The Caribbean Tourism Organization
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of over 30 countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members.
The primary objective of the Caribbean Tourism Organization is to provide to and through its members the services and information necessary for the development of sustainable tourism for the economic and social benefit of the Caribbean people by:
- providing an instrument for close collaboration in tourism among the various territories, countries and other interests concerned;
- developing and promoting regional travel and tourism programs to and within the Caribbean;
- providing members with opportunities to market their products more effectively to both the Caribbean and the international tourism marketplaces;
- assisting member countries, particularly the smaller member countries with minimal promotional budgets, to maximize their marketing impact through the collective CTO forum;
- carrying out advertising, promotions, publicity and information services calculated to focus the attention of the public upon the Caribbean as one of the world’s outstanding tourist destinations;
- providing a liaison for tourism matters between member countries;
- providing a sound body of knowledge on tourism through data collection, collation and research;
- creating processes and systems for disseminating and sharing tourism information;
- providing advice, technical assistance and consultancy services with respect to tourism;
- providing training and education for Caribbean nationals and for international travel agents;
- seeking to maximize the contribution of tourism to the economic development of member countries and the Caribbean through programs likely to increase foreign exchange earnings, increase employment, strengthen linkages between tourism and other economic sector like manufacturing and agriculture, and to reduce leakages from Caribbean economies;
- encouraging coordination with respect to research and planning and the efficient allocation of local, regional and international resources at both government and non-governmental levels in tourism development;
- researching and identifying the ecological effects of tourism with a view to recommending and /or initiating action aimed at minimizing the negative and enhancing the positive effects;
- promoting the consciousness of the need to preserve both the natural and man-made beauty of the Caribbean environment and demonstrating its direct relationship to the development of an attractive tourism product;
- developing a tourism product which is essentially Caribbean and which, through maximizing economic benefits, has minimal adverse social and psychological effects on the integrity of Caribbean peoples
Vision and Purpose
The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination by 2017 and our purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.
How CTO is Funded
Countries pay membership dues and contribute to a Regional Marketing Fund (RMF). The dues and the RMF payments are based on a tourism arrivals formula, thus ensuring an equitable distribution of the financial obligation across the 30+ member-countries. Extra-Regional funding agencies support projects and services CTO’s income-generating activities.
The Tourism Ministerial Council is comprised of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism, Secretaries of State for Tourism or others of equivalent rank and represents the highest policy making body in the organization.
The Board of Directors of CTO is the highest Executive Body of the Organization and is responsible for the overall direction of the activities and programmes of the organization within the policies prescribed by the Council of Ministers & Commissioners. It comprises the Directors of Tourism representing the Government membership, together with the hotel and other tourism private sector members. The officers of the Board of Directors will comprise the Chairman of the Board and the six (6) Vice Chairmen representing the various country groupings contained in the Annex III of the Constitution.
The Executive Sub-Committee, of the Board of Directors, is the management committee of the Board of Directors taking decisions on all aspects of CTO’s work in between meetings of the Board.
The CTO was established in 1989. Several years earlier, in 1951, tourism was already being seen as having a major role to play in the economic development of Caribbean countries, but there was no organised body to focus the visitor’s thinking on the entire region as a single destination. However, that was about to change as a group of concerned individuals gathered in Antigua to formulate a marketing plan and create a budget to promote the Caribbean as a region.
They established the Caribbean Travel Association (CTA) with offices in St. John’s, Antigua. CTA was given an annual budget of US$200, 000 and a mandate to promote the Caribbean as the world’s leading warm weather destination.
CTO’s staff work out of the headquarters in Barbados and marketing departments in New York and London. CTO is led by a Secretary General and Directors of Departments.