The Caribbean tourism private sector continues to solidify its role as the motor for development of the region’s single most important activity. Alec Sanguinetti, director general and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), spoke today in Brussels on behalf of the Caribbean travel and tourism industry, at a Consultation Meeting on Partnership and Investment Opportunities in the Tourism Sector of the ACP Countries.Ê
The CHA message centered on the unique opportunities that the Caribbean offers for investment, not only in new hotels and their continuing upgrading, but also in linkages related to agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, attractions, etc.
In addition, Sanguinetti took the opportunity to emphasize the need for language that recognises the importance of tourism in the final text of a Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement, in order to support assistance to enhance the industry and its product. “The 2004 World Travel & Tourism Council report on the impact of tourism on the economies of the Caribbean* indicates that the industry is now central to the future development of the region,” said Sanguinetti of the importance of the invitation to CHA.
“This needs to be more widely understood by Governments in Europe, their development agencies, and those engaged on negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements; their support as development partners is fundamental to ensure a bright future for the Caribbean and its people,” he added. Sanguinetti went on to propose in his message that the European Commission (EC) assist by appointing a tourism professional at a policy level within its DG Development.ÊÊ
The Brussels meeting was hosted by PRO€INVEST, a program of the Group of ACP States and the European Commission for the promotion of investment and technology transfer to the ACP countries. PRO€INVEST partnered with CHA to organize the upcoming PROFIT in the Caribbean Partnership Meeting, to be held October 5-8, 2004, in Jamaica. The meeting is one of a series of Partnership Meetings with the objective of facilitating investment and partnership agreements with enterprises in the ACP regions.
“We are grateful for the support of PRO€INVEST in helping us to strengthen our tourism product for the benefit of the economies and communities of the Caribbean,” said Sanguinetti.Ê “Apart from the current Investment Partnership Meeting initiative, we hope to establish a closer partnership with the European investment promotion agencies, so we can do further work in 2005. We are also discussing several project proposals with PRO€INVEST related to visitor safety, additional hotel economic impact research, and cruise tourism,” concluded Sanguinetti.
The invitation of CHA to this meeting builds upon CHA’s successful advocacy efforts in Europe over the past few years, as a private sector development partner. In 2003, CHA, in conjunction with CTO, signed an agreement with the Caribbean Forum of ACP Countries (CARIFORUM), to implement an 8 million-euro public/private sector tourism development program in the region, funded by the European Union under the 8th European Development Fund (EDF). The program marked the first time that the European Union provided funding to the Caribbean’s tourism private sector.ÊÊÊ