Patrick Cozier, Secretary General of the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) has challenged the regional tourism sector to re-position the industry to meet the demands of consumers worldwide and make the
Caribbean a more competitive region. He called for an airline network that serves the whole Caribbean, and for local investors to move into the Cruise business as part of a process of building locally-based worldwide brands.
Cozier was speaking about the level and type of investments the region needs to host Cricket World Cup 2007 and to sustain a vibrant tourism sector into the future at the recently concluded one-day version of the Caribbean Media Exchange (CMExPress) on Sustainable Tourism held at Sandals Antigua Caribbean Village and Spa. The other agenda item focused on disaster preparedness.
Addressing delegates, mainly representing Antigua’s media, tourism and development sector, but leavened with other Caribbean and North American constituents, Cozier, a prominent regional media manager, called for the creation of a viable pan-Caribbean airline network to serve the entire region. He said the carrier should have the capability of serving all member countries in the Caribbean Community and should not have any bias of nationality reflected in its service.
Cozier also looked to the day when hoteliers and other private sector investors could recognize the need to get involved in ownership in the cruise ship industry in the Caribbean. “We sit and bemoan the fact that these vessels come into our area, take so much and give very little. This is an opportunity for us to get involved in that segment of the industry, and to make change,” he told the conference.
For a third challenge, the CBU head called for more time to be spent on developing Caribbean brands of international repute, as Sandals and Almond Resorts are doing. “We too are capable of coming up with brands that are globally accepted, and it is time for us to start taking these to the market rather than simply giving our support to efforts to bring market brands to us,” he advised.
And of course, in meeting these challenges, investors and those involved in the industry would find a partnership with the media more than helpful in getting those ventures off the ground and into the public domain, where it is critical to build confidence in believing that we can do these things, he pointed out.