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Caribbean betters network in European investment community

The Caribbean tourism industry is set to follow the momentum triggered by the Partnership Roles and Opportunities for Investors in Tourism (PROFIT) meeting, held this month in Montego Bay.ÊGiving continuity to the PROFIT program to stimulate foreign investment in Caribbean tourism, the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) in the United Kingdom; the French Agency for the International Development of Enterprises, UBIFRANCE; and the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX, by its Spanish acronym).The five-year agreement calls for the cooperation between the four organisations to promote the Caribbean tourism sector by identifying investment and business partnership opportunities in the countries where they operate, for the different activities related to tourism. These include hotel and resort development and management; hotel maintenance and supplies; landscaping; sports facilities; leisure, cultural, and wellness centers; local transport; infrastructure, etc.ÊIn addition, all parties will collaborate on promotional activities in other European countries.

The efforts of FTO, UBIFRANCE, and ICEX, in conjunction with CHA, will build upon the initiative of the inaugural PROFIT Partnership Meeting, by stimulating an enhanced participation of European investment partners at the ninth annual edition of the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC), to be held in Barbados, May 9 - 11, 2005.Ê “We aim to ensure that more Caribbean project proposals and the expectations of potential European partners match to the highest possible degree,” said Alec Sanguinetti, CHA director general and CEO.

“The Caribbean tourism industry has reached a stage where it is being recognised unanimously as the only viable economic sector for the region moving forward - and has taken an assertive approach to attract investment for the development of its product, with the help of international partners.”

The PROFIT Partnership Meeting, which ran from October 5 to the 8th, brought together more than 100 project proposals from the Caribbean with investors and providers of services. The projects, should they meet predetermined criteria, could be eligible for a grant of 50,000 Euros each upon finding an investment partner.

Through PROFIT, a revolving fund of approximately €2.8 billion will be available to African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries specifically for tourism projects under the PROINVEST partnership arrangement, as an initiative of the European Union.