(SCARBOROUGH, Tobago) 29 OCTOBER 2014 — If the Caribbean tourism industry is not prepared to cater to visitors in this new digital age, they will lose business to destinations capable of doing so.
This assertion was made by the Hon. Orville London, Chief Secretary in the Tobago House of Assembly, during the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s 7th Tourism Human Resources Conference in Tobago.
“We have to train and sensitize our employees, our stakeholders and our citizens that if we do not get on board with the technology the ship will sail to another port.”, he asserted.
Over 100 human resources professionals and tourism industry partners have gathered at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort for the conference which runs from 29-31 October.
In treating with the conference theme, ‘Achieving High Performance in Caribbean Tourism in the New Networked Work Environment’, Mr. London also lamented that many hoteliers and other tourism industry players were yet to implement online marketing strategies. He therefore challenged the delegates to find creative ways to share the knowledge gained in the conference to inspire others in the industry to embrace the benefits of these new digital technologies.
“We have to satisfy the discerning visitor who wishes to experience all the simple pleasures, all the natural ambience, all the scenic beauty and the hospitality of our people that we advertise in our brochures but at the same time is not prepared to be inconvenience by communication and other challenges,” the Chief Secretary told delegates.
CTO Secretary General, Hugh Riley, suggested that if only we would unlock our creative capacity we could create new employment opportunities within the tourism sector and increase the loyalty among visitors to our shores.
“Tourism is the business of creating and delivering memorable experiences to people who have left their own environment and have gone to great lengths to share our space and break bread with us. How we manage that is entirely within our control. There is no limit to the ideas involved in turning those strangers and their friends into our friends forever,” he said.
The CTO’s Secretary General also underscored the importance of ensuring that persons who work in the Caribbean tourism sector are made to feel a sense of ownership of the sector and are encouraged to strive to provide excellent service which surpasses that which is offered by our competitors. This, he said, is one way to sustain the industry.
During the course of the three-day conference the Caribbean youth will also take the spotlight, while delegates will be afforded the opportunity to receive specialized training through master classes, as well as destination tours to allow them to experience authentic Tobagonian hospitality.