The Caribbean Tourism Organisation has called for a formal partnership between the region’s tourism sector and those responsible for implementing the United States-Caribbean Strategic Engagement Act.
The act, which was passed by congress in December last year, mandates a new long-term strategy to strengthen ties between Washington and the Caribbean region.
It is designed to increase the security, prosperity and well-being of the people of the United States and the Caribbean.
Addressing the importance of the act to Caribbean tourism at a recent meeting in Washington, Caribbean Tourism Organisation secretary general, Hugh Riley, referenced a tourism working group established by Caribbean Community heads of government at their meeting in Guyana in February, to guide the development and marketing of Caribbean tourism.
“What an accomplishment it would be for all of us and for the architects of act if we could report back to our region’s prime ministers and presidents when we meet with them in February, that there is now a working partnership between the region’s tourism working group and the US Caribbean Strategic Alliance.
“Our recommendation is that together, we waste no time in making that partnership a reality.
“Without doubt, shoring up the Caribbean’s main economic driver is the surest way to protect the third border of the United States,” Riley said.
The Caribbean region is considered the United States’ “third border”, characterised by common interests and societal ties that yield daily, tangible benefits for US citizens.
The US is the Caribbean’s primary trading partner, representing a vibrant economic partnership that, in 2016, saw a $4.6 billion trade surplus for the United States, 14 million US tourist visits, and 11,042 Caribbean students studying in the US.
During his presentation, Riley called for a balanced approach to the development of strategies and policies that are designed to spur tourism growth while protecting the resource base on which tourism depends.
He advocated for a sector-specific tourism approach that would provide the greatest effectiveness and long-term sustainability which would be carried out with partnerships between the CTO and the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.