fascinating region of 40 million people with a rich cultural and historical diversity, integral to the attractiveness and enjoyment of the product we package and sell.
However, despite the natural benefits of the region, problems remain he was quick to add.
“Today, we continue to face a challenging global economy - a condition that, of course, has a ripple effect on all who live, work and play in the Caribbean,” he continued
“We all know only too well that the tourism industry worldwide is still facing the toughest battle that any of us have ever seen.
“The world economy isn’t yet on a steady, sustained path of recovery.
“Unemployment in our major source markets is still high, cutbacks are still contemplated, and high taxation is still a threat.”
Air Passenger Duty (APD) in the UK was also singled out as a major threat, with Riley pointing to its potential to further erode market share.
“Many of our member-countries and their accommodation sector are exploring new markets while seeking to upgrade and refresh the product, providing additional reasons for guests to return and for first-time visitors to experience the delights we have to offer,” added Riley.
“As we face the year ahead we must continue to work tirelessly to enhance the revenue from tourism, to keep our business profitable and our people employed.
“To achieve that, we know we must keep a steady focus on constantly improving the quality of the experience we deliver.”
“We look forward to partnering with you in the year ahead and to earning your support as the global voice for Caribbean tourism,” he concluded.