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CTO to focus on driving business to the region

Great emphasis will be placed on the development of inventive and novel tourism-related programmes that will help drive business to the Caribbean when regional and international tourism professionals meet in Aruba in October for the region’s premier tourism educational and networking event.

Jean Holder, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), made the disclosure today while announcing the theme for the 27th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-27) which takes place in Aruba from October 17-20, 2004. The theme of this year’s conference is Caribbean Tourism: Driving Business in the Global Economy.

“The theme sends a message that sustaining the growth that has been achieved recently cannot be done without innovative ideas and a genuine focus on creating and investing in new opportunities for business,” Mr. Holder said.

Statistics released by CTO’s research and information management division indicate that the region experienced an eight percent growth in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2004 when compared to the same period last year. This increase continues the progress made in 2003, when stayover arrivals to the region increased by an estimated seven percent during the winter over the same period in 2002.

However, the secretary general warned that the Caribbean must not become complacent since increasing competition from other areas and the changing environment dictate that the region’s tourism sector has to be dynamic.


“Anybody who is involved in tourism at this time is keenly aware that times have changed and that global tourism has changed,” Mr. Holder said. “One of the paradigm shifts is that the stakeholders are expecting that the agencies that they support will help them to do business and we thought that our conference should have a theme which represents that paradigm shift.”

CTO is currently finalizing a stimulating and interactive programme for CTC-27. Delegates can expect highly motivating speakers, practical and thought-provoking workshops, along with relevant and useful recommendations on how to drive business to their countries and their own companies.

A series of business meetings will precede the official conference opening on October 17, 2004. These CTO business meetings take place Oct. 15-17 and include meetings of the Ministers of Tourism, the Directors of Tourism, CTO’s Board of Directors and Chapter Presidents.