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Caribbean brand essential

Newly installed Secretary General of the
Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace wants his
organisation and the Caribbean Hotel Association to own, protect, advance and
enhance the Caribbean brand and have the fruits of such efforts redound to the
benefit of the Caribbean people.
Delivering an electric opening address at the 28th Caribbean Tourism Conference in
St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands today, Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace charted the
direction for a unified Caribbean tourism industry, announcing CTO’s decision to
take ownership of the Caribbean brand.

“A brand is a reputation to make sure you are going to deliver something
consistently at a high level of quality,” the CTO secretary general told some 700
delegates gathered at the Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort for
the opening of the 28th annual Caribbean Tourism Conference (CTC-28).

He reasoned that strong brands, products and services with strong reputations
perform much better than others in economic terms.

“Tourism is an economic development tool… we have to speak about tourism and
measure tourism success in economic terms not visitor head counts only,” said
Vanderpool-Wallace, who called for the end of all tourism-led initiatives that do
not result in increased foreign exchange, increased employment, poverty reduction,
an improved reputation and stronger economic linkages.

Dismissing the “fable” that tourism is fickle, the Harvard-educated tourism chief
argued that the industry has a natural global comparative advantage and has proven
to be resilient. He warned however there if there is no focus on delivering a
quality experience, nothing else will work. “It’s the experience, stupid,” he