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Caribbean Tourism Summit to address critical issues

Caribbean Tourism Summit to address critical issues

Several of the top players in the global tourism industry are set to meet on Jamaican soil to examine the way forward for the region’s tourism sector at the Caribbean Tourism Summit and Outlook Seminar 2012. Preparations are in high gear for the event, which will be held from June 15-16, at the Ritz Carlton Golf and Spa Resort in Montego Bay.

The summit is being jointly organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Usually held as separate events, the Caribbean Tourism Summit and the Tourism Outlook Seminar have been merged as Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence in 2012, which coincides with the CHTA’s golden anniversary. The summit will focus on issues facing regional tourism and will examine the link between the region’s aviation policy and its competitiveness. Noted University of the West Indies lecturer and researcher, Prof. Ian Boxill, will spearhead the publication of a report on the discussions and outcome of the seminar.

Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill says “this summit is very timely and presents an excellent opportunity to have dialogue with global tourism partners on how we can further develop and grow tourism in the Caribbean. It will provide a good platform to examine the challenges facing our sector and the solutions that will enable players in the industry to overcome them.” 

The impressive cadre of speakers includes Minister McNeill, Secretary General of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, President of the WTTC, David Scowsill, and President of the CHTA, Josef Forstmayr. They will speak on a range of topics including international aviation, travel facilitation policies, the importance of service and value and ways to enhance the competitiveness of the Caribbean vacation experience.

Minister McNeill underscored the point that the topics to be discussed are particularly apt as they are among the issues currently being addressed by his Ministry. He said “we have been working assiduously to ensure there is adequate airlift into Jamaica and to improve the travel experience of our visitors through visa facilitation. This is crucial to our efforts to enter new and emerging markets in order to boost arrivals. I am heartened to see that these issues will be given special attention at the summit as it is critical that we find effective ways to address them as a region.”